MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - The Republican who narrowly lost to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in last year's special election is ready to reveal his 2012 political plans.
Bill Maloney's campaign said Wednesday that he and his wife, Sharon, will have a "major announcement" at a press conference Thursday morning at a Morgantown restaurant.
Maloney has also scheduled an afternoon appearance outside the Secretary of State's Office in Charleston, a signal that he could be filing paperwork to officially challenge Tomblin again this year.
Campaign staff members declined to comment ahead of the official announcement.
Maloney came within 7,100 votes of winning the governor's seat last year in a special election. He announced in November that he was considering another run.
Tomblin is currently finishing the term left by fellow Democrat and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin. This election is for a full, four-year term.
In the October contest, the governorship was the only race on the ballot, and voter turnout was less than 25 percent. This year, the race shares a full ballot of legislative and other statewide races, as well as federal House, Senate and presidential elections.
Last year, Maloney and the Republican Governors Association tried to link Tomblin to President Barack Obama, considered unpopular in West Virginia. Maloney also spent $2.45 million of his personal fortune to distinguish himself from six third-party, independent and write-in candidates on the ballot.
Tomblin filed his candidacy papers on Jan. 19.
Republican Ralph William Clark entered the race Jan. 17. The Morgantown resident ran for governor last year but got less than 2 percent of the vote in the May GOP primary.
The filing period ends Saturday.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.