West Virginia car dealer, son of US rep files pre-candidacy for governor

A West Virginia car dealer who is the son of a U.S. congresswoman filed pre-candidacy paperwork for the Mountain State's 2024 gubernatorial race this week, setting up a campaign for the state's top office.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported on Thursday that Chris Miller has filed paperwork with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office. The move reportedly signals that he plans to start soliciting funds for a 2024 gubernatorial bid.

Miller is the son of Rep. Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), who has served in the House since 2019, and the grandson of former Rep. Samuel Devine (R-Ohio), who represented Ohio in the House for more than 20 years, according to the Gazette-Mail.

Filing pre-candidacy paperwork does not officially launch an individual's campaign, the newspaper noted. Miller will still have to file in January of 2024 to be on the ballot in the state's next gubernatorial election, which is set to take place that year.

Miller told Pennsylvania news outlet The Intelligencer on Thursday that he is mounting a bid for West Virginia governor so he can work to undo population loss in the state and improve its national reputation. West Virginia's population reportedly decreased by almost 60,000 residents between 2010 and 2020, which caused the state to lose a congressional district.

Miller pointed to economic conditions in the state that will help reverse the situation, according to The Intelligencer.

"Our state, for the first time in a long time, has actually been positioned to take off," he told the newspaper. "It's incredibly important for me to reverse the trends our state has experienced over a long period of time with declining population and not a lot of national respect."

He said he is "very serious" about his candidacy, adding, "We're talking about the future of not just my kids, but my grandkids."

"It's really important that we get this right, right now. We need to step into the 21st century and really revamp how we're doing a lot of things. To make sure that instead of having a brain drain, that we are an attractor of the best and the brightest coming to West Virginia in order to grow this state," he said.

Miller was appointed to Marshall University's Board of Governors in 2019 by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R), according to the Gazette-Mail.

Miller is known for making appearances in commercials for Dutch Miller Auto Group in Huntington, a car dealership country that was founded as Dutch Miller Chevrolet by his grandfather, H.D. "Dutch" Miller, in 1961, according to the newspaper.

Chris Miller is also on the company's management team alongside his father, Matt Miller, and brother, Sam Miller, per the Gazette-Mail.

Another person, Terri Bradshaw, has also filed pre-candidacy paperwork in order to begin raising money toward a bid for the governor's mansion, according to the newspaper.