Sides working on fine tuning terms of possible AG candidate debate

By Chris Dickerson | Oct 18, 2016

CHARLESTON – The campaigns for both major party candidates for West Virginia attorney general are working with MetroNews to finalize terms for a debate.

Incumbent Republican Patrick Morrisey accepted the invitation from MetroNews on Oct. 11, less than 24 hours after it was extended. That invitation indicated MetroNews host Hoppy Kercheval would be the moderator of the debate.

On Oct. 17, Democratic challenger Doug Reynolds also accepted the invitation. But in a press release, Reynolds campaign spokeswoman Lynette Maselli said the debate would be moderated by MetroNews’ Hoppy Kercheval and Howard Monroe of WKKX in Wheeling.

“Patrick Morrisey called for a debate to be hosted by a neutral party,” she said. “MetroNews is a subsidiary of West Virginia Radio Corporation, owned and operated by former Republican nominee for Governor and U.S. Senate, John Raese.

“Therefore, the campaign feels that the presence of two moderators would ensure a fair debate on the issues facing West Virginia.”

However, Morrisey's campaign questioned the need for two moderators.

"Yes, we maintain that we are looking forward to debates hosted by a fair and neutral party," Morrisey campaign manager Kayla Berube said Oct. 18. "We believe that since Hoppy Kercheval was acceptable to both major candidates for governor, he would be suitable to host and moderate a debate in this race as well."

Kercheval said he's still working on the details.

“I have been talking with both camps to try to arrange a debate for this key race," he told The West Virginia Record on Oct. 18. "At this point, we have not finalized the details.

"These discussions can get complicated and I hope we will be able to resolve them so the people of West Virginia have a chance to hear from these two candidates.”

Last week, Morrisey’s campaign challenged Reynolds to a debate.

“Liberal Doug Reynolds has launched a barrage of nasty attack ads against Attorney General Morrisey and his wife, without ever setting forth any real solutions to the serious challenges facing West Virginia,” Berube said then. “Doug Reynolds owes West Virginia voters answers about his shady business deals, strong support for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and his ultra-liberal record of voting in favor of higher taxes and fees sixteen times.

“It’s no surprise that someone who was born with a silver spoon in their mouth would think they could lie and buy their way into higher office. Mr. Reynolds should stop hiding behind his daddy’s money and start focusing on the issues.”

Berube said Morrisey is eager to discuss his record of defeating the liberal Obama-Clinton agenda at the US Supreme Court, fighting the state’s drug epidemic and returning millions of dollars back to the taxpayers.

Maselli says Reynolds is ready “to finally be able to sit down with the Attorney General and discuss the issues facing West Virginia.”

“Doug Reynolds has been the only one talking about the issues since day one of this race,” Maselli said. “The Attorney General called for two debates, but when the second one didn’t come to fruition, we felt having both moderators would provide a fair environment for a single debate.

“West Virginians deserve to hear the facts from the candidates, not false ads from a dark money Super PAC that’s trying to buy this election for Mr. Morrisey. Doug is excited to debate the issues facing West Virginia, and he looks forward to sitting down with Patrick Morrisey next week.”

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