WHEELING - Dolph Santorine of Wheeling announced Tuesday he will seek the Republican nomination to a 3rd District West Virginia House of Delegates seat in 2014.
Santorine ran unsuccessfully for that seat representing Ohio County in 2010. He next expressed interest in entering the 2012 race as an Independent candidate - and leaving the Republican Party - after some Ohio County Republicans expressed support for then-Democrat Delegate Ryan Ferns.
Ferns announced Nov. 25 he was leaving the Democrat Party to join Republicans in the House of Delegates, and would seek election to the state Senate next year on the GOP ticket.
The move prompted Santorine to run for the House again in 2014 as a Republican.
"There's been a change in the political landscape," he said. "And I think someone with my background has something to offer."
Santorine said he believes improving West Virginia's schools and roads are the most important issues facing the state.
He deemed himself "quite an education consumer" after raising four children in West Virginia, and he said his financial expertise has helped him to realize the need for upgrading the state's infrastructure.
Santorine, a native of New Jersey, turns 55 on Christmas Day. He is a graduate of Ashland University, where he majored in radio-television and marketing management.
Santorine said he is a "serial entrepreneur" who has built and sold a number of companies - including the highschoolsports.net website. He and wife, Lora Kaye, have lived in West Virginia for the past 23 years.
"I've spent most of my adult life here," he said. "We owned a manufacturing company, and went shopping for a rust belt area with infrastructure. We were interested in doing something new. We've had about a half a dozen opportunities to leave since 1990, but have always stayed here. It's about the quality of life, and our children grew up here. This is home."
Santorine said there is a lot to be excited about in West Virginia and its Northern Panhandle.
"I realize West Virginia has an interesting transition to make, and we are poised for great things in the future," he said. "There has been some stumbling as we transition from coal, but coal will still be important to us. Once we get through that, the future is incredibly bright. There are some great things to be done in the Ohio Valley, and some great opportunities. If not, we wouldn't be investing so heavily in it."