CHARLESTON -- The chairman of the state Republican Party says he won't be running for any office, including state Attorney General, in the 2012 election.
Mike Stuart, a Charleston attorney, had been rumored to be considering mounting a campaign against incumbent Democrat AG Darrell McGraw.
But in a press release Tuesday, Stuart squashed that rumor.
"I do not intend to be a candidate for public office in 2012," Stuart wrote. "I am confident, however, that incredible candidates that reflect my urgency to change direction and build a more positive future will emerge as the West Virginia Republican Party offers an alternative to our failed economic history and the status quo."
Stuart called the 2012 election "critical" for the United States and West Virginia.
"As the nation and West Virginia begin to embark on the process for electing the next President and continue the realignment of West Virginia from a blue state to a red state, there has been a great deal of inquiry and encouragement for me to seek statewide office in 2012," he said. "The encouragement reflects the energy and enthusiasm I have for the future of the great state of West Virginia.
"I am absolutely convinced that if we make the bold choice to elect the right leadership, there is no limit to what West Virginia and its people can achieve."
Stuart said "every West Virginian deserves a better, brighter future."
"Elections have consequences as is too painfully evidenced by West Virginia's extreme levels of poverty, low per capita income, stagnant population growth, 'hellhole' civil justice system, and rating as one of the worst states in terms of business climate," he said. "Those are choices we have made but those choices may be rejected in favor of a better future for all West Virginians by electing better leadership.
"West Virginia needs strong leadership, and there are thousands of tremendous, potential leaders all across this great state."