CHARLESTON - Former state Democrat Party chairman Nick Casey claims "it doesn't matter anymore whether you are a Democrat or Republican" when one seeks public office in the Mountain State.
Casey, 59, announced Tuesday he will seek the Democrat nomination to West Virginia's 2nd District House seat next year. Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito has indicated she will run instead for the Senate seat opening with the retirement of Democrat Jay Rockfeller.
A lawyer for 36 years, Casey is the managing partner of the Lewis, Glasser, Casey & Rollins law firm.
"The businesses I work with don't need a Democrat or Republican representing them - they just need someone to work for them," Casey said. "They want someone who is a rational, mainstream individual. They don't want a knucklehead who goes there for the sake of a fight - who only says 'no.' They want rational, normal people ... Most people don't care if you're a Democrat or Republican - they just want something done."
The 2nd District encompasses the state's Eastern Panhandle, then extends westward diagonally across the middle of West Virginia - taking in Charleston and extending to Ohio border.
In addition to being a lawyer, Casey also has worked as a certified public accountant. He serves as treasurer-elect of the American Bar Association, where he said he oversees a consolidated budget of $205 million.
"I know how to work a budget, and I would like to take a pencil to the U.S. budget," he said. "If you put an accountant's eye to it, you can squeeze the budget a little. You don't have to cut. I understand the budget."
Casey said he has always lived in Charleston and the 2nd District, and understands well its "true logistics and size."
"It's a big district - but not very wide," he said. "You have to reach out to folks ... because they are all different. It's a really diverse district. You have to work hard to make sure you understand the diverse needs, and the different priorities in different parts of the district."