Elections, State Government

State Auditor J.B. McCuskey switches from 2024 GOP race for governor to attorney general

MORGANTOWN — State Auditor J.B. McCuskey has stepped out of the Republican race for governor and joined the race for attorney general.

“I am a strong, principled conservative who will never stop fighting for West Virginian’s [sic] freedom and prosperity,” he said in his Monday announcement. “West Virginia needs a strong conservative fighting for them against the nonsense that is coming out of Washington, D.C., that is negatively affecting our state. Our administration will fight tirelessly against bad policies, just as we have as your state auditor, and we will continue the work Patrick Morrisey has accomplished in during his tenure.”

John McCuskey
J.B. McCuskey

Attorney General Morrisey was among McCuskey’s rivals for the GOP nomination for the November 2024 gubernatorial election.

McCuskey’s rivals for the GOP AG nomination are state Sens. Ryan Weld and Mike Stuart.

In the candidates’ Second Quarter campaign finance reports, McCuskey had ranked fourth in the governor’s race behind Morrisey, automobile dealer Chris Miller and Delegate Moore Capito.

McCuskey had raised $648,233.06 year-to-date and his cash on hand entering the third quarter was $412,082.57.

Weld’s year-to-date fundraising was $112,121.87. His cash on hand was $98,316.67. Stuart had raised $22,528.80 and lent his campaign $50,000; he had $69,435.89 cash on hand.

McCuskey said Monday his priorities include finding conservative solutions for criminal justice reform and working with the Legislature and the next governor “to ensure that all Mountaineers are treated fairly.” His focus will include civil rights, consumer protection, parental rights and school choice.

He also said he will work to preserve West Virginians’ way of life. “As Attorney General that means defending them from out of touch, Washington bureaucrats who will work tirelessly against the best interest of all West Virginians. Specifically, this means continuing Attorney General Morrisey’s fight to protect our energy workers, our farmers, our gun owners, and the First Amendment rights of all mountaineers.”

He also will emphasize government accountability and transparency, he said. “The time is now to analyze our entire state bureaucracy and turn it into an efficient machine that respects taxpayers, produces world-class education, infrastructure, job opportunities and a pathway to a better life for all those who seek it.”

When The Dominion Post interviewed Weld in April about his candidacy, we asked about possible negative campaigning. He cited Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

But he diverged from that path on Monday, in a statement about McCuskey changing races. “I have never shied away from competition or confrontation, and I welcome anyone to this race — because I’m confident that I am the most qualified candidate to be West Virginia’s next attorney general,” he said.

He went on, “It’s clear that J.B. McCuskey is scrambling. After his bid to become governor failed to gain any traction whatsoever, he has abandoned that campaign and jumped into yet another statewide race. It is obvious that McCuskey is doing all he can to remain relevant until he can run for governor again in eight years. The office of attorney general is far too critical for it to be used as a stepping stone for someone’s fledgling political aspirations.”

Stuart also got in some digs, against both his opponents.

“The entry of another moderate in the campaign to be Attorney General is ‘no big deal,'” he said. “I was already running against one moderate. Now I’m simply running against two moderates. I am the only proven conservative. I am the only America First pro-Trump candidate. I am the only candidate with a proven record of support for the Second Amendment.

“If you’ve blocked campus carry like Weld or voted against constitutional carry multiple times like McCuskey [a former delegate], you’re not the right candidate for us and you’re out of step with West Virginia voters. … They don’t support President Trump and never have supported President Trump. Why won’t they say his name?”

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EMAIL dbeard@dominionpost.com