BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Roughly 200 supporters of Patrick Morrisey rallied in Bridgeport on Saturday as Vice President Mike Pence made his latest stop in the Mountain State to endorse the U.S. Senate candidate.
Morrisey, West Virginia’s attorney general, spoke before Pence’s arrival at Engine & Airframe Solutions Worldwide in Bridgeport, describing himself as a “conservative fighter with a record of accomplishment.”
“I helped advance many pro-life initiatives and defended them in court,” he said. “I’ve stood strong for your second amendment rights — 38 states have reciprocity agreements, and I’ve fought for coal and our energy resources. We stopped Barack Obama at the Supreme Court. I’ve been working tirelessly to get rid of Obamacare, something Joe Manchin can’t say.”
Those successes are what Pence said made endorsing Morrisey for U.S. Senate such a clear decision.
“I’m here tonight to tell you that we need someone in the United States Senate and beyond to keep this economy moving forward, to keep America growing stronger and safer every day, and that’s why we need Patrick Morrisey in the United States Senate for the state of West Virginia,” he said.
He went on to add that Morrisey cracked down on disability fraud, saving the people of West Virginia more than $10 million. Morrisey also went after efforts to shut down coal-burning power plants, puting together a coalition of 27 states to stand up to the Obama administration and won.
“Patrick Morrisey did it all and still returned $40 million back to taxpayers,” Pence said. “That’s results. That’s fiscal responsibility. That’s what we need in the United States Senate.”
More so, Pence said that Morrisey believes in the conservative values of the people of this state.
“He stood up to say ‘no’ to open borders, ‘no’ to sanctuary cities, ‘no’ to the kind of regulations like Waters of the U.S. that infringe upon our private property rights, and as you just heard a few moments ago, Patrick Morrisey stands without apology for our second amendment rights,” he said.
Pence said Morrisey understands the plight of the West Virginia worker.
“He knows what working families are all about because he grew up in one himself. His dad fought in World War II. His mom was a nurse at the VA. Patrick Morrisey paid his way through college,” Pence said. “He knows what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, and he is devoted to the people of West Virginia. As your Attorney General, he was elected to that office in 2012, he’s always put the taxpayers of West Virginia first.”
Even without incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin on the ballot, Pence said he’d still have great respect and support for Morrisey.
“The truth of the matter is, I’d be here if Patrick Morrisey was unopposed just because of who he is, who his family is, and the kind of plain-spoken, tenacious fighter that he’ll be in the United States Senate for West Virginia values,” he said.
Charlotte Lewis was among those who attended the rally, and she also traveled to Wheeling earlier this month when President Trump visited to show his support for Morrisey.
Lewis expected to hear Pence touch on the promises that President Trump has made, whether with jobs in West Virginia or by bringing back the coal mines.
“My ex-husband was a coal miner for 17 1/2 years, so I know what that is, and them helping the military,” she said. “I think that’s awesome. That is really, really important to a lot of people.”
But the Buckhannon resident said she already had her mind made up when it came to Patrick Morrisey.
“I approved already, and I talked other people into it. I know Mr. Morrisey has commercials that other people have done that were really negative, so I have taken it upon myself to talk to them and tell them the difference,” she said.
Lewis considers herself to be a dedicated Republican and said she’s supported Morrisey’s run for office since he started his campaign.
“I support him from the beginning because he has cleaned out the AG office in Charleston, and I know there were a whole bunch of problems there,” she said.
“He saved a lot of money, and of course, for West Virginians, that is very very important. He’d done what he said. He’s just like President Trump. He made a promise and he’d done it. He cleaned house, and I have a feeling he’ll clean house again if he makes it in. He has my vote, and he knows that.”
Warren and Lu Ann Parks made the trip from Reedsville to attend the rally. For Lu Ann Parks, this was her second time seeing a Vice President speak. The first, Hubert Humphrey in 1967.
This time, she wanted to hear about how the Trump Administration is going to help families like hers rebound from tough economic times.
“I’d like to hear more jobs for West Virginia and a little bit more prosperity,” she said. “He’s (her husband) on Social Security and I’m on disability, and it’d be nice if we got a little bit of an income to support us because there’s no jobs in Preston County.”
Until recently, Parks said she was a greeter at their local Walmart, but due to health issues, she lost her job.
“I had my one good eye operated on, and now I can’t see the receipts so the one job I had went buh-bye,” she said. “I loved that job. I was a good greeter.”
Her husband suffered similar displacement in his job.
“With the previous administration, I lost three jobs, one I’d had for over 10 years,” he said.
Lou Ann Parks added: “And we lost our house because of him (Obama) because there are no jobs.”
That’s what makes this election so important for the Parks.
“I want to get Manchin out of the Senate,” she said. “The Manchin family has done nothing but rob West Virginia blind, starting with A.J.”
“The only good part he did was voting for Kavanaugh for Supreme Court,” Warren Parks added.
With just over two weeks remaining in the election cycle, Morrisey now awaits seeing how many like Lewis and the Parks show up at the polls.
“Now is the time to make a difference,” he said. “We’re 17 days out from the election. You have to talk it up. It’s key. Go talk to 10 of your friends. Early voting starts this week. Get to the polls.”
During his speech, Pence discussed the advancements made in the two years since he and President Donald Trump were elected, the nation’s drop in unemployment, job growth and increased stability in the economy. However, Pence said there’s still progress to be made, which makes this election vital.
“Today I’ll make you a promise,” he said. “If you send Patrick Morrisey to the United States Senate, with renewed Republican majority, we’re going to secure our border, we’re going to build the wall, we’re going to close the loopholes, and we’re going to fix this broken immigration system once and for all.”
Those in the audience then begun chanting “build the wall,” to which Pence said, “We’ve already started, and I promise you it will be done.”
Manchin’s office sent out a statement following the rally.
“Pat Morrisey is from New Jersey and running an out-of-state campaign,” Manchin said in the statement. “I’m proud to have true West Virginia friends like Bob Huggins, Jerry West and Nick Saban.”