Rep. David B. McKinley said he likely will support fellow West Virginia Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito for Senate in 2014, but he also is flattered he was asked to run for the office himself.
"My position is, I just want to see the most conservative candidate" as the GOP nominee, he said. "I'm finding more comfort that Shelley can be that voice. We don't always vote alike, but I think she can do a good job.
"I have told Shelley I am keeping my options open. I really think at the end of the day we'll be supporting Shelley. I just want to make sure she remains conservative and fiscally responsible, and I think she will be," he added.
McKinley said he and Capito spoke Tuesday about the race for the Senate seat to be vacated by retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller in 2014.
He agreed they would take "the most positive and fiscally responsible position" on bills to come before them in the House.
McKinley said he has been approached about seeking the Senate seat, but he didn't say by whom.
He added he was flattered by the interest shown in him, given the fact he just started his second term in Congress - and had been away from politics 16 years before seeking federal office.
"I find it curious," he said. "I'm the new guy on the block. Shelley has been here 14 years, and (Democrat Rep. Nick) Rahall has been here (36) years. People called because they saw I had a pretty conservative business focus on energy."
"I like Shelley," McKinley said, adding he has a great deal of respect for her, as well as for her father, former Gov. Arch Moore, and the Moore family.
"That's between Shelley and me how we work that out," McKinley said regarding a run for the Republican nomination to the Senate. "But yes, we've been approached."
McKinley said it frustrates him Republicans don't have control in the Senate and that they actually lost seats there in the last election.
"We have a chance of picking up some seats coming around in 2014, and I'm hoping this is one we achieve," he said. "I can tell you now, it's going to get a lot of national attention. Everyone I've talked to - Shelley's talked to - have said they are going to put a lot of money in this race. They know how important it is to have a more conservative bent in the Senate. I think it's going to be a major race followed across the country.
"I just have not yet publicly endorsed Shelley," he continued. "We still have some important votes ... but in the end, I think I will be supporting Shelley."