Charles Town – As Republicans continue to suffer the growing pains of being the state’s majority party, another titanic battle to represent the 16th State Senate District has developed.
Long gone are the days when the GOP often let legislative vacancies be filled by uncontested Democrat candidates.
House Delegate Paul Espinosa announced today that he will seek his party’s nomination for the 16th Senate seat.
In making his announcement on WRNR Radio, Espinosa also pre-filed for the Senate.
In a separate interview with wvstatewide.com, Espinosa acknowledged he will bè taking on incumbent Republican Senator Pàtricia Rucker in the May 2024 primary.
“I don’t run AGAINST anybody,” Espinosa told this news site. “I will tell voters what I plan to do to represent them.”
For her part, Rucker said, “I consider Paul a friend. He told me he was thinking about running and I respect that.”
Although Rucker pre-filed for an unspecified office, she said, “I am definitely running for re-election.”
She added, “I think I’ve done a good job representing my constituents and I hope they will agree.”
Espinosa added, “This is not a personal vendetta with Senator Rucker. I actually pre-filed for a Senate seat in 2015 but Speaker (Tim) Armstead convinced me to stay in the House.”
Rucker has been a senator since 2017 and served as Education Chair from 2019 to 2022 when she was summarily replaced by Senate President Craig Blair with Senator Amy Nicole Grady of Mason County.
There are a number of legislators who believe
Blair recruited Espinosa to take on Rucker.
Espinosa has served as a Jefferson County delegate since 2012. He is widely recognized as a budgetary expert.