CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - Longtime West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has conceded defeat in his race against Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey, who will be the state's first Republican AG since 1933.
McGraw conceded shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday night, when Metro News results had him trailing Morrisey by more than 11,000 votes with 88 percent of votes counted. McGraw was seeking a sixth term, having first been elected in 1992.
"I'm proud of the fact that we fought the good fight and kept the faith. Sometimes good should prevail but it doesn't always," campaign spokesperson Denise Tucker said. "I'm extremely proud of Attorney General McGraw and all the work he's done for the people of West Virginia."
Morrisey released the following statement:
"With your help, West Virginia made a significant change tonight that was long overdue. I'm honored and humbled to have been chosen as your next Attorney General, and promise that I will carry out the duties of that office in an honorable and effective manner.
"For too long, this state has been under attack from the Environmental Protection Agency and overreaching laws and regulations, such as Obamacare. These Obama policies have harmed West Virginia. It's now time for West Virginia's Attorney General to fight back.
"I'd like to congratulate Attorney General McGraw for a spirited campaign. He has spent a long career in public service, and for that we should be grateful.
"We have a bold vision for what the Office of Attorney General can do to protect jobs and consumers in this state, improve West Virginia's business and legal climate, and advance ethics reform. We will soon begin to execute that plan in a manner that will make West Virginia proud."
Morrisey criticized the way McGraw handled funds received in the $25 billion national foreclosure settlement with the five largest mortgage servicers.
McGraw gave Legal Aid $1 million, allowing the organization to fund its operations in Logan and Mingo counties for the next three years. He also opened up a satellite office in the Eastern Panhandle to help troubled homeowners.
McGraw spent more than $3,000 for four billboards located near military armories to promote Project Save Our Homes. The billboards depicted a soldier hugging a female.
West Virginia will get more than $33 million in assistance for struggling homeowners as a result of the settlement.
McGraw had handled similar accusations that he was campaigning on taxpayer dollars in 2008 from Charleston attorney Dan Greear, who said McGraw was using funds secured in a 2004 settlement with OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma to promote his name.
McGraw portrayed Morrisey as an outsider. Morrisey lives in the far Eastern part of the state in Harpers Ferry and works for a law firm in Washington, D.C.
Originally from New Jersey, Morrisey unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in that state in 2000.
McGraw's campaign recently issued a press release that said Morrisey moved his family to Alexandria, Va., after the New Jersey loss and that his wife is still registered to vote in Fairfax County, while his child attends school there.
Morrisey told the Charleston Gazette that the release was a "low blow" and that McGraw was trying to drag him through the mud. He added that he bought his home in Jefferson County in 2006, two years before he got married.
McGraw's last two re-election efforts were two of the closest statewide races in West Virginia history. In 2004 he defeated Hiram Lewis and in 2008 he defeated Greear, both by less than one percentage point.
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