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Darrell V. McGraw, Jr.

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Darrell V. McGraw, Jr.
Darrell McGraw.jpg
Attorney General of West Virginia
Former officeholder
In office
1993 - 2013
Base salary$95,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected1992
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
High schoolPineville High School
Bachelor'sWest Virginia University
Master'sWest Virginia University
J.D.West Virginia University
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Date of birthNovember 8, 1936
Place of birthMcGraws, WV
Office website
(dead link) Campaign website
The information about this individual is current as of when his or her last campaign ended. See anything that needs updating? Send a correction to our editors
Darrell Vivian McGraw, Jr. (born November 8, 1936, in McGraws-Tipple, West Virginia) was a Democratic Attorney General of West Virginia, having served five consecutive term in office. He is the brother of former State Supreme Court Justice and State Senate President, Warren McGraw. McGraw was defeated in his bid for re-election to a sixth term as attorney general in the 2012 election.

McGraw was succeeded by Patrick Morrisey (R), who unseated him in the general election on November 6, 2012.


McGraw was raised in a rural coal mining town in West Virginia by his schoolteacher parents. At 17 years old, he enlisted in the Army, and was soon thereafter sent off to Germany. He originally enlisted with the purpose of using the G.I. Bill to further his education, and upon returning from his service overseas, McGraw attended West Virginia University, where he became Student Body President as a senior. McGraw planted himself at WVU for the remainder of his studies, eventually receiving his B.A., M.A. and J.D. from the university.[1]

The long-time public servant is a member of the Knight of the Golden Horseshoe as well as the Rotary Club.[1]


  • Pineville High School
  • Bachelor's degree, West Virginia University
  • Master degree, West Virginia University
  • J.D., West Virginia University

Political career

Prior to acting in an official capacity within West Virginian politics, McGraw took a behind the scenes role, serving as counsel to Hulett C. Smith, who served as governor from 1965 to 1969, along with the West Virginia Legislature. He was elected in 1984 to a four-year term as Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals; he was subsequently re-elected to the position in 1988. It was during his tenure that McGraw upheld the state Freedom of Information Act, ordering that any exemptions that were to be granted related to this legislation were to be extremely limited.

Attorney General of West Virginia (1993-2013)

In 1992, he was elected to his present public office of Attorney General for the state of West Virginia. In this role he has overseen many high profile prosecutions, among them the 1998 multi-billion dollar State Tobacco Settlement, which, as a direct result, saved the state $2.5 billion.

A report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute named him the fifth worst state Attorney General.[2]

Mortgage Settlement

In his capacity as attorney general, McGraw presided over West Virginia's participation in the $26 billion mortgage settlement between 49 states and five major lending institutions guilty of abusive loan and foreclosure practices. Overseeing the state's consumer protection division is also in his capacity as attorney general, McGraw decided to direct part of the nearly $34 million from the settlement intended for victims of the housing crisis to opening up a satellite office for the Consumer Protection Division in Martinsburg, in the Eastern Panhandle, where most of the settlement's beneficiaries reside. The Division, which also has offices in Charleston, hopes to retain its satellite presence in the Eastern Panhandle permanently. As of McGraw's May 2012 announcement of the division's expansion to include the new office, he said there was enough funding set aside to keep it open for the next 3 years.[3]

Byrd senate seat

In the wake of the death of Robert C. Byrd, long-time Democratic member of the United States Senate and controversial political figure, both on and off Capitol Hill, the fate of his vacant seat had been left in limbo for over a week. Byrd, who had for a number of years been in frail health, passed away in the early morning hours of Monday, June 28, 2010.[4] At the time of his death, the late-senator had about thirty months left in his term, which was set to expire on January 3, 2013. Under state law, Governor Joe Manchin is given the authority to name an "interim successor until an election can be held;" had Byrd died after Saturday, July 3, 2010, he would have been able to have appointed someone to serve the entire balance of the unexpired term.[5]

But even in this regard, there are issues of concern among political scholars, such as when a vacancy can actually be declared. The biggest area of contention, however, is over when a special election can be called.[6] According to the West Virginia Code of Appointments §3-10-4, "“If the unexpired term of any office is for a longer period than [30 months], the appointment is until a successor to the office has timely filed a certificate of candidacy, has been nominated at the primary election next following such timely filing and has thereafter been elected and qualified to fill the unexpired term.”[7] The state held its primary in May for the 2010 election cycle and won't hold another for two years.

