CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is backing West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s bid for U.S. Senate, a shift from the organization’s 2010 endorsement of Morrisey’s opponent, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.
Sara Armstrong, the organization’s vice president of political affairs and federation relations, said in a Thursday release the attorney general’s record proves he is the better candidate. The Morrisey campaign pointed to his efforts that granted nationwide stays on environmental regulations including the Waters of the U.S. Rule and the Clean Power Plan.
“As a proponent of rolling back burdensome regulations, creating a climate for job growth and cutting taxes so West Virginia families can succeed, Patrick Morrisey is the person West Virginia needs in the U.S. Senate,” Armstrong said.
Morrisey said in a statement he will be an ally to President Donald Trump if elected, and would support deregulation and efforts decreasing the scope of the federal government.
“This November, West Virginia voters will have a clear choice between a pro-growth tax-cutter, or a Hillary Clinton supporting tax-hiker in liberal Joe Manchin,” he said.
In regards to Manchin, the campaign criticized the senator for voting against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December and supporting Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid even after she discussed bringing new economic opportunities to West Virginia after putting “a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Manchin told MetroNews in June he stood by Clinton after she promised to bring infrastructure and broadband internet projects to the state.
“If people knew that I had a chance to get all those things fixed and help southern West Virginia — highways, broadband, high-speed (internet), hydroelectric dam — and I walked away from that because I was afraid of my political career, then shame on me. I shouldn’t be running,” he said.
The campaign noted the rise in unemployment in West Virginia during Manchin’s tenure as governor, in which the unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in January 2005 and 8.8 percent when Manchin left office in November 2010. The campaign did not note in its release the Great Recession, the longest and deepest recession in the United States since the Great Depression of the 1930s which affected the entire country.
Manchin’s cumulative voting score with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s agenda is 58 percent.
In the organization’s 2010 endorsement of Manchin, the chamber said then-Governor Manchin understood the nation’s economic challenges and had a record of backing job-creating policies.
“Under Manchin’s tenure, West Virginia’s economy has remained strong, with a lower unemployment rate than the national average, and one of the few states to receive a Moody’s bond rating increase for the state’s growing economy and responsible fiscal management. In 2008, the Cato Institute stated that Manchin enacted the most pro-growth tax reforms of any governor,” the chamber said in September 2010.
Morrisey is scheduled to speak before the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Thursday morning. The state Chamber of Commerce is holding its annual meeting at the Greenbrier resort. The chamber backed Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., in the Republican primary for Senate.
Manchin and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., will give presentations Friday morning at the conference.