MILTON, W.Va. — Republican Attorney General candidate Patrick Morrisey’s campaign says incumbent Darrell McGraw attacked one of its staffers Saturday.
The incident occurred in Milton at the city’s annual Pumpkin Festival Parade. The Morrisey campaign also released a video of the incident that involved McGraw and 24-year-old Morrisey staffer Justin Lafferty from Logan.
“The incident occurred at 10:40 a.m. while Lafferty was filming McGraw as he spoke to voters,” a press release from Morrisey’s campaign said. “As Lafferty filmed, McGraw quickly reached out, ripped the camera from Justin’s hand, turning off the power in the process and tearing the strap holding the camera.”
Morrisey campaign manager Scott Will said Saturday afternoon that Lafferty filmed from a comfortable distance and that he did not engage McGraw verbally. Lafferty was only within arms length because McGraw approached him, the release said.
According to Will, both the McGraw and Morrisey campaigns have filmed their opponents in public settings. And he said Morrisey has said that his campaign will continue to film McGraw until the incumbent agrees to public debates.
“Given McGraw’s unwillingness to debate, we want to ensure that the public fully appreciates the incumbent’s inability to answer questions without pre-scripted responses written by staff,” Will said Saturday. “Sadly, Darrell McGraw is proving that he too will have his own ‘Scream at Racine’ moment.”
He refers a 2004 speech given by McGraw’s brother Warren, who was then running for re-election to the state Supreme Court. Warren McGraw gave a speech in Racine at a United Mine Workers Labor Day rally that many credit with aiding in his defeat to Brent Benjamin.
“What Attorney General McGraw did today was way out of bounds and shows that he’s become unhinged,” Will said. “Voters have a right to see their candidates participate in public debates, mainly because it allows them to engage in a discussion on ideas and experience.”
Will also said debates give voters “a chance to view each candidate’s temperament.”
McGraw has refused every public debate and now we know why,” Will said. “He no longer possesses the judgment, maturity or restraint to serve as our state’s chief law enforcement officer.”
In the video, McGraw also is shown talking to Republican House of Delegates candidate Joyce Holland about President Obama before walking away from her and stating, “That poor woman is so deceitful.”
He also accuses Holland of talking to him solely to get him filmed by Lafferty.
“He’s not welcome to use my physiognomy in this,” McGraw said, referring to Lafferty’s video. He then walks toward state Treasurer John Perdue and Agriculture Commissioner candidate Walk Helmick. McGraw then accuses Lafferty of being a stalker before the video abruptly ends.
Calls to McGraw’s campaign have not been returned.
To watch the video, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxnqWHkHa50&feature=youtu.be
For more state legal news, visit www.wvrecord.com