The Democrats will have a formidable candidate for Governor of West Virginia in 2024.
As our staff has been predicting for months, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams announced today that he will seek the Democrat nomination for Governor.
Williams told a Ritter Park Juneteenth gathering that he intends to file his formal candidacy in July.
Current Republican Governor Jim Justice is term-limited from running again after serving two terms. Seven candidates have pre-filed on the GOP side.
The 2020 Democrat nominee, Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango also has said he is considering running again in 2024.
Williams was elected mayor of Huntington in 2012 and re-elected in 2016 and 2020. Thus, he became the first three-term mayor in the city’s 150-year history.
Since taking office, he has utilized his background in economic development, finance, state government, and local governments to lead what his supporters call “a renaissance in Huntington that has not been seen in decades.”
With Williams in the mayor’s office, Huntington was named the $3 million grand prize winner of America’s Best Communities competition in April 2017. Officials said the award was given for a comprehensive plan to transform Huntington into the economic gateway of the Appalachian region. This nationwide contest sponsored by Frontier Communications attracted more than 350 communities as entrants.
Williams was elected as an at-large Huntington city councilman in 2008. He fulfilled his four-year term and served as the governing body’s Finance Committee chairman before he was elected mayor. He was named as the 2015-2016 Mayor of the Year by the West Virginia Municipal League. In December 2018, he was elected to a two-year term on the National League of Cities Board of Directors. He was re-elected in 2020. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The mayor is married to Mary Poindexter Williams. He has two stepdaughters, Nikki Reed, and Laura Urban.
Republicans are thought to have a solid hold on West Virginia statewide offices. The entire administrative board of public works is Republican. Three of the four federal congressional representatives belong to the GOP and both houses of the state legislature have Republican supermajorities.
Williams told WV Statewide News earlier that he knows “it’s going to be a tough race but I feel we can win it.”