West Virginia Delegate Sponaugle running for attorney general

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. (AP) - West Virginia Del. Isaac Sponaugle on Monday announced he is running for attorney general, potentially challenging Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for his spot as the state’s top prosecutor.

Sponaugle, a Democrat who serves as minority whip in the House of Delegates, used his 2020 candidacy launch news conference to fire off criticisms of the GOP incumbent.

First, he took aim at Morrisey’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act as “outrageous.” Then, he said the attorney general’s much-touted cash settlements with opioid makers were too low and “ripped off” residents of the state with the highest overdose death rate in the country.

“I’m disgusted with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey worshiping out of state special interests,” Sponaugle said.

Morrisey, who has been fundraising as an undeclared candidate, quickly returned fire.

“Patrick’s record of achieving results for West Virginia families is second to none. We don’t need a hard core, liberal, anti-Trump, political operator — with no track record of accomplishment— serving in such an important position,” he tweeted in a statement attributed to his campaign.

Sponaugle has drawn national attention for his long-runninglawsuit against Gov. Jim Justice, in which he alleges the governor is violating the state constitution by not living in the capital. Justice, a Republican, has called the lawsuit “a total waste of time.”