CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Longtime West Virginia legislator Corey Palumbo is calling it quits.
Palumbo, D-Kanawha, announced today that he does not intend to seek another term in the state Senate.
On the Republican side, Delegate Eric Nelson has already announced he intends to run for the seat. With Palumbo opting out, other Democrats may now be interested in running.
“I think there should be ample time. There’s still a couple months until the filing period even starts. There’s plenty of time for people who have an interest to jump,” Palumbo said this morning.
“I’ve talked to a few people who have expressed some level of interest. But I think it’s more their news to share than mine.”
“He’s a great friend,” said Nelson, R-Kanawha. “He’s done a marvelous job serving Kanawha County in the House and the Senate. We share a lot of the same beliefs in serving our community here. I want to continue that going forward and serving the citizens of Kanawha County.
“Hats off to Corey and the service he’s provided in his multiple terms in the House and the Senate.”
Palumbo served three terms in the House of Delegates before serving three terms in the Senate.
He joins a few Senate incumbents who also do not intend to run again. Senator Paul Hardesty, D-Logan, was appointed to an open seat last year and says he does not intend to run. Senator Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, resigned last month to focus on his business.
Palumbo said he has been thinking about ending his time in the Legislature for a couple of reasons.
“One, I’ve served three terms in the House and have been very fortunate to serve 3 terms in the Senate also. 18 years is a good stretch of time and time to sit back and give someone else a chance to serve in the role,” he said.
“The other thing is really just a general deterioration of politics.”
Palumbo said he’s seen politics become more divisive from the national level to the state level. Democrats became the minority in the Legislature in 2014 and often play the role of loyal opposition. But Palumbo said the issue is broader than that.
“It used to be, the Senate in particular was a place we would come and solve problems and have respectful disagreements. But that has all really changed,” he said.
“It’s just what’s come of politics in general. I certainly think Republicans have handled it a little bit differently as far as working together and not having as many party line votes. But I think it’s just the deterioration of politics from Washington on down.”
Palumbo’s family has a history of political participation. His father, Mario, was a state senator and West Virginia attorney general. In 1992, Mario Palumbo ran for governor, placing third in the Democratic primary behind then-Governor Gaston Caperton and then-state Senator Charlotte Pritt.
Corey Palumbo, a Charleston lawyer, served in the House of Delegates from 2002 to 2008, when he was elected to the Senate. He served as Senate Judiciary Chairman from 2011 to 2014. For the past few years, he has been the minority whip, which means determining where the Democratic caucus stands on votes.
In 2016, running against Republican Chris Stansbury, a former delegate, Palumbo won with 22,781 votes to Stansbury’s 18,345.
Palumbo this morning said he wishes the current political system would focus more on solving problems.
“What we should be there for is to help the citizens of West Virginia and move West Virginia forward and address the significant problems that we still have,” Palumbo said.
“It’s looked at from too much of a political lens and not as much what we can do to address these problems and help the state.”