CHARLESTON - There's no opening for a Kanawha Circuit Court judge yet, but Mike Kelly might run, just in case.

The Kanawha Family Court judge filed papers in the Kanawha County Clerk's office that allows him to form an exploratory committee and raise funds. However, none of the current seven judges have given any public indication they will not run for re-election in 2008.

"There may be an open seat," Kelly recently told the Charleston Gazette. "There's the possibility, and if there is, I want to be prepared."

Kelly also said he would not run against a sitting judge if no opening becomes available before the 2008 election.

The Judge Mike Kelly Committee sent out an invitation to a reception for the Democratic candidate, with more than 30 attorneys, retired judges and other well-known public figures being named in the committee.

According to the flyer, "Mike has a well-deserved reputation for fairness, integrity and being one of the hardest working family court judges in West Virginia."

Kelly has served on the family court bench for eight years, and has more than three decades of legal experience.

Kelly received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University. He studied law at the University of Pittsburgh and has been a member of the state bar since 1976.

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