Spending in West Virginia AG race nearing $10 million

By Chris Dickerson | Oct 25, 2016

CHARLESTON – As spending in the election for West Virginia Attorney General approaches $10 million, the name-calling and criticism between the two major-party candidates continues.

As of Oct. 25, the Republican Attorneys General Association, through the Mountaineers Are Always Free PAC, had spent more than $5 million on ads attacking Democratic challenger Doug Reynolds, who is seeking to oust incumbent AG Patrick Morrisey. Reynolds’ campaign has spent more than $3 million in the race, and Morrisey’s campaign has spent about $1 million.

Much of those expenses are in the form of television advertising, and a few more have been released in recent days.

Reynolds’ campaign released one called “Attorney General” that features his family. His children are wearing Halloween costumes, and it lists some of his work experience, background and endorsements. It can be seen online

Another ad from Reynolds’ campaign focuses on a CBS News investigation of Morrisey from earlier this year. It also can be seen online.

A press release from Reynolds’ campaign said it let Morrisey speak for himself and “tell voters what the campaign has been saying all along: That he’s a pharmaceutical lobbyist who is lining his family’s pockets with money from drug companies he’s supposed to be investigating.”

Reynolds campaign spokeswoman Lynette Maselli says she looks forward to hearing how Morrisey will try and spin the facts in this ad.

“Pharmaceutical lobbyist Patrick Morrisey has been running from the facts this entire election,” Maselli said. “Our latest ad is simply CBS's investigative report on West Virginia's opioid epidemic and Mr. Morrisey's ties to the pharmaceutical companies who flooded West Virginia with addictive pain pills. Morrisey has tried to hide from the facts for months, and he's hoping that West Virginians won't remember that he is unfit to be Attorney General. So we're letting voters hear it directly from Patrick Morrisey’s mouth.

“Out-of-state billionaires are once again trying to sell us their pharmaceutical lobbyist, but West Virginia isn’t buying it this time. We have the highest overdose rate in the nation, and we deserve an honest Attorney General. One who will hold big drug companies accountable, not someone who is lining his family's pockets and trying to advance his own political career.”

Morrisey’s campaign manager dismissed the ad.

"This is just more of the same mud-slinging campaign tactics liberal Doug Reynolds is funding with his daddy's money in hopes of distracting voters from his record of whole heartedly embracing Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and their anti-coal, anti-gun, radical liberal agenda,” Kayla Berube told The West Virginia Record. “The ad – like most of Reynolds' campaign ads – contains patently false statements. The Attorney General is not under investigation.

“Reynolds has invested his inherited fortune into a campaign aimed at reviving old, frivolous claims that were dismissed. All the while, Reynolds has dodged questions about his attempts to hide from the public over $50 million in taxpayer money he's diverted to line his friends and family's pockets."

Meanwhile, Morrisey’s campaign released a new ad about Reynolds called “Parachute.” It can be seen online

“At the age of 27 years old, Doug Reynolds’ father handed him a prestigious position as Director of Abigail Adams National Bancorp,” Berube said. “Though Reynolds frequently points to his experience as CEO of Energy Services of America, that multi-million-dollar privilege was also given to him by his father, who chairs the company.

“Voters are tired of self-serving politicians like Hillary Clinton and Doug Reynolds who think they can lie their way into office and they know that Patrick Morrisey fights for West Virginia. Unlike most hard working West Virginians, Reynolds has a long history of having positions, titles, property and financial assets handed to him by his wealthy father.”

As for another recent Reynolds ad, RAGA pointed out the similarities between it and an ad running in a Mississippi Supreme Court race.

Reynolds’ ad is titled “They’re Desperate,” and it can be seen online. Mississippi Justice Jim Kitchens has a similar ad that also can be viewed online.

A story on a Mississippi political blog called Y’all Politics wrote about the similarities.

“So, just who is writing the script for Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jim Kitchens?” the post states. “As we mentioned … Canal Media is doing the ads for Kitchens, and Chris Brimer, a partner at Canal Media, is the name of record on the ads for Doug Reynolds. Canal Media has done work for lots of Democrats, not just Reynolds.”

A RAGA spokesman also commented on the ads.

“It shows Doug Reynolds is running cookie cutter ads made by a liberal political consultant because Doug Reynolds is a typical Obama-Clinton supporting liberal,” Jordan Russell told The Record.

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