CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - Another close race, another win for West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw.
The soon-to-be fifth-term Democrat defeated Republican challenger Dan Greear, who waited until after 1 a.m. to concede. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, McGraw led by 3,987 votes, with both candidates statistically earning 50 percent of the vote.
It was similar to McGraw's 2004 race with Hiram Lewis, the current closest attorney general race in West Virginia's history (perhaps only until Tuesday's results become official). McGraw defeated Lewis by 5,307 votes.
"We expected a close race. Not this close though, to be honest," said Greear, who beat Lewis in May's primary.
"I can honestly say we did everything we knew to do. I just wish the numbers were a little different. The numbers are tough. It wasn't an easy night."
Greear, 40, had even held a late lead, pulling ahead with about 88 percent of precincts reporting.
But by the time 97 percent were in, McGraw led 330,223-326,236.
McGraw, 71, is also a former justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court. He was first elected attorney general in 1992.
The race between the two was anything but friendly.
In a press release issued late Monday night, Greear listed six incidents in the closing days of the heated campaign that he calls "clear evidence of campaign activity within the taxpayer funded Office of Attorney General in the weeks leading up to election day."
On Tuesday afternoon, Chief Deputy Attorney General Fran Hughes was critical of Greear and his campaign tactics.
"His slander is astounding," she said. "I'm sure he's desperate, and that's all he has to offer.
"He throws out these bombs. He makes up allegations. That's been a pattern of his throughout this election. He casually engages in defamation."
From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.