"She's the lady in red when everybody else is wearing tan! ... The flashy girl from Flushing, the nanny named Fran!" -- The Nanny

Fran Hughes is not from Flushing, New York, but she is kind of flashy, and she has served as a sort of nanny – for her boss, State Attorney General Darrell McGraw.

As his chief deputy, Hughes frequently tries to help McGraw out of jams, though not always successfully.

When Darrell won million-dollar settlements with pharmaceutical companies, Hughes figured out how to finagle the Feds out of its portion of the proceeds. It was a neat trick, but the Feds got its share anyway by withholding Medicaid payments to West Virginia.

Now that McGraw is facing a serious challenger in his bid to win a sixth consecutive term as our state's top law enforcement officer, the nanny named Fran is determined to defend him against criticism of his performance.

Once again, however, the nanny may be offering too much help.

McGraw's challenger, Harpers Ferry Republican Patrick Morrisey, has turned the spotlight on McGraw's business-bashing, self-aggrandizing tactics and promised "to turn the state's legal climate around and champion strong ethics reform."

The Jan. 31 edition of the Charleston Daily Mail featured Hughes' frantic efforts to return fire at her boss's rival.

"He's going to have to respond to why he thinks he should be attorney general when he's never worked in West Virginia," the nanny said about Morrisey -- blurring the lines between state employee and campaign spin doctor.

"One of our top areas of focus will be ensuring that taxpayer monies are not used as an extension of the AG's campaign," Morrisey responded. "Whether this involves taxpayer-funded commercials touting the incumbent or the amount of time government employees spend in a campaign capacity, West Virginians deserve to know what goes on within that office and figure out the best way to clean it up."

Ouch! Poor McGraw might need a new nanny.

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