- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Longtime state Auditor Glen Gainer said Thursday he’s stepping down next month to take a job for a Virginia-based nonprofit group.

Media outlets report the 56-year-old Democrat announced Thursday he will leave office May 14. His sixth term was scheduled to end next January.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will decide on a replacement by the time Gainer leaves, Tomblin spokeswoman Shayna Varner said.

Gainer didn’t identify the nonprofit group, indicating he’ll let the employer announce his hiring. Gainer said he’ll spend more of his time working in Fairmont.

“What I believe is the right job for me came along,” Gainer said in an interview. “I accepted it over the weekend, and in about a month, I’ll be transitioning out of public life and going into private.”

Gainer had announced in December that he wouldn’t seek re-election this year but planned to serve out the rest of his term. He first won the four-year auditor job in 1992. His father served as state auditor from 1976 to 1992.

Gainer said he provided Tomblin some recommendations to replace him but declined to name them.

In this year’s open race for auditor, Gainer has endorsed Tomblin’s former acting Secretary of Administration Jason Pizatella, a Democrat.

Tomblin potentially could appoint whoever wins the May 10 Democratic primary and give that candidate experience in the office before the general election.

Varner, Tomblin’s spokeswoman, said it’s too early to speculate on a replacement.

Pizatella faces Mary Ann Claytor and Robin Righter in the Democratic primary.

State Del. JB McCuskey, who is unopposed in the Republican primary, said he hopes Tomblin doesn’t play “old school party politics” with the auditor pick.

“The time to choose the next auditor is in November, and this role remains the job of the voters,” McCuskey said.

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