CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey challenged Third District Congressman Evan Jenkins to a number of debates during an appearance Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline.” Both Republican officeholders have announced their intentions to seek the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate next year.
“I’m open to debates. I would challenge Evan Jenkins to debate me on the issues and I’m open to that dialogue,” Morrisey said.
Morrisey, who was elected to a second four-term as attorney general last year, said his campaign will stick to the issues while pointing out the differences between himself and Jenkins.
“I think it’s been unfortunate that Congressman Jenkins has already gotten very personal, started the negativity at a very early stage. I’m just going to focus on issues and contrasts between the two candidates,” Morrisey said on “Talkline.”
Jenkins said again Tuesday, during an appearance on 580 Live on WCHS Radio in Charleston with Mayor Danny Jones, that Morrisey should keep the promise he made to voters just last year.
“He looked the voters in the eye and said, “Give me a chance to represent you for the next four years,’ and now he’s thrown that promise to the wind,” Jenkins said.
A win by Morrisey in the 2018 General Election would mean Gov. Jim Justice, a Democrat, would appoint someone to finish the final two years of Morrisey’s term.
“That’s totally unacceptable,” Jenkins said.
Morrisey said he’s the only conservative in the race.
“That’s not a personal slight at his (Jenkins’) character. That’s just saying that one candidate has a conservative record and the other does not,” Morrisey said.
The Jenkins campaign criticized Morrisey even before his Monday announcement and launched a website Monday evening called MorriseysMillions.com that the campaign said would provide state residents with the truth about Morrisey’s record.
Morrisey said his record at attorney general includes several wins against policies created in the Obama administration. He said a spot in the U.S. Senate would help him expand those fights.
There has been speculation that former Massey Energy President and CEO Don Blankenship is considering a run for the seat. Morrisey said Tuesday he welcomes anyone into the race.
“It’s not for me to tell someone not to run. I think that would be arrogant,” Morrisey said.
Former southern West Virginia coal miner Bo Copley has also announced his intentions to be part of next year’s GOP primary.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin has already announced his reelection bid.