Former New Jersey resident Patrick Morrissey, who in 2000 lost a primary bid for the House of Representatives, found himself a job in politics Tuesday as he unseated a 20-year West Virginia attorney general.
Morrissey, who lost a four-candidate, 7th District Republican primary that included Mike Ferguson and Tom Kean Jr., has reportedly had a house in West Virginia for the past six years. Ferguson won the primary and eventually the seat, replacing Bob Franks, who had retired in order to run for U.S. Senate against Jon Corzine. Kean Jr. came in second and former Assemblyman Joel Weingarten was third.
Ferguson eventually defeated former Fanwood Mayor Maryanne Connelly to win the seat he held until 2008, when he did not run for re-election.
Morrissey narrowly won his West Virginia attorney general bid 51 to 49 over Democrat Darrell McGraw, spending $1.5 million in the process. Throughout the race, he faced accusations that he was a carpetbagger because he was admitted to the West Virginia bar just four days before announcing his bid for AG.
Morrissey and the rest of the 7th District field had leveled similar charges against Ferguson in 2000 after the Republican moved from the 6th District, where he had previously lost to U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, to the 7th in a bid to succeed Franks.