Former West Virginia Congressman and Secretary of State Ken Hechler has filed to run for the U.S. Senate, challenging Gov. Joe Manchin for the Democratic nomination.
Hechler, 95, said he doesn't expect to win the race.
"I don't want to make it a campaign against Gov. Manchin," Hechler said this morning, speaking on the phone from New York, where he is doing a series of public lectures. "I want to make it about mountaintop removal. A vote for me is not a vote for Ken Hechler -- it's tantamount to a vote against mountaintop removal."
Hechler has been a longtime opponent of mountaintop mining and has been involved in several public protests. He was arrested last summer for obstructing and impeding the flow of traffic outside a Massey Energy prep plant in Sundial, Raleigh County. He also was among more than 100 people accused in May of last year of trespassing on Massey Energy property near Pettus to protest a surface mine project there, but he was not arrested then.
Hechler said he has not talked to other Democrats about his Senate bid, but that he decided to do it not long after the state Legislature agreed to hold a primary next month.