CHARLESTON – Former state Attorney General Darrell McGraw is running for state Supreme Court.
McGraw, who also served on the Court from 1976 to 1988 before a 20-year stint as AG, threw his hat into the ring for the one seat up for grabs on Jan. 30, the final day to file for office.
The seat currently is occupied by Brent Benjamin, who defeated McGraw’s brother Warren in 2004 in a hotly contested race. Darrell McGraw, 79, lost the AG position in 2012 to Patrick Morrisey.
Until this year, judicial elections in West Virginia were partisan. McGraw and his brother are Democrats, and Benjamin was elected as Republican. Because it now is non-partisan, the May 10 primary will serve as the general election for all judicial races.
Others running for the bench are Morgantown attorney Beth Walker, former lawmaker Bill Wooton and Clay attorney Wayne King.
A legal reform group that was a vocal opponent of McGraw during his time as attorney general already is speaking out against his campaign for a return to a Supreme Court seat.
“Unfortunately, former radical Attorney General Darrell McGraw has filed to be a candidate for Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia,” West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse Executive Director Roman Stauffer said Sunday. “We will make sure that West Virginia voters who rejected his candidacy in 2012 understand that his election to our high court would be a major setback and likely result in our state being labeled a ‘Judicial Hellhole’ once again.
“Voters across our state have twice rejected the McGraw family's radical and activist judicial philosophy. The new leaders of our state have worked in a bi-partisan manner to fix the notorious judicial labels that Darrell McGraw contributed to for decades. I'm confident that West Virginians will once again reject Darrell McGraw's candidacy and continue to move our state forward and into the legal mainstream.”
In the race for Attorney General, the incumbent Morrisey and Democrat Doug Reynolds from Huntington have no opposition in their primaries.
Also on the final day to file, three more Democratic attorneys filed to run for the U.S. House 2nd Congressional seat currently occupied by Republican Alex Mooney. They are Nitro attorney Harvey Peyton, Charleston attorney Cory Simpson and Tom Payne from Martinsburg. They join former lawmaker Mark Hunt, also an attorney from Charleston in the Democratic primary.
Huntington attorney Paul Farrell Jr. filed to run for President in the West Virginia primary as a Democrat.
For governor, Republican state Senate President Bill Cole from Mercer County is the lone entrant. On the Democratic side, state Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and millionaire Jim Justice are the three candidates.