CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A retired Charleston insurance agency owner and president of a local religious group announced his plans to run for state Senate on Wednesday.C. Edward "Ed" Gaunch, former president and CEO of the Carson Insurance Agency, said he will run for the seat currently occupied by Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha."As someone who has created jobs and been active in my church and community, I am excited about the opportunity to serve in the State Senate," Gaunch said in a news release announcing his candidacy.Gaunch said in his news release that he "recently" changed his political registration from Democratic to Republican.
He is president of the board of directors of Believe in West Virginia, a religious group that was in the news earlier this year for their sponsorship of Pam Stenzel, a speaker who gives speeches promoting sexual abstinence. Stenzel's appearance at George Washington High School in Charleston made national news after some students protested her appearance and statements.Wells, the husband of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, has filed preliminary paperwork to run for re-election. The 8th District includes northern Kanawha County, including Charleston north of the Kanawha River, and northeastern Putnam County.