Morrisey again issues debate challenge

CHARLESTON – Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey again is calling on state Attorney General McGraw to take part in some debates. "I sent another letter to Attorney General McGraw asking him to reconsider his statement that candidates for Attorney General should not debate," Morrisey said Tuesday. "As a five-term incumbent, Attorney General McGraw must be willing to defend his record and be held accountable for his actions and inactions. "Since we have very different views on how the Attorney General's office should be run, it's critical to provide voters with public forums where they may compare our positions and respective qualifications." Last week, McGraw told The West Virginia Record that he didn't see the need to debate Morrisey. "In my experience as the chief legal officer of the state, there is always someone who wants to debate some issue of law enforcement," he said May 15 at the opening of his office's Eastern Panhandle branch. "You shouldn't mix law enforcement issues into partisan politics." Morrisey mentioned that response in his letter this week to McGraw. "With all due respect, an Attorney General running for re-election for his sixth term must be prepared to defend his actions," he said. "This is not a partisan issue. It's simply being accountable to the people you serve. "I ask you again to agree to a series of debates to discuss the challenges facing our state. Candidates for public office must not hide from issues West Virginians care about." In his letter, which he released to the media and supporters, Morrisey said he and McGraw have "very different ideas" about how to lead the office. "It's important that we do not shy away from public engagement," he wrote. "Recognizing that your schedule is hectic, I am willing to be flexible in the time, place, and format of our debates. The key is to allow the public to evaluate how we will both address the most important issues facing West Virginians." McGraw did not return calls by press time seeking comment on Morrisey's latest request. The general election is Nov. 6.

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