“Rising Republican Star Threatens the Nation’s Most Vulnerable Democratic Senator”

From the National Review:

After years of fights with the Obama administration and the EPA, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is well positioned to take down Senator Joe Manchin in 2018.

In September, some state attorney generals and power companies argued before the D.C. Circuit Court that the act gives the federal government too much power to enforce state laws. A decision in the case is expected within the next few months. But the outlook for the regulation is grim: Even if the court affirms the rule, President Trump has said he intends to repeal it, and his choice to run the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is one of the state AGs who challenged the plan in court. Environmentalists have already begun concluding that, “the rule will be shelved, replaced or rescinded for the near term.”

If and when the Clean Power Plan is cast aside, it will be a major victory for Patrick Morrisey, currently the attorney general of West Virginia, chairman of the Republican Attorney Generals Association, and a strong potential GOP option for 2018, when West Virginia’s Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, faces reelection. A lot of state attorney generals opposed the plan, but it was Morrisey’s office that wrote the brief, and he was eager to lead the charge.

It’s quite possible that Morrisey’s name will be taken in vain around the Manchin family dinner table more often in the coming years. For now, he is noncommittal about any potential 2018 run. But it doesn’t take too much to get him to analyze the difficult spot his potential Democratic foe is in.

“I have respect for Senator Manchin as a politician and a person,” Morrisey says. “He is a very talented politician who has been working hard to shift his positions, to move away from a position of a strong public endorsement of Hillary Clinton, who won less than 27 percent in this state. The national Democratic party’s values do not reflect West Virginia values, and it is an exceedingly difficult challenge to walk that line.”