The longtime congressman plans to send out a fundraising/announcement letter today, said spokesman Allen Crow. Although there were rumors of such a letter before, this is the first time a spokesperson for Rahall has confirmed to the Daily Mail the congressman’s intentions.
“The congressman is actively running for re-election and believes, part with Senator Rockefeller leaving the Senate, Congressman Rahall’s experience and seniority is more needed than ever,” Crow said in a phone interview.
“It’s going to be more important than ever to have someone in Congress to put West Virginia first and fight for West Virginia coal jobs and stand up those who want to conduct a war on coal.”
Earlier this year fellow longtime Democrat U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., announced he would retire when his term expires in 2014. Many speculated Rahall would challenge current U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., for the seat, but the congressman announced earlier this month he did not plan to pursue the Senate.
Meanwhile, the GOP continues its attacks on Rahall; the latest push might resonate with football fans.
The National Republican Congressional Committee says today it’s added Rahall to its “Red Zone Program,” an attempt to unseat seven Democrats from their House positions in 2014. The seven districts voted for the GOP presidential candidate in the last three elections, and the party thinks the spots could be vulnerable for a flop.
More football analogies from the NRCC in this statement:
Congressman Nick Rahall may claim to represent his constituents, but he just threw a pick-6 with his vote to impose a carbon tax on West Virginia’s coal industry. It is time to put Nick Rahall on the waiver wire and get someone in Congress that will put the West Virginia economy ahead of President Obama’s and Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda.
(A “pick-6″ is when a quarterback throws the ball to the other team, and the person who catches it returns the interception for a touchdown. The “waiver wire” is a reference to the status of a player who loses a spot on his team. )
The NRCC is hitting Rahall for his vote on a proposed budget amendment. Proponents called it the “Back to Work Budget” and say it would create 7 million jobs. Proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the GOP say the plan is an attack on the coal industry. Rahall was one of 84 Democrats to vote for the measure; 104 Democrats and every Republican voted against the bill.
That vote was also subject of the $12,000 ad buy the NRCC made against Rahall. The television ad aired in early April in southern West Virginia, Rahall’s district. Ian Prior, a spokesperson for the NRCC, said his organization plans to spend much more in the attempt to beat Rahall.
This isn’t the first time outside groups have shelled out the cash in attempts to beat Rahall, Crow said.
“(Rahall) plans to campaign very hard and very vigorously and fight back very strongly against the big special interest and out-of-state folks who want to come in and spend millions to try and beat him,” Crow said.
Right now there isn’t a GOP challenger in the race. Freshman state Sen. Bill Cole, R-Mercer, was reportedly a prospect for the NRCC, but Cole hasn’t announced his plans yet.Former Delegate Rick Snuffer, who lost to Rahall last election, is also rumored to be considering another run for the seat.