The Citizens United Political Victory Fund (CUPVF) is backing Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the conservative candidate for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked choice, Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV).
“CUPVF is proud to support conservative change agent Patrick Morrisey for U.S. Senator from West Virginia,” Citizens United president Dave Bossie, the deputy campaign manager of President Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign, said in a statement provided exclusively to Breitbart News ahead of its public release. “Attorney General Morrisey is a conservative stalwart who will come to the U.S. Senate to fight for the interests of West Virginia, not the Washington establishment.”
“We support Patrick Morrisey for Senate because he has a proven record of results fighting for conservative West Virginia values and against the harmful liberal agenda of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton,” Bossie added. “Attorney General Morrisey was there to take on executive overreach at the Obama Environmental Protection Agency for the coal miners and he’s been there to support President Trump’s agenda taking on sanctuary cities and pushing for much needed tax reform. I look forward to working with Patrick Morrisey to enact President Trump’s conservative agenda when he gets to the Senate. I urge all Republican primary voters in West Virginia to support conservative outsider Patrick Morrisey for the United States Senate.”
Morrisey is emerging as a key conservative insurgent in West Virginia, while McConnell and his allies are pushing Jenkins—a former Democrat who once backed failed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for president back in 2008. The battle has become one of the flash points in the intra-GOP war.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is eying Rep. Evan Jenkins as his preferred choice to run against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia in 2018,” David Drucker of the Washington Examiner, one of the GOP establishment’s favorite scribes, wrote back in January.
Jenkins has used his official House office to praise McConnell, too, saying in a statement on his House website when he helped roll out a bipartisan bill for the coal industry that he “commend[s]” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) and “Senate Leader McConnell” among others “for their passion for helping Appalachia and their commitment to getting our economy moving again.”
Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has detailed previously, too, that the establishment in Washington like McConnell is aiming to push Jenkins while conservatives are aligning behind Morrisey in West Virginia.
“Conservatives like the attorney general, Patrick Morrisey. The establishment likes the congressman, Evan Jenkins,” Roth told The Hill newspaper.
This race could set up another major flashpoint in the same vein as what just happened down in Alabama, where McConnell and his forces wasted dozens of millions of dollars backing failed soon-to-be-former Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) over conservative Judge Roy Moore. Moore won a primary runoff against Strange, despite the significant perhaps 30 to 1 cash disadvantage and backing of Strange by President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, earlier this week. Interestingly, however, despite Trump’s and Pence’s personal endorsements of Strange, most of their supporters aligned behind Moore.
Now that Bossie, Trump’s ex-Deputy Campaign Manager from his successful 2016 campaign, is aligning behind Morrisey, the same type of dynamic is emerging in West Virginia. More of the president’s supporters are expected to line up behind Morrisey, and after what happened in Alabama when they waded into that primary it is very unlikely that Trump or Pence will do anything for any of McConnell’s candidates again. That leaves the door open for another upset against the establishment, this time in a state with an incumbent Democratic Senator in Joe Manchin who has proven in recent years to be particularly tough to beat.
Manchin has, despite his state’s deep red-ward shift in recent years, somehow maintained a grip on his seat—and is expected to be one of the toughest Democrats to beat in 2018. If McConnell and his allies waste a whole ton of money on Jenkins like they did on Strange, it stands to reason they will only help Manchin in the end by weakening the GOP and allowing the reputation of a stalwart conservative—Morrisey—who may become the nominee to be tarnished.
This development comes as more of McConnell’s allies already in the Senate—Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) chief among them—find themselves in dire positions heading into the midterm elections. On Tuesday, McConnell did not just lose Strange either: Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) announced hours before Strange’s embarrassing election loss in Alabama that he would not seek re-election in Tennessee.