MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Mark Brazaitis, whose first stint as a Morgantown City Councilor has been marked by spats with Monongalia County commissioners and WVU, plans to stage a write-in candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
It’s another unconventional twist in a race between Democrat incumbent Joe Manchin and Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey. GOP primary third-place finisher Don Blankenship now hopes to appear on the November ballot as the Constitution Party candidate, though the legality of that maneuver is dubious under the state’s “sore loser law.”
Brazaitis calls for progressive measures and doesn’t consider the 70-year-old Manchin “a real Democrat.”
“I will be the first write-in candidate to win a seat in the U.S. Senate from West Virginia because, as a real Democrat, I will be running against two (and maybe three) Republicans. West Virginia needs a real Democrat in the Senate,” he said.
His platform includes calls for a $700 billion bill “to revive Appalachia” with infrastructure improvements, incentivized organic farms, renewable energy sites and wide-scale production of marijuana.
The West Virginia University professor and fiction author also pitched his so-called Empower our Empowers Act, in which the U.S. government would grant $50,000 in reparations to any man, woman, or child in the region who “over the last 80 years, has gone to a doctor for treatment of an illness related to their service in the fossil-fuel industry.”
In his Universities are Universities Act, Brazaitis criticized his employer for “greed” and called for a suspension on public-private partnerships in publicly funded institutions of higher learning across the country. “Universities should not be rogue Fortune 500 companies,” he said.
A 10-percent raise for all teachers is another tenet of Brazaitis’ write-in platform, along with universal health care, a $15 minimum wage, full funding of Planned Parenthood and a ban on assault weapons.