On Thursday, July 8, 2010, State Attorney General McGraw delivered his highly-anticipated opinion on the matter, directly on the heels of Democratic Governor Joe Manchin's request for legal advice regarding the volatile issue.[8] He announced that a special election was required in order to appropriately fill the unexpired term of the late-senator. The state's top law enforcer added further that both "a primary and a general election must occur, though he leaves it up to Gov. Joe Manchin as to when to hold the primary election."[9] The next day, "Jonathan Deem, Legal Counsel for West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, [called] for a special session of the West Virginia Legislature to fix the state’s elections laws."[10]

The legal opinion was an unequivocal rebuke of Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's declaration last week insisting that "state election law does not allow the state to hold an election to fill Byrd's seat until Election Day on Nov. 6, 2012," though it does authorize the governor to appoint a successor until that time.[11]


CEI rating

In an analysis of state attorneys general published in July 2010, McGraw was named "The Nation's Fifth Worst Attorney General" by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. Basing their criteria on ethical breaches/selective application of the law, fabricating law, usurping legislative power, and predatory practices, the West Virginia Attorney General, who at the time of the publication faced re-election in 2012, received a letter grade of F in the last three categories; he narrowly missed acquiring the failing mark in the initial grouping, receiving a letter grade of D- instead. The CEI sharply accused McGraw of not only of violating "the most basic duty of his office" to defend the state in court, but of also regularly diverting "money recovered by the state from legal settlements to friends and allies, endangering West Virginia’s Medicaid funding in the process."[12][13]


In June 2007, the political oversight advocacy group, West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WVCALA), published a report in which they detailed a long line of questionable behavior conducted by Darrell McGraw. Among the charges leveled at the West Virginia Attorney General was the claim he used his office to enrich top financial contributors to his election campaigns.

In the 1994 lawsuit filed against seventeen tobacco companies seeking restitution for costs to the state as a result of smoking-related illnesses and deaths, McGraw, rather then handle the high-profile prosecution himself, farmed it out to personal injury law firms serving as assistants to the Attorney General's Office. Not surprisingly, all of the outside counsel but one have contributed to Darrell McGraw’s election campaigns. These firms were paid $33.5 million for their services.

Additionally, between 2004 and 2007, McGraw's office "hired private attorneys to serve as Special Assistant AGs more than 25 times."[14] These selections, chosen mainly behind closed doors with no bidding required, included the law firms of DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero (who contributed $42,000 to McGraw's campaign), Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler ($19,000), and Frankovitch, Anetakis, Colantonio & Simon ($12,000), among others.

Use of public resources

WVCALA pointed out further that in the midst of his 2004 re-election campaign, McGraw's office "spent nearly $1 million on television advertisements that appeared to be designed to build public recognition of the McGraw name."[14] What made this so odd was that in the previous four years, no more than half of that amount had ever been spent by the Attorney General on television ads. Adding to the intrigue was in the commercials McGraw took the nickname "Judge" at the same time his brother, Warren, was campaigning for judicial office.

Furthermore, a former Attorney General employee testified under oath that he was informed of a "plan which was already in place to raise more than $1,000,000 through the Attorney General’s Office lawsuit settlements that were to be used to run television spots featuring Darrell during his election year to benefit both Darrell and [Supreme Court Justice] Warren [McGraw].”[14]



See also: West Virginia attorney general election, 2012

McGraw ran unsuccessfully for election in 2012. He was unopposed in the Democratic primary, but was defeated by attorney Patrick Morrisey in the general election on November 6th.[15][16]

Attorney General of West Virginia General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Darrell McGraw Incumbent 48.8% 267,135
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngPatrick Morrisey 51.2% 280,695
Total Votes 547,830
Election Results West Virginia Secretary of State Election Results Center.


