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In Republican primary races, McCuskey wins attorney general, Warner wins Secretary of State

In World
May 15, 2024

J.B. McCuskey (left) won the Republican nomination for West Virginia attorney general and Kris Warner (right) won the Republican nomination for Secretary of State on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Courtesy photos)

State auditor J.B. McCuskey won the Republican nomination for attorney general Tuesday night over opponent Sen. Mike Stuart, R-Kanawha. 

In November, McCuskey will face Democrat Teresa Toriseva, a Wheeling attorney, who won the Democratic primary over opponent Richie Robb, the former mayor of South Charleston. As of late Tuesday night, with results in from 51 of 55 counties, Toriseva had 53% of the vote, compared to Robb’s 47%.

Reached Tuesday evening, McCuskey attributed his win to positive energy focused on making the lives of everyday West Virginians better. 

“I feel so great about the campaign that we ran,” McCuskey said. “I spent the entire time making sure that I was doing something that would make my kids proud of me.”

He added that he’s thankful for the people who supported him in “every corner of West Virginia,” and proud of his campaign team. 

McCuskey, a Charleston attorney, was first elected state auditor in 2016 and reelected in 2020. Prior to being auditor, McCuskey served two terms in the state House of Delegates. 

McCuskey said current Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has done a “fantastic job defending the will of our Legislature and the will of our people.” 

“I intend to continue to attract world-class talent that is able to go to the Supreme Court, go to the Fourth Circuit and win cases that defend not only what our Legislature does, but what the people of West Virginia want,” McCuskey said. He added that he would “defend West Virginia values and the West Virginia economy to the end of the earth.”

According to campaign finance reports, McCuskey has raised nearly $1.2 million in contributions and spent about $820,000 on the race. Stuart, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, raised the next highest amount, about $113,000, and spent about $102,000.  

In a post on the social media platform X Tuesday night, Stuart congratulated McCuskey on “a great victory.”

“Proud to carry my Senate District but JB did well statewide,” Stuart wrote. “He has my full support and will make a great Attorney General!”

In the Democratic race, Toriseva raised more than $19,000 and spent about $14,000 on the race. Robb raised about $2,300 and spent $1,600. 

The winner in this year’s general election will fill the seat left vacant by current attorney general Patrick Morrisey, who is running for governor. 

Secretary of state

Kris Warner, the head of the state Economic Development Authority and brother to current Secretary of State Mac Warner, is the Republican nominee for Secretary of State. 

Kris Warner won the Republican primary on Tuesday evening with more than 46% of the votes, according to unofficial results from 51 of the state’s 55 counties, beating former Del. Doug Skaff, Putnam County clerk Brian Wood and Ken Reed.

Skaff, the second highest vote getter at nearly 21%, spent about five times as much as Warner on his campaign, according to campaign financing reports. Skaff is president of HD Media, a newspaper chain that includes the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Huntington Herald-Dispatch. As a Democrat, Skaff served as minority leader of the state House of Delegates until last year, when he resigned and switched parties to run for the office. 

According to campaign financing reports, Skaff raised approximately $123,000 for the race and spent more than $444,000. In addition, he loaned himself a total of $350,000 for the campaign. 

Kris Warner brought in more than $110,000 in contributions and spent more than $87,000 on his primary election campaign, according to campaign finance reports. 

Reached by phone Tuesday evening, Kris Warner attributed his win, despite being “severely outspent,” to 35 years of experience with the Republican party, including five years as party chair. 

“It was a matter of reaching back out to old friends and just having ground support across the state that helped us get the message out,” he said. 

If he wins in the general election, Kris Warner said he would like to build on the foundation set by his brother Mac Warner. Working with county clerks across the state, Mac Warner removed 440,000 people from “bloated” voter rolls in the state, but the office can’t rest on its laurels, Kris Warner said. 

“We’re going to continue to have people die, move out of state, be convicted of felonies and we need to be able to build upon that foundation and keep the voter rolls accurate,” Kris Warner said. “Ineligible voters need to be removed from our voting rolls.”

He added that he wants to create an “‘office of entrepreneurship,” to help entrepreneurs, expand businesses and streamline government services.

Kris Warner worked in residential and commercial real estate for 30 years and was appointed by the Trump administration in 2018 to serve as state director for the USDA Rural Development in West Virginia.

 In the general election, Kris Warner will face Democrat Thornton Cooper, a South Charleston attorney and former state employee. Thornton was the lone Democrat running in the primary election. 

State auditor

State Senator Mark Hunt won the Republican nomination for state auditor, beating out House majority leader Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, former state Delegate Caleb Hanna and former Jefferson County Commissioner Tricia Jackson. 

Jackson was one of two Jefferson County Commissioners removed from office earlier this month because they “conspired” to stop the appointment of another county commissioner by refusing to attend meetings and withholding a quorum over a two-month period.

According to unofficial results from 51 of 55 counties late Tuesday, Hunt brought in more than 38% of the vote, compared to Householder’s 26%, Jackson’s 20% and Hanna’s 16%. 

Hunt will face Democrat Mary Claytor in the general election for state auditor. 

According to campaign financing reports, Householder, a Martinsburg business owner, brought in more than $201,000 in campaign contributions, and spent nearly $108,000. 

Hanna, who resigned from the House in January to focus on the auditor’s race, had the second highest amount of contributions, with approximately $117,000. Hunt raised approximately $30,000 and spent about $10,000. 

Claytor, who formerly worked as an auditor in the state auditor’s office, was the lone Democrat in the primary election for the office. In a statement, a representative of Claytor’s campaign said they are “thrilled to share our message of true transparency and proactive action with the people of West Virginia. 

“I am confident that when voters compare us to any of the Republican candidates, they will recognize the stark differences in qualifications and experience,” campaign manager Seth Strum wrote in an email. “My commitment to revolutionizing state auditing with unparalleled integrity, efficiency, and accountability is unmatched.”

State treasurer

Republican Larry Pack, the state’s acting revenue secretary, was the lone candidate in the race for state treasurer. 

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The post In Republican primary races, McCuskey wins attorney general, Warner wins Secretary of State appeared first on West Virginia Watch.

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