Senate Dems’ campaign arm to sue W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice, GOP rival to Joe Manchin

Senate Dems' campaign arm to sue W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice, GOP rival to Joe Manchin

Senate Democrats may not always get along with Sen. Joe Manchin III, but the party’s campaign arm is going on offense for the conservative West Virginia Democrat in an attempt to weaken one of his GOP challengers.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said Monday it is preparing to file a lawsuit against West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice for access to his government schedule and calendar that Democrats allege would show a light workload. The Republican governor recently announced his 2024 candidacy for Mr. Manchin’s seat.

“Jim Justice cannot hide his work schedule — or lack thereof — from West Virginians, and this is an area which is sure to receive further scrutiny in his nasty primary,” DSCC spokesperson David Bergstein said.

Justice campaign manager Roman Stauffer chalked up the legal action to Democrats going into “panic mode” to protect a red-state seat that is crucial to maintaining their razor-thin majority.

Mr. Stauffer also suggested that Democrats are seeking to boost West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney in the GOP primary because he would be a weaker general election opponent for Mr. Manchin.

“[Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer and the Democrats have seen the polling that shows Governor Jim Justice winning this race and are in panic mode. They want Alex Mooney as the Republican nominee because they can beat him,” Mr. Stauffer said. “The Democrats see that Governor Justice will be West Virginia’s next U.S. Senator and will likely help Mooney in the Republican Primary Election.”

Lawyers for DSCC, which is Senate Democrats’ campaign and fundraising arm, notified Mr. Justice’s office Monday that they plan to sue to obtain the records over allegations the documents were twice illegally denied as part of a public records request.

In March and again in April, the DSCC requested the official schedules and calendars from January 2017 to present for Mr. Justice, his chief of staff, his deputy chief of staff and his general counsel but says all were denied.
Mr. Justice was not a Senate candidate at the time, but it was publicly known he was exploring a run.

State General Counsel J. Berkeley Bentley denied Democrats’ request in both cases, saying the schedules or calendars “contain both personal and official appointments” and the Freedom of Information Act and prior case law provided grounds for denial.

“As you are no doubt aware, a willful violation of the West Virginia FOIA is a criminal offense,” DSCC counsel Jacquelyn Lopez wrote to Mr. Bentley in a letter.

It is not uncommon for campaign arms for both parties to conduct opposition research and obtain public records to unearth potential weaknesses of political rivals. But the impending lawsuit underscores the desire by Senate Democrats to dig up information on the Republican opponent of one of their most vulnerable members in the chamber.

Mr. Manchin has yet to reveal his future ambitions, refusing to say whether he’ll seek a third term. He has even left the door open on running for president.

But the Democrat is no stranger to winning in ruby-red West Virginia, which Donald Trump carried by nearly 40 points in 2020. Mr. Manchin has held statewide office — as secretary of state, governor and senator — since 2000.

“I am laser-focused on doing the job West Virginians elected me to do — lowering health care costs, protecting Social Security and Medicare, shoring up American energy security and getting our fiscal house in order,” Mr. Manchin said last month. “But make no mistake, I will win any race I enter.”

Soruce :

Leave a comment

SMM Panel PDF Kitap indir