  • Darrell V. McGraw, Jr. ran unopposed in this contest
West Virginia Attorney General, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngDarrell V. McGraw, Jr. 50.4% 342,011
     Republican Daniel W. Greear 49.6% 336,699
Total Votes 678,710
Election Results via West Virginia Secretary of State


  • Darrell V. McGraw, Jr. ran unopposed in this contest
West Virginia Attorney General, 2004
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngDarrell V. McGraw, Jr. Incumbent 50.4% 359,491
     Republican Hiram Lewis, IV 49.6% 353,473
Total Votes 712,964
Election Results via West Virginia Secretary of State


  • 2000 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary and General Election[19][20]
    • Darrell V. McGraw, Jr. ran unopposed in both contests

On November 7, 2000, Darrell V. McGraw, Jr. won re-election to the office of West Virginia Attorney General. He ran unopposed in the general election.

West Virginia Attorney General, 2000
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngDarrell V. McGraw, Jr. Incumbent 100% 465,047
Total Votes 465,047
Election Results Via: West Virginia Secretary of State

Campaign contributions


McGraw lost the election to the position of West Virginia Attorney General in 2012. During that election cycle, McGraw raised a total of $234,107.


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Darrel McGraw, Jr.'s donors each year.[21] Click [show] for more information.



McGraw v. Morrisey for Attorney General
Poll Darrell McGraw Patrick MorriseyUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Charleston Daily Mail by R.L. Repass & Partners
(August 22-25, 2012)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.


McGraw currently resides in Charleston, West Virginia with his wife, Jorea Marple, the current West Virginia Superintendent of Schools. The couple has four children and one grandson.


Office contact

West Virginia State Capitol Building 1, Room 26-E
Charleston, WV 25305

Toll Free Tel:1-800-368-8808

Campaign contact

Friends of Darrel McGraw
P.O. Box 3715
Charleston, WV 25337-3715

E-mail: re-elect@darrelmcgraw.com

Recent News

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All stories may not be relevant to this candidate due to the nature of the search engine.

Darrell McGraw News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 West Virginia Attorney General, "Biography-Darrell McGraw," accessed April 20, 2012
  2. "Attorney General Darrell McGraw Named Fifth Worst State AG by Competitive Enterprise Institute," Watchdog.org, July 12, 2010
  3. The Sunday Gazette Mail, "State attorney general to open satellite office," May 11, 2012
  4. Yahoo! News, "West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd dead at 92" 28 June, 2010 (dead link)
  5. Politico, "West Virginia law murky on Robert Byrd succession" 29 June, 2010
  6. West Virginia Watchdog, "Effort to Appoint Byrd Replacement Turning Into Game of Clue" 28 June, 2010
  7. West Virginia Secretary of State - West Virginia Code of Appointments (dead link)
  8. The Journal, "Governor may run for Byrd seat" 8 July, 2010
  9. West Virginia Watchdog, "BREAKING: McGraw Calls for Special Election to Fill Sen. Robert Byrd’s Vacant Seat" 8 July, 2010
  10. West Virginia Watchdog, "BREAKING: Manchin Legal Counsel Jonathan Deem Calls for Special Session to Fix Election Law" 9 July, 2010
  11. The Charleston Gazette, "McGraw ready to give opinion on Byrd successor -- if asked" 5 July, 2010
  12. West Virginia Watchdog, "Attorney General Darrell McGraw Named Fifth Worst State AG by Competitive Enterprise Institute" 12 July, 2010
  13. Competitive Enterprise Institute, "Issue Analysis: The Nation’s Top Ten Worst State Attorneys General" 12 July, 2010
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, "Special Report: Flouting Laws You Are Charged To Protect: A Critical Look at Fourteen Years in the Office of Attorney General Darrell McGraw" June 2007
  15. The State Journal, "McGraw announces plans for 6th term," June 29, 2011
  16. West Virginia Secretary of State, "Election Results" accessed November 6, 2012
  17. West Virginia Secretary of State - 2008 Democratic Primary Election Results
  18. West Virginia Secretary of State - 2004 Democratic Primary Election Results (dead link)
  19. West Virginia Secretary of State - 2000 Democratic Primary Election Results (dead link)
  20. West Virginia Secretary of State - 2000 General Election Results (dead link)
  21. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Attorney General of West Virginia
1993 - 2013
Succeeded by
Patrick Morrisey (R)