CHARLESTON – The Republican who has filed to run for Attorney General against Darrell McGraw says he intends to take a fresh look at the role of the office.
Patrick Morrisey issued a press release Monday saying 20 years in office for McGraw "is just too long."
"We need a strong, new voice -- someone with the experience, knowledge and leadership to change the Office of Attorney General and help restrain Washington's appetite for spending, regulations, and mandates," said Morrisey, who lives in Harpers Ferry.
Morrisey a health care lawyer with the Washington, D.C. firm of King & Spalding, said he would bring "a new perspective to efforts to repeal Obamacare, curb federal and state government over-regulation, provide competent counsel on Medicaid matters, and advance meaningful ethics reform."
He stressed "strong disagreement" with McGraw on overturning Obamacare.
"McGraw refused to join the 26-state legal challenge to Obamacare and stood by as the Administration saddled West Virginians with new financial burdens, rising health care costs, and unconstitutional mandates," Morrisey said in his release. "My position on Obamacare is clear: let's repeal it and start over."
Last year, Morrisey assisted those states in their successful litigation efforts to challenge the constitutionality of the law in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. His release said he provided counsel and strategic advice regarding repeal efforts and worked with members of the House of Representatives seeking to repeal the law. The constitutional claims related to the health care law are now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Morrisey also said that he was committed to changing the ethics environment in the state and challenging excessive federal and state regulations that make West Virginia one of the most unfriendly climates for starting and maintaining a business.
"One of the reasons that West Virginia ranks at the bottom of most major economic indicators in the country is because its legal system is hostile to business," he said. "As Attorney General, I will fight to turn the state's legal climate around and champion strong ethics reform."
Originally from New Jersey, Morrisey earned a bachelor of arts, in history and political science, with honors, from Rutgers College in 1989 and a juris doctor from Rutgers Law School-Newark, in 1992. He is married and has a 14-year old stepdaughter.
After Morrisey filed to run on Saturday, state Republican Party Chairman Mike Stuart praised Morrisey.
"Darrell McGraw's reign of deceit and decades-long embarrassment to West Virginia has resulted in West Virginia being viewed as one of the least friendly states for business in the nation," Stuart said. "Patrick Morrisey is a deeply experienced attorney that will join West Virginia with nearly thirty other states in challenging Obamacare. He will immediately bring instant respect to an important office that has faded because of cronyism and malaise."
McGraw is seeking his sixth term as attorney general.
A native of Wyoming County, McGraw served in the U.S. Army and later graduated from West Virginia University and WVU's College of Law. He later served on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals before becoming AG in 1992.
On his campaign website, McGraw touts having "built the Consumer Protection Division of the West Virginia Attorney General's Office into a nationally recognized powerhouse, enforcing consumer laws against some of the world's largest corporations and recovering over $2 billion dollars for the citizens of West Virginia."
He also says he looks forward to serving West Virginia for another four years.
"I am proud of the accomplishments of the Attorney General's Office, and I look forward to the privilege of remaining at the helm of this office, to help people and to continue programs that have given average citizens a voice when they would not have been heard otherwise," he said on his site.
McGraw is married to Jorea Marple, the first woman to be named state Superintendent of Schools. He has four children and one grandson.
The primary election is May 8, and the general election is Nov. 6.