CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A former West Virginia Democrat is now exploring a run for West Virginia Secretary of State as a Republican.

Doug Skaff Jr. stepped down as West Virginia House of Delegates Minority Leader back in August before later resigning from the House of Delegates in September.

Now, Skaff announced via a press release that he filed pre-candidacy paperwork on Thursday to explore running for West Virginia Secretary of State in the 2024 Republican primary election.

Skaff has a campaign website live that describes him as a “CONSERVATIVE, MAINSTREAM, AND CREATIVE Leader running as a REPUBLICAN for the OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF STATE.”

The South Charleston native’s former party sent a press release in reaction to the news that Skaff had switched parties.

While I appreciate Doug finally putting his cards on the table about his long-rumored, politically expedient party switch, I’m surprised he would try to reinvent himself as a right-wing conservative in the process. After all, it was Democratic Minority Leader Doug Skaff who led our caucus in opposition to:

• Total abortion ban (HB 302 in 2022)

• Allowing guns on college campuses (HB 2519 in 2019)

• Legal discrimination based on sexual orientation (HB 3042 in 2023)

I know Doug has long been intoxicated by the idea of winning a statewide office. Still, his candidacy could leave Republican primary voters with a hangover when they find out about his actual voting record. Nevertheless, we wish him well in all his affairs.

West Virginia Democratic Party Chair Mike Pushkin

Skaff is the president of HD Media, which owns the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the Huntington Herald-Dispatch and 11 weekly newspapers in West Virginia and Virginia, according to the release; he also owns “various small businesses.”