West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the conservative candidate for U.S. Senate in his state, out-raised his establishment-backed opponent Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) in the third quarter of 2017.
Jenkins, who was handpicked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is a former Democrat who backed Hillary Clinton for president in 2008.
Morrisey, per a press release from his campaign, raised $672,000 during the last quarter, far outperforming the establishment-backed Jenkins. The Morrisey campaign’s announcement stated that the campaign had $548,000 cash on hand at the close of the quarter. The campaign’s release also highlighted that the $672,000 was “more than TRIPLE the $220,000 raised by his primary opponent, Evan Jenkins, in the same reporting period. Jenkins also burned through his entire fundraising haul this quarter – spending $206,000 and netting only $14,000 this quarter.”
The winner between Morrisey and Jenkins will face off in the general election against incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who although he is a Democrat is popular in a state that has veered hard to the right politically in recent years. Morrisey said:
I’m so grateful for the outpouring of support our campaign has received over the past three months. Our conservative message of protecting coal, limiting government, and defending our traditional West Virginia values is resonating across the state and the nation. Sen. Manchin has failed the people of West Virginia by siding with Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer one too many times, and voters are clearly hungry for a conservative senator who represents their values.
This race between Morrisey and Jenkins is shaping up to be yet another major battle between the GOP establishment and the mainstream of the Republican Party in the conservative wing. The establishment in Washington, as evidenced by McConnell’s efforts to back the financially struggling Jenkins, is pulling hard for Jenkins. Conservatives, meanwhile, are aligning behind Morrisey. Last week, Citizens United Political Victory Fund–which is run by President Donald Trump’s successful general election deputy campaign manager Dave Bossie–endorsed Morrisey over Jenkins in a Breitbart News exclusive, and Breitbart News can confirm more high profile conservative movement endorsements are on the way in the days and weeks ahead. Bossie said:
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. 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.
Jenkins is not only a former Democrat who backed Hillary Clinton. He also backed Manchin, the Democrat whom he is purporting to run against.
A Morning Consult story in June quoted Lenny Alcivar from 35th PAC as calling Jenkins a “Joe Manchin ‘mini-me,'” and went further:
Alcivar’s group is positioning itself to support a Morrisey bid and oppose Jenkins.
The group has already pointed out Jenkins’ past financial support for Manchin and his support for tax increases while he was in the West Virginia state legislature, where he served as a Democrat. Alcivar said Jenkins is just “angry because Republicans know” Morrisey is in the “strongest possible position to take on Sen. Manchin, and will have the necessary resources in West Virginia and on the national level to compete and win.”
The website from 35th PAC notes that both Jenkins and Manchin backed cap and trade, which hurts coal jobs in West Virginia.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana