Charleston's papers split on W.Va. AG's race

John O'Brien Oct. 9, 2008, 11:22am


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - The two major daily newspapers in West Virginia's capital are split on the state Attorney General's race.

The Charleston Gazette is endorsing four-term Democrat Darrell McGraw, while the Charleston Daily Mail is choosing Republican challenger and Charleston attorney Dan Greear.

"McGraw has established a powerful record by suing shady lenders, irresponsible drug corporations, dubious stockbrokers, deadly cigarette manufacturers and others," the Gazette's endorsement says.

"His Consumer Protection Division also recovers money for exploited families. Altogether, he has won nearly $2 billion in settlements for the state government and refunds for individuals."

The Daily Mail endorsement notes the State's economic woes and blames McGraw for scaring off jobs.

"West Virginians are still stuck at 49th in per capita income. Voters sick of that may want to address some of the factors that cause corporations to be reluctant to do business here," the endorsement says.

"One of those factors is the state's perceived hostility to business. Part of that reputation stems from Attorney General Darrell McGraw's use of that office."

It adds that Greear has promised more transparency with the way the office conducts its business, like hiring outside counsel to represent the State.

"He would pursue consumer protection cases with open bidding, turn all settlements over to the Legislature, and make all lawyers' fees a matter of record," the Daily Mail says.

The Gazette says McGraw is a target of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of his history of aggressive actions against businesses. It claims the Chamber funded the West Virginia Record "chiefly to denounce him."

The Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform also owns Legal Newsline.

"It and other foes are filling television with attack ads against the attorney general," the Gazette says. "But he endures the slings and arrows."

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