By Ron Gregory
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has “flatly denied” comments made by state AFL-CIO Director Kenny Perdue at the 78th annual UMWA Labor Day Celebration at Racine in Boone County.
A spokeswoman for Morrisey said she was off on vacation when first contacted by a reporter about Perdue’s comments.
“I am getting back to you as quickly as possible,” said Beth Ryan. “I have spoken with the Attorney General. He has no earthly idea what Mr. Perdue is talking about,” said Ryan.
Perdue had said at the UMWA rally that he had “been told” that Morrisey, a Republican, had Shelley Moore Capito T-shirts at an “event in Clarksburg.” Perdue predicted that “voters will retire the Attorney General in two years.”
Ryan added, “Our Consumer Protection Division had a booth at the Italian Festival in Clarksburg. It is our guess that he is alleging we had tee-shirts there.”
Ryan said, “Regardless of where he thinks or has been told it happened, it just didn’t happen. The Attorney General is not going to have partisan political shirts inside a publicly-funded booth.”
Capito, the Second District Congresswoman, is being challenged for U.S. Senate by Democrat Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. The UMWA endorsed Tennant at the Racine event.
“The Attorney General would absolutely not allow anything like that,” said Ryan. She added, “it is, of course, likely that people wearing both Capito and Tennant shirts walked up to our booth in Clarksburg and spoke with staff. But there were no shirts inside the booth and anyone who says there were is just plain wrong.”
The Racine event is traditionally the kick-off to the fall campaign in West Virginia. In past elections, some candidates have fatally doomed their campaigns by making recorded statements that were later used against them. There appeared to be no such slip-ups Monday, however. Tennant and Rahall worked the crowd as they usually do, exchanging pleasantries with well-wishers.