MARTINSBURG -- In recent weeks leading up to the primary election and even after it, several Republican candidates for various offices across the state have publicly asked their Democratic rivals if they support or voted for President Obama.
Republican Attorney General candidate Patrick Morrisey issued a statement asking Darrell McGraw the question.
On Tuesday, McGraw answered.
"I know last week I voted for Obama," McGraw said during the opening of his office's Eastern Panhandle branch. "I don't know what the rest of them (other Democrats) did."
Morrisey said McGraw's vote was no big surprise.
"After all, he refused to join the 26-state lawsuit to repeal Obamacare and wouldn't take on Obama's EPA that is killing jobs across our state from the coal fields to the factories to the farmlands," Morrisey said Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday, Morrisey issued a statement on the story after it first was posted on The West Virginia Record website.
"McGraw's enthusiastic support of Obama has very negative consequences for the State of West Virginia," Morrisey said Wednesday. "As the President's chief legal ally in the state, McGraw has been unwilling to fight Obama's war on coal or place West Virginia on the 26-state lawsuit to repeal Obamacare. As Obama's chief legal ally, McGraw has allowed Obama to run roughshod over West Virginians' way of life, killing jobs from the coal fields to the factories to the farmlands.
"We need to elect a strong, independent voice who will put West Virginia interests over partisan politics and protect the state's citizens from illegal Washington regulations and mandates.
"The defining issue in this campaign for Attorney General is which candidate is better equipped to protect West Virginia from Washington excesses. I look forward to debating the incumbent on why he believes the re-election of President Obama benefits the citizens of our state."
Before the election, Morrisey issued a statement calling on McGraw to publicly express his preference for president.
"Voters deserve to know where candidates stand on the issues and who they will endorse for President," Morrisey said. "I will vote for our nominee, Mitt Romney, and will stand against the President's policies that are crippling our state. Where does Darrell McGraw stand on his choice for President?"
Also on Wednesday, new state Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas issued a statement about The West Virginia Record story.
"Darrell McGraw joined the West Virginia Democratic Party, Nick Rahall and Joe Manchin in endorsing Barack Obama for re-election," Lucas said. "Of course, it should be noted that Joe Manchin is the only one to not have the courage to admit his endorsement in public ... his endorsement came behind closed doors to a group of Democrats, and Earl Ray Tomblin is still doing all he can to duck the question.
"In the face of ObamaCare, exploding federal debt, a runaway EPA and the War on Coal, how these officials can stand with President Obama and against the working men and women of West Virginia is beyond me. This just goes to show how much the West Virginia Democratic establishment is under control of the Democratic National Committee and Barack Obama."
Other Republicans have issued similar challenges. For instance, gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney called on Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to do so.
And earlier this week, Putnam County Republican Delegate Troy Andes called on House candidates to publicly announce whether they support President Obama.
That came less than a week after Texas federal prison inmate Keith Judd garnered 41 percent of the primary vote against Obama. That was seen by many as a sign of Obama's weak support in the state.
"Delegate candidates should let West Virginia voters know if they support the job killing, anti-coal policies of President Barack Obama or if they will stand up for West Virginia values," Andes said. "Voters also deserve to know if their Democratic delegate voted for Obama or Inmate #11593-051 last week."
Andes has founded the New Majority Fund, a political action committee to "help elect more Republicans to the House of Delegates.
"As our effort to gain a Republican majority in the West Virginia House of Delegates moves forward, our candidates will be letting voters know that we will be voting against President Obama," Andes said. "We also look forward to voting for new leadership for the 2013 legislative session."