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DSCC Statement on West Virginia GOP Senate Primary

In response to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s campaign announcement — which formally begins an already nasty Republican primary in West Virginia — today Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Spokesman David Bergstein released the following statement:

“The already nasty fight between Patrick Morrisey and Congressman Evan Jenkins promises to be a divisive and expensive primary that will leave the ultimate nominee deeply damaged, and show why West Virginians cannot trust either candidate to represent them in the U.S. Senate.”   

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE WV GOP SENATE PRIMARY

  • Politico: in West Virginia “Republicans don’t want a messy fight, but one might already be underway, with negative stories surfacing about Morrisey’s wife and Jenkins warning Morrisey not to run.” [Politico, 7/06/17]
  • Herald-Dispatch: GOP Senate Primary has “gotten hot much more quickly than we expected” with Jenkins & Morrisey “sniping at each other pretty freely.” “The Republican contest to take on Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin may have gotten hot much more quickly than we expected. On social media, at least, last week the two presumed top GOP contenders were sniping at each other pretty freely…Third District Rep. Evan Jenkins fired at Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, accusing the AG of ‘abandoning’ his ‘pledge’ to voters. Jenkins says those who voted for Morrisey in 2016 expected him to fulfill his four-year term as AG and will be disappointed if he cuts out early. Morrisey responded with a few barbs of his own, including some supporter references that Jenkins may have violated a ‘pledge’ to voters when he switched parties after being elected to the state legislature.” [Herald-Dispatch, 6/24/17]
  • The Hill, HEADLINE: Likely W.Va. Senate GOP rivals spar in radio appearances. “Morrisey slammed Jenkins, saying that the former Democrat comes with too much baggage from his old party to be trusted as a reliable conservative. And Jenkins warned that a bid by Morrisey would be selfish, because it would allow Gov. Jim Justice (D) to fill his spot with a Democratic attorney general.” [The Hill, 6/12/17]
  • Roll Call: “The sparring is out in the open in West Virginia.” “Within hours of Jenkins’ launch, the Morrisey super PAC was calling Jenkins and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III ‘two peas in a pod’ […] But being attorney general doesn’t mean Morrisey, who once worked on Capitol Hill, is without his own ties to Washington. His past work for lobbying firms, as well as his wife’s lobbying work, could complicate the law-and-order image of an attorney general in a GOP primary. ‘His tenure as AG has been plagued by scandal and left him wounded politically, and questions about his integrity will be amplified like never before if he runs for Senate,’ said a source close to the Jenkins campaign.” [Roll Call, 6/7/17]
  • Gazette Mail: Jenkins Attacked Morrisey Saying He Should Not Run For Senate. “U.S. Rep. and 2018 Senate candidate Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., is urging potential opponent Patrick Morrisey to stop his primary run before it has a chance to start. Via a recent media blitz, Jenkins has been pushing the message that Morrisey, West Virginia’s sitting attorney general, would be breaking a promise to voters if he resigns from his position in order to serve in the U.S. Senate.” [Gazette-Mail, 6/17/17]
  • Morning Consult: Morrisey Attacked Jenkins For Supporting Tax Increases and his past as a Democrat. “Alcivar’s group is positioning itself to support a Morrisey bid and oppose Jenkins. The group has already pointed out Jenkins’ past financial support for Manchin and his support for tax increases while he was in the West Virginia state legislature, where he served as a Democrat.” [Morning Consult, 6/19/17]

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