CHESTER - Former Delegate Patrick McGeehan says West Virginians need a "true conservative" representing them in the U.S. Senate.
McGeehan, 33, a resident of Chester, announced Tuesday he will run as a Republican in 2014 for the seat presently occupied by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who is not seeking re-election. He faces an expected GOP primary contest with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-Charleston, who already has announced she will seek the office next year. No Democrats have stepped forward in the race.
McGeehan defines a conservative as someone who is "pro-coal, pro-life, pro-gun and, most important, pro-Constitution."
"A conservative starts with the Constitution as the basis for their decision-making," he said. "They must have sound knowledge of the Constitution and of the free market economy - and with that must come conviction.
"West Virginians are yearning for a new message, and my message is growing in popularity. It resonates with voters across the state. ... I have very strong convictions on constitutional government, free markets and sound money," he added.
McGeehan is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He served as an intelligence officer in the military and completed a tour overseas, supporting combat operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
"I took an obligation to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States, and I take that seriously," McGeehan said. "Our country has deviated so far ... if we don't act now, we may lose the republic. We cannot hand our children $17 trillion in debt. That is a great immorality."
He was elected to represent the 1st District in the House of Delegates in 2008 and served one term before running unsuccessfully for West Virginia Senate seats in 2010 and 2012. He is employed at Frontier Communications in Wheeling.
Last year, McGeehan penned the book "Printing Our Way to Poverty," which examines inflation's role in the decline of American manufacturing.
"We can't keep monetizing the debt, or at some point another financial collapse will take place," he said. "When it happens, this will be greater than the one in 2008, and it is foreseeable. We cannot continue to run deficits and be on sound footing."