CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia state Auditor Glen Gainer is running for Congress because he wants to end the dysfunction and partisanship in Washington, he said Friday.
"The games need to stop and we need to start electing people who remember, one, where they're from, two, who they're representing and, three, really use some common sense to begin solving the problems facing America," Gainer said in a phone interview.
Gainer, who has long been rumored as a candidate, said he was spurred to run by the recent government shutdown.
He said that the biggest issue facing West Virginians is overregulation from the Environmental Protection Agency and that the biggest issue facing the United States is too much federal spending.
"It's time that we balance the budget," Gainer said. "We know it can be done. Bill Clinton balanced the budget when he was president of the United States. Somewhere from the time he left office to where we are today, we have done nothing but spend out of control."
Gainer said that the budget should not be balanced through cuts to Social Security and Medicare, which, along with defense spending, make up the bulk of federal spending.
"Every time we sit down and start talking about balancing the budget, we want to cut Social Security and Medicare," he said. "I will never, ever support anything that takes apart Social Security. Our seniors depend on it. First of all, they worked and paid into the system, they played by the rules. It's our job to make sure that benefit is there. And Republicans continuing to want to privatize it and reduce benefits is unacceptable."
Gainer announced Friday that he would run in West Virginia's 1st District, the northernmost. Assuming he is the Democratic candidate, he would face Republican Rep. David McKinley, who will be seeking a third term in 2014.
"I think folks understand how important coal is to our economy," Gainer said. "I will fight the members of the Democratic caucus tooth and nail on this issue."