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Virginia Attorney General: McGraw 'wrong' for W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Speaking before two campaign rallies for the opponent of West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw, Virginia's attorney general said McGraw is wrong for the Mountain State.

Ken Cuccinelli, who's been Virginia's attorney general since 2010, spoke to reporters by speakerphone Saturday before two Patrick Morrisey campaign stops in Charleston.

Morrisey is New Jersey native and health care attorney who moved to West Virginia in 2006 after unsuccessfully running for congress there. He filed to run for attorney general six days after being admitted to the West Virginia bar, according to Associated Press reports. 

Cuccinelli had planned to accompany Morrisey and speak at the campaign events, but weather made it necessary to cancel the trip, he said.

Cuccinelli had taken off in a small plane from a Virginia airport but the plane had to go back because of a storm, he said.

Morrisey said it is rare for attorneys general to campaign for attorney general candidates in other states.

Cuccinelli criticized McGraw Saturday for not joining a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency that Virginia, Texas and Alabama filed in 2010.

When the federal government oversteps its bounds, Cuccinelli said, attorneys general have the responsibility to push back.

West Virginia has lost jobs as a result of EPA regulations much more than other states, Cuccinelli said.

"Your attorney general didn't bring that case," Cuccinelli said. "Then-governor [Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.] went around the attorney general to defend jobs in the state. ...

"That's a real-life example that shows you have the wrong attorney general. You need Patrick Morrisey."

Then-Gov. Manchin later filed a lawsuit against the EPA.

Cuccinelli also criticized McGraw for not joining his lawsuit that questioned the constitutionality of Pres. Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Cuccinelli called the health care reform law a "trampling of the constitution."

Morrisey said he's been campaigning to make West Virginia's business environment friendlier, reduce the high cost of health care in the state and reform West Virginia's ethics laws.

Morrisey said McGraw has not been transparent, has rarely taken questions from the press and has "hid behind his staff."

"I will never hide behind my staff," Morrisey said. "Unfortunately that's the pattern we've seen."

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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