CHARLESTON – The latest television ad from Doug Reynolds’ campaign is drawing criticism from incumbent Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s campaign and from Morrisey’s wife.
In the ad, titled “Carpetbagger,” Reynolds’ campaign says Morrisey only is interested in advancing his political career. It traces Morrisey’s path from his native New Jersey to Washington, D.C., to West Virginia.
Reynolds campaign spokeswoman Lynette Maselli said Morrisey couldn’t get elected to office in New Jersey, so he moved to D.C. to lobby for drug companies and “look for a politically advantageous opportunity.”
“Pharmaceutical lobbyist Patrick Morrisey bought a weekend camp in West Virginia, then four days after obtaining his law license, filed to run for Attorney General,” Maselli said. “He’s not a West Virginian who wants to help our state. He doesn’t understand the unique problems facing West Virginia.
"He’s a carpetbagger who couldn’t get elected to congress in New Jersey, and moved around the country until he found a state where he could buy an election.”
Maselli said Morrisey’s “D.C. friends and drug companies are spending millions on his campaign.”
“West Virginia has the highest overdose rate in the nation, but out-of-state billionaires are once again trying to sell us their pharmaceutical lobbyist,” she said. “It’s in West Virginia’s best interest to say ‘return to sender’ this time around. West Virginia deserves an honest Attorney General. One who actually lives here and will hold big drug companies accountable, not someone who is lining his pockets and trying to advance his own political career.
“That’s why this election is slipping through Morrisey’s corrupt fingers and West Virginians are supporting Doug Reynolds: a fourth generation West Virginian with West Virginia values."
Morrisey’s campaign responded with a press release headlined “Desperate Doug’s Liberal Lie of the Week.” Spokeswoman Kayla Berube said the ad “contains blatantly false claims against our current Attorney General.”
Berube says the ad claims that Morrisey lives in Virginia. The ad does say his wife lives in Northern Virginia, but it originally said both Morrisey and his wife live there before being updated. And Maselli did say West Virginia deserves an AG “who actually lives here” in a press release announcing the ad.
“Patrick Morrisey is the sitting Attorney General, which requires residence in West Virginia,” Berube said. “He pays taxes in West Virginia and has never been a resident of the state of Virginia. We have never before seen such a blatant lie.”
Berube went on to say that “while Reynolds continues to lie and spend millions of dollars to try to buy the election, he also stands directly opposed to the best interests of hard working West Virginians.”
“Reynolds donated thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, voted for a cap and trade scheme that would have killed coal jobs and even co-sponsored a bill that would have limited the Attorney General’s ability to sue the federal government and fight the Obama-Clinton anti-coal policies coming out of Washington,” Berube said. “Desperate Doug is totally out of touch. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he continues to spend his daddy’s money, but all the money in the world won’t make his lies become true.”
Reynolds’ father is Huntington businessman Marshall Reynolds, chairman and CEO of Champion Industries.
“While Doug Reynolds continues to use his family’s fortune to try to buy the Attorney General’s Office, Patrick Morrisey remains committed to fighting for coal jobs, ending the substance abuse epidemic and returning millions of dollars back to the taxpayers,” Berube said. “Patrick Morrisey is a proud West Virginian by choice. Doug Reynolds has chosen to be a liberal, anti-coal Clinton supporter.”
Meanwhile, Morrisey’s wife responded to the Reynolds ad just hours after it was released.
“Dear Doug Reynolds,” Denise Henry Morrisey’s Oct. 11 post on Facebook begins. “How dare you talk about why I still own a home in Northern Virginia.”
The post included a photo of her father.
“The man you see below is THE reason – my Father Deacon Jake Henry,” she wrote. “I promised my mother on her death bed one year ago October 28th, 2015, that I would watch over him and I always will.
“My dad lives in a memory care center in northern Virginia because he has dementia. My mother lost her life because she put his before hers. She was the ultimate caregiver – and I will be forever grateful for her love and devotion.
“Before my mother got sick I had planned to move my dad and mom to West Virginia. I bought two small cottages in White Sulphur Springs, WV, so that she could be near me and we could find a memory care center in White Sulphur Springs for my dad.
“God had a different plan for all of us.
“It has been a terrible three years for my family and you have the audacity to suggest that I have a home in northern Virginia for work.
“I will always be there for my father and no political spin from you will ever change that fact.”