CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A former Democratic leader in the West Virginia House of Delegates plans to run for secretary of state next year as a Republican.
Doug Skaff registered as a pre-candidate for the office Thursday.
“In today’s ever-changing world I will bring a deep understanding of our laws, demonstrate strong leadership abilities, and uphold and promote fairness, transparency, and integrity in all aspects of the office,” Skaff said on his campaign website.
Filing pre-candidacy papers allows campaigns to start fundraising and requires them to file campaign finance reports. A candidate isn’t officially in the race until they file a separate certificate of announcement and pay a filing fee. The official filing period for the 2024 election is in January.
West Virginia Republican Party chairwoman Elgine McArdle seemed skeptical about Skaff’s announcement.
“The West Virginia Republican Party recognizes the philosophical nuances that can exist within the Party and welcomes those who genuinely believe in our cause; however, Republican voters are sometimes tasked with differentiating between ‘philosophical nuances’ and ‘diametric ideological opposition,’” McCardle said in a statement. “Now that Skaff is labeling himself as a ‘Republican,’ despite his storied liberal record in the House, the upcoming primary is one of those times.”
Skaff served in the House from 2009 to 2014 and was elected to the chamber again in 2018. He is president of HD Media, which owns the Charleston Gazette-Mail and several other state newspapers.
“I know Doug has long been intoxicated by the idea of winning a statewide office,” West Virginia Democratic Party chairman Mike Pushkin said in a statement. “Still, his candidacy could leave Republican primary voters with a hangover when they find out about his actual voting record. Nevertheless, we wish him well in all his affairs.”