Elections

Patrick Morrisey for Senate

Patrick Morrisey at CPAC 2017 (Gage Skidmore)

West Virginia Republicans should give state attorney general Patrick Morrisey their nod in May 8’s Senate primary.

Morrisey is a rock-solid, independent-minded conservative who would be a valuable addition to the right flank of the Republican caucus.

He is the first Republican attorney general in West Virginia since the 1930s and has used his office to aggressively defend the state’s interests, particularly against the anti-coal crusade of the Obama-era EPA. He has fought to mitigate the opioid scourge that has been so devastating in West Virginia.

His record is impeccable on abortion and guns, and everything else. He joined the threatened state lawsuit against DACA that helped convince the Trump administration to abandon the policy. Morrisey has diligently assembled a conservative coalition behind his Senate bid, winning endorsements from Ted Cruz and from West Virginians for Life PAC.

He is a nose-to-the-grindstone hard worker who we are confident would not be a time-server or wallflower should he make it to the Senate.

Morrisey’s primary opponents are Representative Evans Jenkins and coal magnate Don Blankenship. Jenkins, a former Democrat, is well liked and would be a reliable Republican vote in the Senate, although a thoroughly conventional one (he voted, for instance, for the recent disgraceful omnibus spending bill in the House). Blankenship, who is trailing in the primary, spent a year in jail on a charge related to a deadly mining accident. He would risk throwing away a winnable Senate race.

There’s no doubt that the Democratic incumbent, Joe Manchin, is running scared. He has, so far, deftly handled the politics of a state that has been rapidly becoming more Republican. But it’s not going to be easy hanging on when Donald Trump won West Virginia by 42 points. Manchin has never faced the sort of challenge he is likely to get this year from a serious, well-funded Republican opponent. We hope that opponent is Patrick Morrisey.

Editor’s note: This piece has been emended since its original posting.

The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

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