West Virginia voters must pick from GOP candidates who still dispute 2020 outcome

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When West Virginia Republicans vote in Tuesday’s major, they may have a tough time discovering a significant candidate on the poll in any statewide race who brazenly acknowledges that President Joe Biden received the 2020 election.

Embracing or skirting the road on election denialism has turn out to be an unstated checkoff amongst Republicans working for governor and Congress in one of many states most loyal to former President Donald Trump.

What is spoken — virtually continuously — is reward for the get together’s presumptive White House nominee from a slate of candidates that features a convicted Jan. 6 insurrectionist in addition to the sons of two GOP members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation.

West Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidates participating in a debate in Daniels, West Virginia on Feb. 6, 2024.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (far proper) and different Republican gubernatorial candidates collaborating in a debate in Daniels, West Virginia on Feb. 6, 2024. Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald by way of AP, File

Glenn Elliott, who is looking for the Democratic nomination for an open Senate seat, stated denying the election outcome was a “purity test” for West Virginia Republicans.

“You’re either with the leader of the party on everything, or you’re kicked out. You’re not a Republican anymore, you’re a ‘RINO,’” he stated, utilizing the acronym for “Republicans In Name Only.” “That’s not a party — that’s a cult.”

It’s in regards to the worst factor you possibly can name a Republican candidate in West Virginia.

In the crowded governor’s race, Secretary of State Mac Warner has stated he “firmly” believes, like Trump, that the election was stolen, although dozens of courts and audits have decided the race was pretty determined in Biden’s favor.

Warner, whose workplace oversees West Virginia’s elections, has stated tech firms, the media and federal intelligence officers labored collectively to cowl up incriminating data discovered on the laptop computer of Biden’s son Hunter.

Secretary of State Mac Warner said he "firmly" believes that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.
Secretary of State Mac Warner stated he “firmly” believes that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. AP Photo/Jeff Dean, File

Warner’s statements got here a number of months after saying his marketing campaign after years of toeing the road on the 2020 election. The Army veteran stated his views don’t have anything to do with working for workplace.

“Donald Trump won West Virginia in a landslide,” former state lawmaker Moore Capito, one other candidate for governor, stated in response to a query from The Associated Press. “And I just wish that the rest of the country would run our elections like we do here in the state of West Virginia.”

Other candidates hedge or don’t reply straight.

Morrisey has claimed that there were “significant irregularities" in the 2020 election.
Morrisey has claimed that there have been “vital irregularities” within the 2020 election. AP Photo/Jeff Dean, File

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has refused to provide a yes or no answer to questions about whether Biden won the 2020 race but has asserted that there were “huge irregularities,” “significant irregularities,” and “very, very severe issues” relating to that vote.

Businessman Chris Miller, also a candidate for governor and the son of US Rep. Carol Miller, said people do not trust mail-in ballots. He did not say whether he thought Biden was the legitimate winner.

“If you are voting in-person and see your vote cast, that’s one thing,” he said. With mail-in ballots, he added, “You can’t see it. You don’t know what’s happened, and that’s the danger.”

Former state Rep. Derrick Evans spent three months in prison for participating in the Capitol riot.
Former state Rep. Derrick Evans spent three months in jail for collaborating within the Capitol riot. Will Price/West Virginia Legislative Photography via AP, File

Derrick Evans, a former state lawmaker who spent three months in prison for participating in the riot at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has escalated his verbal attacks against his primary rival.

He calls Carol Miller a “commie RINO” who “refused to stand and fight with President Trump,” as well as an “undocumented Democrat.”

Never mind that Miller was aligned with Trump in almost 100% of her House votes while he was in office.

Evans, in an interview, said he believes his willingness to stand by Trump and say the election was stolen will carry him to victory — even though Miller, hours after Evans and other rioters had stormed the Capitol, voted to challenge the Electoral College results in two states Biden won.

She said in a statement at the time that she had a constitutional duty to “ensure that all Americans have access to free, fair, and accurate elections.”

Evans has called Rep. Carol Miller a "commie RINO."
Evans has known as Rep. Carol Miller a “commie RINO.” AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

Evans is undeterred, claiming his role in the violent attack on the Capitol as a badge of honor.

“I think when the people learn I’m the only elected legislator in the entire country who had the courage to stand up against the stolen election and had the courage to stand up beside of President Trump on Jan. 6,” he said, “I think that that makes them realize very seriously that I am the guy to represent this district on a national stage.”

In an email to the AP, Carol Miller did not directly address the 2020 result. But she said she is the only candidate in the race who “has never been a registered Democrat or run for office as a Democrat.”

In the West Virginia governor’s race, all four major candidates are in lockstep on supporting the state’s coal industry, imposing stiffer penalties for fentanyl dealers and the importance of economic development.

Morrisey, the fundraising front-runner, tossed the “RINO” label at Capito, who is regarded as his main competitor.

Morrissey cited a February 2024 social media post from Donald Trump Jr. criticizing a vote by Capito’s mother, Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, to send aid to Ukraine.

“She’s not up for reelection this year, but her RINO son is running for Governor of West Virginia,” Trump Jr. said. “MAGA – Send a message to the Ukraine First RINOs & OPPOSE,” he said, referring to Donald Trump’s “Make American Great Again” movement.

Morrisey, in an interview, connected the dots.

“I think the choice is very clear: You have a conservative fighter with a record of getting big things done, and you have members of political royalty, part of the liberal establishment,” Morrisey said.

Moore Capito has since taken every opportunity to make sure voters know where his loyalty lies. In a Republican gubernatorial forum hosted by television station WSAZ, candidates were asked what they could do to help people on fixed incomes struggling to pay their bills amid frequent utility rate increases.

“That’s why it’s incredibly important that we elect Donald Trump as president,” Capito said, after condemning a recently released Biden administration rule that would force coal-fired power plants to capture their emissions or shut down.

Gov. Jim Justice has been endorsed by Trump in his Senate race.
Gov. Jim Justice has been endorsed by Trump in his Senate race. AP

Ironically, Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who is working for the Senate seat held by retiring Democrat Joe Manchin, is the one candidate to garner the coveted Trump endorsement in any major race. And Justice has disagreed with Trump greater than most candidates.

For instance, the governor supported the bipartisan infrastructure act that poured thousands and thousands of {dollars} into the state to construct out broadband and roads.

Alex Mooney, a congressman working in opposition to Justice within the major, has known as Justice a “RINO” at each alternative.

Justice, a former billionaire businessman with a folksy persona that has received him a faithful following, was initially elected as a Democrat in 2017 earlier than turning into a Republican at a Trump rally early in his time period. Mooney voted in opposition to the infrastructure invoice.

Mooney has stated he acknowledges Biden as president however feels the 2020 election was not a good one. He voted to not certify Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.

Justice, requested throughout a information briefing this previous week whether or not he thinks Biden received legitimately, took a defiant tone at the same time as he hedged: “What does it matter? I mean, what in the world does it matter?”

The governor then spun a narrative he has informed usually about one thing his father informed him when he was competing in golf tournaments as a younger man.

“Dad would tell me, ‘Son, the only shot that matters in golf is the next shot. If you made a hole in one as your last shot, well, so what?”

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