When seeking re-election, however, that same candidate has a record to run on. Voters can scrutinize that record and judge accordingly. Have the promises been kept, for instance? If not, why not?
Patrick Morrisey made lots of promises when he ran for state attorney general in 2012, and voters had no way of knowing at the time if he'd follow through on any of them. Of course, there was almost no way he could be worse than the man he sought to replace, so he was bound to be an improvement, but he did promise a lot.
Now that Morrisey has served nearly three years in office, he has a record. Now that he's announced his intention to seek re-election in 2016, it behooves us to examine that record.
Has Patrick Morrisey kept his promises? Indeed, he has.
The difference in the state attorney general's office since Morrisey took over from his five-term predecessor is like the difference between night and day.
In his first six months in office, Morrisey announced that a multimillion-dollar settlement had been reached with GlaxoSmithKline, that the federal government had been apprised of the terms and made no claim against the settlement money, that the bulk of the funds would be returned to the state, and that a policy he'd instituted for compensating outside counsel had resulted in a savings of nearly $3 million.
Earlier this year, our state Legislature passed a bill prescribing how the state attorney general's office should hire outside counsel, codifying reforms instituted by Morrisey.
“We’ve modernized the office,” Morrisey justifiably boasts. “We’ve added new talent. We’ve modified how settlement money is processed. We’ve implemented our outside counsel plan. West Virginia is now a leader in the fight against the EPA. We’re doing good things.”
Anyone running for re-election would be proud to have such a record.