Outside spending in W.Va. elections nears $20 million

Outside groups reported spending $4.7 million dollars in the two weeks prior to the election, with total spending reaching $19.8 million so far this election cycle.[i]

The top spending groups this election cycle are:[ii]

  • Mountaineers Always Free PAC, formed by the Republican Attorney Generals Association (RAGA) to help Patrick Morrisey (R) retain his position as West Virginia’s Attorney General. The group, which has received much of its funding from coal and electricity companies, has spent $6.8 million supporting Morrisey and attacking his opponent, Delegate Doug Reynolds (D-Cabell).[iii],[iv],[v]
  • The Republican Governors Association (RGA), through its Right Direction PAC, has spent nearly $3.7 million to help Senate President Bill Cole (R-Mercer) in his race against Democrat Jim Justice. According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), the RAGA, the RSLC, and the RGA have several major donors in common.[vi],[vii]
  • West Virginia Family Values, a super PAC funded by labor unions and trial attorneys, has spent $2.7 million in several state Senate races, primarily in support of Democrats and against Republicans.[viii]
  • The Republican State Leadership Committee’s Judicial Fairness Initiative spent $2.6 million supporting Beth Walker, the winner of the May Supreme Court race, and attacking two of her opponents, Darrell McGraw and Bill Wooton. The RSLC’s top donors include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s two largest tobacco companies, Wal-Mart, and Koch Industries.[ix]
  • Good Jobs West Virginia has spent $1.3 in the Governor’s race attacking Bill Cole. The group’s top donors are the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and Jobs and Opportunity, a federal PAC funded primarily by the DGA.[x] The DGA’s top donors include Blue Cross/Blue Shield and several major pharmaceutical companies, according to CRP.[xi]

This year’s outside spending by race breaks down as follows:

  • Attorney General – $7,056,716
  • Governor – $5,534,089
  • Supreme Court – $3,644,315

Third party organizations also spent $3.3 million in various state Senate races (See table below for spending totals and race ranking). Pro-business groups such as Grow WV and the West Virginia Right to Work Committee spent to-date undisclosed amounts to support Republican candidates.[xii],[xiii]

District Candidate Against For Candidate Total Race Total
4 Brian Prim $68,510 $682,203 $750,713 $1,024,627
Mitch B. Carmichael $234,667 $31,022 $265,690
Dustin Lewis $7,577 $648 $8,225
11 Gregory L. Boso $152,891 $29,132 $182,023 $308,105
Denise Lynne Campbell $20,251 $105,831 $126,082
14 Bob Williams $28,654 $124,944 $153,597 $303,927
Randy E. Smith $137,531 $12,799 $150,330
1 Jack Yost $31,203 $122,623 $153,825 $288,820
Ryan W. Weld $98,733 $36,262 $134,995
8 Glenn D. Jeffries $28,106 $125,706 $153,812 $268,529
Chris Wesley Walters $91,654 $23,063 $114,717
16 Stephen G. Skinner $12,658 $147,533 $160,190 $265,562
Patricia Puertas Rucker $81,425 $23,947 $105,372
2 Lisa Zukoff $38,322 $107,540 $145,862 $209,046
Mike Maroney $50,390 $12,794 $63,184
6 Robert Rocky Seay $30,436 $92,183 $122,619 $196,030
Chandler Swope $63,035 $10,376 $73,411
9 D. Michael Goode $19,208 $87,232 $106,440 $179,571
Sue Cline $40,259 $32,871 $73,130
3 Gregory K Smith $778 $105,803 $106,581 $168,821
Mike Azinger $58,471 $3,769 $62,240
10 David G. Perry $30,369 $79,945 $110,314 $163,830
Kenny Mann $42,001 $11,514 $53,515
17 Christopher A. Stansbury $1,550 $1,550 $2,385
Corey Lee Palumbo $835 $835
7 Arthur E. Kirkendoll $900 $900 $900
5 Robert Plymale $778 $778 $778
13 Barry H. Bledsoe $72 $72 $144
Roman W. Prezioso, Jr. $71 $71
Total Spending $1,368,812 $2,012,262   $3,381,073

[i] https://cfrs.wvsos.com/#/ieec_list/8

[ii] https://cfrs.wvsos.com/#/ieec_list/8

[iii] http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-politics/20160923/national-gop-group-spends-big-on-morrisey-re-election#sthash.l3yOgyL3.dpuf

[iv] https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/conservative-groups-pour-money-into-races-for-state-attorneys-general/2016/09/23/7a57030c-7e86-11e6-8d13-d7c704ef9fd9_story.html

[v] http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-election/20161024/gop-group-has-spent-5m-on-morriseys-ag-campaign

[vi] https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?ein=113655877

[vii] https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?ein=464501717&cycle=2016

[viii] http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-politics/20161031/big-money-from-all-over-pours-into-wv-legislative-campaigns

[ix] https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?ein=050532524&cycle=2016

[x] http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg?_201610149032491837+0

[xi] https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?ein=521304889&cycle=2016

[xii] http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-election/20161108/chris-walters-loses-senate-re-election-palumbo-victorious

[xiii] http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-politics/20161030/anti-union-group-not-reporting-political-activity-in-wv

Sep 14 2017 Newsletter article
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Julie Archer

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