Ahead of the May 8 Republican primary to select a challenger to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., conservatives are coalescing behind state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's candidacy. There are six Republican candidates running for the Republican nomination to challenge Manchin, who is widely seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in the 2018 midterms.
Morrisey's candidacy is backed by several prominent conservative groups, including the Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks PAC. He also received the endorsements of stalwart conservative Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Ky. On Monday, Morrisey was endorsed by National Review, which called him a "rock-solid, independent-minded conservative who would be a valuable addition to the right flank of the Republican caucus."
Morrisey, 50, has served as West Virginia's attorney general since 2012, the first Republican to serve in that office since 1933. As attorney general, Morrisey confronted the Obama administration on several issues, successfully suing Obama's Environmental Protection Agency to stop the "Clean Power Plan" which went beyond the EPA's statutory authority in an attempt to regulate greenhouse gases. Morrisey also joined nine other states in suing the Obama administration to end the unconstitutional DACA amnesty granted via executive fiat without consent from Congress.
In his campaign for Senate, Morrisey has made the ongoing opioid crisis central to his platform, touting his efforts as attorney general to go after pharmaceutical companies and increase education about opioids in his state. He has criticized the federal government for being too loose in approving new opioid pills.
Morrisey is one of three candidates who qualified for the May 1 Republican primary debate hosted by Fox News, along with Rep. Evan Jenkins and businessman Don Blankenship. A recent poll conducted by Fox News found Morrisey's support in second place at 21 percent behind Jenkins, who polled at 25 percent. Blankenship trailed both men with 16 percent.
Tom Willis, Bo Copley, and Jack Newbrough are also running in the primary, but did not poll high enough to qualify for the Fox debate. A large swath of voters, 24 percent of those surveyed, remain undecided about who they will support.
The debate, hosted by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, will air at 6:30 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel.