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W.Va. AG known for opposing Obama and Biden policies wins GOP gubernatorial primary: NPR

West Virginia voters chose their candidates in primaries, leaving key gubernatorial positions and a seat in the U.S. Senate vacant.

Jack Walker/West Virginia Public Broadcasting


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Jack Walker/West Virginia Public Broadcasting


West Virginia voters chose their candidates in primaries, leaving key gubernatorial positions and a seat in the U.S. Senate vacant.

Jack Walker/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After a campaign focused on national culture war issues, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has won the Republican nomination for governor of the state, according to an election ad by The Associated Press.

In a state that voted heavily for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, Morrisey will start as a favorite in the November election. He will face the only contender in the Democratic primary, Steve Williams, who is in his third term as mayor of Huntington. Unopposed in the Democratic primary, Williams has been able to wait and focus his efforts on the upcoming general election.

They are seeking to replace Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who reached his two-term limit in that office.

Meanwhile, Justice, according to the AP, scored an expected victory in the Republican primary for the nomination to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin. Justice, the owner of a wide range of businesses and the son of a coal magnate, is the dominant figure in state politics and was backed by Trump. As governor, he has helped pass income tax cuts and a near-total ban on abortion.

He will start as the likely favorite against Democrat Glenn Elliott, the mayor of Wheeling, whom the AP called the winner of that party’s primary. With the departure of Democratic Senator Manchin, the race could be key in determining whether Republicans can take control of the Senate.

In the Republican primary for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, incumbent Carol Miller defeated Derrick Evans, according to the AP. Evans served three months in prison on a civil disorder charge for participating in the storming of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. At the time he was a delegate to the West Virginia House of Representatives.

New Republican gubernatorial candidate Morrisey was elected attorney general in 2012 and used the office to lead lawsuits against federal policies of the Obama and Biden administrations. He recently led other state attorneys general in a lawsuit to block Environmental Protection Agency rules requiring cuts in emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants.

Much of the primary campaign saw candidates for the Republican nomination competing over who was the most conservative and the biggest supporter of Trump. They highlighted their support for the state’s coal industry, endorsing that fossil fuels remain key to America’s energy supply as the country transitions to renewable sources. But much of the media campaign focused on his opposition to transgender rights.

“Frankly, because our candidates don’t have a lot of policy alternatives they want to talk about, it’s easier to play the culture wars game and create fear,” said Marybeth Beller, an associate professor of political science at Marshall University in West Virginia. University.

Although he grew up in New Jersey and moved to West Virginia in 2006, Morrisey beat out contenders with deeper ties to the state’s political establishment. Moore Capito, a former delegate to the West Virginia Legislature, was on track to finish second. He is the son of U.S. Senator Shelley Capito and grandson of the late Governor Arch Moore. He was endorsed by Governor Justice.

Another contender was car dealership owner Chris Miller, whose mother is U.S. Rep. Carol Miller. The other candidate was the current Secretary of State, Mac Warner.

Randy Yohe covers state government for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.