CHARLESTON – The first battle has begun in the state Attorney General race in this fall's general election.
A consultant for Republican challenger Dan Greear's campaign has questioned incumbent Darrell McGraw's "personal photographer," but McGraw's top assistant says such a position does not exist.
"Take for instance, Darryl's personal photographer that goes with him wherever he goes," Vic Sprouse, Greear's campaign consultant, recently wrote on his blog at changewv.com. "So, Darryl shakes hands, gets his photo taken with the senior and then his office mails out the photo (can you imagine anyone having a photo of Darryl in their home? Creepy.)
"Who pays for the photog and the perpetual McGraw campaign?"
But Chief Deputy AG Fran Hughes says McGraw's office doesn't have a photographer.
"That is not true," she said when asked about Sprouse's blog entry. "We don't have a photographer on staff."
Hughes said the office does have a Polaroid-type camera that immediately can generate a picture with the office's toll-free consumer protection hotline phone number on it.
"Sometimes when we're out, one of our consumer advocates will take photos," Hughes said, referring to members of McGraw's Citizen Advisory Committee. "But that's not done all of the time either."
McGraw's office created the 33-member Citizen Advisory Committee last year to help it deal with consumer protection issues across the state.
In his blog, Sprouse commented more on Greear's race against McGraw.
"This entire campaign with Greear and McGraw is going to be fun," said Sprouse, a Republican who opted not to seek re-election to the state Senate this year. "Greear is in an uphill battle because … well, 50 percent of Darryl's campaign spending comes from the taxpayers, the other half comes from $1,000 checks written from out of state law firms.
"Funny how one single Georgia law firm contributes $8,000 just for the heck of it to the WV AG's race. It's like public financing of campaigns, but without a law and with Darryl as the only recipient of the public funding."
Sprouse said Greear is ready for the challenge of facing McGraw, a longtime political figure in the state.
"Finally, we have someone in Dan Greear who will challenge the imbalanced McGraw every step of the way and he actually has to pay his way and not rely on the taxpayer to fund," Sprouse said.