Four more years of McGraw's law

By The West Virginia Record | Nov 7, 2008

There aren't many 16-year incumbents who could win such close ones twice in a row.

Then again, there aren't many politicians like West Virginia's Darrell McGraw.

We don't mean that as a compliment.

Republican Dan Greear came close to unseating our notorious attorney general on Tuesday, losing by a mere 3,300 votes out of some 670,000 cast. He gave his best to budge McGraw's self-serving inertia, but in the end, it wasn't quite enough.

So McGraw, who defeated Hiram Lewis four years ago by only 6,000 votes out of 710,000 cast, survived another nail-biter. That's disappointing for our state's economic competitiveness, which will continue to suffer from McGraw's controversial reputation and anti-business actions.

It's also bad news for the taxpayers. Thanks to McGraw, we'll pay more over the next four years. That's to shoulder the burden of West Virginia's weak business base -- caused in part by his misguided, unchecked actions. And money has to come from somewhere to fill the budget holes he created by allocating federal Medicaid funds for his pet projects and political use. That somewhere is us.

After learning last year about the $10 million McGraw passed around from a Purdue Pharma lawsuit settlement with state taxpayers, Uncle Sam called him out and demanded recompense. West Virginia taxpayers have had to make good for him. That he wasn't voted out of office for his fiscal mismanagement surely will lead him to think he has a license to repeat offend. It would be unwise to speculate as to what McGraw's next fiscal transgression might be.

None of this should be. Attorneys general aren't supposed to have such power over a state's progress and potential. There is no reason for the controversial actions McGraw insists upon taking. His fellow elected officials don't have to put up with it.

That includes not just our uber-popular Gov. Joe Manchin, also re-elected Tuesday, but elected members of our state senate and house of delegates. Finance Committee Chairmen Sen. Walt Helmick (D-Pocahontas) and Del. Harry Keith White (D-Mingo) come to mind as two legislators who should stand up to McGraw's bully tactics.

McGraw's next four years in office must not be as disappointing for our taxpayers as the past 16.

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