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Sen. Weld announces run for W.Va. AG

State Sen. Ryan Weld has announced his candidacy for attorney general, joining an already-active 2024 election field.

Weld, a Republican from Brooke County, has served in the state Senate since 2016 and was in the House of Delegates for a term prior to that. He has been the Senate majority whip and assistant Judiciary Committee chairman.

He made his announcement for attorney general, state government’s top lawyer, Monday afternoon at Wheeling’s Independence Hall.

“Over the past couple of years and months, as I’ve traveled around the state to talk to folks from Bluefield to Martinsburg, all the way up to Chester, getting to know people around the state and hear their concerns, I’ve had a desire to do more and try to help more – and really a drive to help this state that has given so much to me over the past few years,” Weld said in a telephone interview.

The Attorney General’s Office represents an open seat in 2024 after last week’s announcement by Patrick Morrisey, who has held the office since 2013, that he intends to run for governor.

Competition for West Virginia’s top political offices is already intense.

Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, is up against a term limit and is considering a run for U.S. Senate.

Morrisey, Auditor J.B. McCuskey and Secretary of State Mac Warner, all Republicans, have announced runs for governor, vacating those offices at the end of the current term. Treasurer Riley Moore, another Republican, is running for Congress.

Delegate Caleb Hanna. R-Nicholas, announced a run for auditor, and Delegate Chris Pritt, R-Kanawha, is running for secretary of state.

Another Republican senator, Mike Stuart of Kanawha County, said he’ll make an announcement soon and strongly hinted that he’ll run for attorney general.

“With radical liberals running Washington, it’s more important than ever that West Virginia has an attorney general who is a real conservative who is consistent with the values of most West Virginians and who is fully prepared on Day 1 to fight back,” Stuart, a former U.S. Attorney, stated in a release last week.

The Attorney General’s Office provides legal opinions and represents agencies of state government in court. The Attorney General’s Office also sometimes sues on behalf of the state.

Weld is an attorney with the Spilman, Thomas & Battle law firm and previously worked as an assistant prosecutor in Brooke County. He served as an Air Force intelligence officer in Afghanistan.

In the Legislature, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce gave Weld a 100% on its most recent scorecard.

“One of the biggest priorities the Attorney General’s Office has is to defend and fight for West Virginia in the courts system, whether that be defending lawsuits against laws passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor or to sue on behalf of the state, fight back against Washington, D.C.,” Weld said.

“That’s obviously what a lot of the cases are aimed against — fighting back against D.C. overreach, excessive federal regulation on the employers and the industries that employ a significant number of West Virginians. So, I think that my record and my experience as an officer in the Air Force, a prosecuting attorney in Brooke County and as part of the leadership team in the Senate has all kind of uniquely prepared me to fill that role.”