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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — When West Virginia Republicans vote in Tuesday’s primaries, they will be hard-pressed to find a major candidate on the ballot in any statewide race that openly recognizes that the President Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

Toeing or skirting the line of election denial has become an unspoken ordeal among Republicans running for governor and Congress in one of the states most loyal to the former president. Donald Trump. What is being said — almost constantly — is praise for the party’s presumptive White House nominee among a list of candidates that includes an insurrectionist convicted on Jan. 6 as well as the sons of two GOP members of the Democratic delegation. West Virginia Congress.

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

“Either you side with the party leader on everything or you’re kicked out. You are no longer a Republican, you are a ‘RINO,’” he said, using the acronym for “Republicans in Name Only.” “It’s not a party, it’s a cult.”

That’s the worst thing you can call a Republican candidate in West Virginia.

In the crowded gubernatorial race, Secretary of State Mac Warner said he “firmly” believes, like Trump, that the election was stolen, even though dozens of courts and audits have determined that the race was fairly decided in Biden’s favor.

Warner, whose office oversees elections in West Virginia, said technology companies, media outlets and federal intelligence officials worked together to cover up incriminating information found on the laptop of Biden’s son Hunter. Warner’s statements come months after announcing his campaign after years of toeing the line in the 2020 election. The Army veteran said his views had nothing to do with running for office.

“Donald Trump won West Virginia in a landslide,” former state lawmaker Moore Capito, another gubernatorial candidate, said in response to a question from The Associated Press. “And I just wish the rest of the country would run our elections like we do here in the state of West Virginia.” »

Other candidates hide or do not respond directly.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey refused to answer yes or no to questions about whether Biden won the 2020 race, but said there were “huge irregularities,” “significant irregularities” and “very, very serious problems” linked to this vote. .

Businessman Chris Miller, also a gubernatorial candidate and son of the U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, said people don’t trust mail-in ballots. He did not say whether he thought Biden was the rightful winner.

“If you vote 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 happened, and that’s the danger.”

Derrick Evans, a former state lawmaker who spent three months in prison for participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, has stepped up his verbal attacks against his main rival. He calls Carol Miller a “commie RINO” who “refused to stand and fight alongside President Trump,” as well as an “undocumented Democrat.”

Never mind that Miller was aligned with Trump in nearly 100 percent of House votes while he was in office.

Evans, in an interview, said he believed his willingness to stand with Trump and say the election was stolen would lead him to victory — even if Miller, hours after Evans and d he other rioters stormed the Capitol, voted to challenge the Electoral College results. two states that 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 remains undeterred, claiming his role in the violent attack on the Capitol as a badge of honor.

“I think when people learn that I am the only elected legislator in the entire country who had the courage to stand up to the stolen election and who had the courage to stand with President Trump on January 6,” did he declare. I think it makes them realize very seriously that I’m the guy who represents this district on the national stage.

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

In West Virginia’s gubernatorial race, the four major candidates are joining forces to support the state’s coal industry, impose tougher penalties on fentanyl traffickers and emphasize the importance of economic development.

Morrisey, the fundraising favorite, launched the “RINO” label in Capito, which is considered his main competitor. Morrissey cited a February 2024 social media post by Donald Trump Jr. criticizing the vote of Capito’s mother, the Republican senator. Shelley Moore Capiton, to send aid to Ukraine. “She is not up for re-election this year, but her son RINO is running for governor of West Virginia,” Trump Jr. said. “MAGA – Send a message to the first RINOs of Ukraine and OPPOSITE,” a- he declared, referring to “Make American Great Again.”

Morrisey, in an interview, made the connection.

“I think the choice is very clear: You have a conservative fighter who has done great things, and you have political royalty, who are part of the liberal establishment,” Morrisey said.

Moore Capito has since taken every opportunity to make sure voters know where his loyalties lie. At a Republican governors’ forum hosted by WSAZ, candidates were asked what they could do to help people on fixed incomes who are struggling to pay their bills amid frequent price hikes. utility rates.

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

Ironically, Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who is running for the Senate seat held by retiring Democrat Joe Manchin, is the only candidate to get Trump’s coveted support in a primary race. And Justice disagrees with Trump more than most candidates. For example, the governor supported the bipartisan infrastructure law that pumped millions of dollars into the state to build broadband and roads.

Alex Mooney, a congressman who opposed Justice in the primaries, called Justice a “RINO” at every opportunity. Justice, a former billionaire businessman with a popular personality that earned him a devoted following, was initially elected as a Democrat in 2017 before switching to Republican at a Trump rally early in his term. Mooney voted against the infrastructure bill.

Mooney said he recognizes Biden as president, but believes the 2020 election was not fair. He voted not to certify Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.

The judge, who was asked at a press briefing last week whether he thought Biden had won legitimately, struck a defiant tone while hiding: “What does it matter? I mean, what does it matter? »

The governor then recounted a story he often told about something his father told him while competing in golf tournaments as a young man.

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

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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