HUNTINGTON – The latest ad from state Attorney General candidate Doug Reynolds takes aim at incumbent Patrick Morrisey.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

The ad, released last week, is entitled “Pass By.” In the ad, which can be viewed online, Reynolds says Morrisey, a Republican, is “passing by” issue facing the state.

“The ad addresses the drug epidemic that’s plaguing our state, killing our children, and devastating our communities,” a statement from Reynolds’ campaign says. “It focuses on the thousands of miners who’ve lost their jobs while the current attorney general is looking out for himself and trying to advance his political career.”

The 30-second commercial also touts Reynolds track record as a job creator, saying he won’t “drive by” the 10,000 coal miners who have lost their jobs. The ad features a car driving with a temporary West Virginia license plate that reads “MORRISEY.”

The ad also says Reynolds “won’t accept a dime from big drug companies making millions from the misery of West Virginians. He’ll hold them accountable for our state’s drug crisis.”

“West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdoses in the country,” Reynolds said about the ad. “D.C. insider and pharmaceutical lobbyist Patrick Morrisey has done nothing to combat the drug crisis since taking office, and is only talking about it now because he’s up for re-election. Unlike Morrisey, I won’t take a dime from the big drug companies who are making millions off the suffering of West Virginians.

“As your Attorney General, I will fight for coal jobs, hold drug companies accountable, and never pass West Virginians by.”

Last week, in an interview with The West Virginia Record, Reynolds reiterated those thoughts about some prescription drug companies donating money to Morrisey’s re-election campaign.

“I think this the worst thing about it,” he said. “Morrisey is out there saying he is fighting prescription drug abuse every day, but he has filed no new cases about it. He's settling some of these cases for pennies on the dollar. It's absolutely insulting to the people of West Virginia.

“This is the main reason I got into this race. It's the most important issue of this campaign.”

The Republican Attorneys General Association has been spending money on ads promoting Morrisey’s re-election bid. But Reynolds said he also doesn’t expect much assistant from the outside political action committees.

“I've not done them any favors like Morrisey has for the Republicans,” he said. “And besides, if the money was coming from drug companies, I wouldn't want their damn support.”

Kayla Berube, a spokeswoman for Morrisey’s campaign, responded to Reynolds’ comments.

“As attorney general, Patrick Morrisey holds his office and the campaign to the highest of ethical standards,” Berube said. “He has a policy that prohibits solicitation and acceptance of contributions from companies the office is suing.

“Furthermore, the campaign follows campaign finance laws, which prohibit coordination between the campaign and an independent expenditure effort such as the one put forth by RAGA.”

Berube touted some of Morrisey’s work on the drug front and other issues.

“The attorney general's pro-active initiatives to combat West Virginia's substance abuse epidemic have gained praise from groups all across the state,” she said. “Just last week, the partnership forged by the Attorney General's office with the US Attorney's office resulted in yet another indictment of a suspected heroin dealer.

“Attorney General Morrisey looks forward to continuing to discuss these efforts, as well as his long record of successes in stopping federal government overreach and protecting West Virginia jobs.”

Reynolds said the drug issue is what people are talking about on his campaign stops across the state.

“You can look at numbers like arrests,” Reynolds said of the drug problem. “Seven of 10 heroin users started with a legal prescription for pain killers. So, it has a lot to do with our heroin problem.”

Reynolds said he didn’t see the number of drug cases there are today when he was a Cabell County prosecutor.

“Unlike my opponent, I've lived here all my life,” Reynolds said. “I mean, look at places like Wayne and Crum. Yeah, Huntington always has had something of a drug problem. But now, these smaller places are overrun with drugs. When I was growing up, some kids in Wayne might smoke some we'd. But that was about it.

“As attorney general, I'll make sure more of the settlement money goes into treatment programs. And I’d be more aggressive on these lawsuits would mean more money for the state and these programs.”

Reynolds also said the drug companies that are throwing support to Morrisey aren’t like other political action groups.

“Listen, there are some people and some groups that always will be behind either the Democrat or the Republican,” he said. “But this is more than that. These people, it's the only campaign to any campaign in the state they've contributed to. This isn't just another special interest group.

“And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Some groups will spend millions of dollars.”

Reynolds said Morrisey only is talking about the drug epidemic now because it’s election season.

“Now, he's doing PSAs about it,” Reynolds said. “He hasn't talked about it for 3 1/2 years, but now he is. This problem just did pop up in the last few weeks.”

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