This article originally provided by The Register-Herald

June 25, 2006

Weeks, Green spar over gambling money

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald reporter

Mike Green led the league in gambling contributions in West Virginia legislative races for the May primary, prompting Sen. Russ Weeks to question why the industry is spending so much money on the 9th District race.

In response, Green said Friday his campaign donations arrived from a variety of sources and that he wasn’t beholden to any of them.

“I certainly made no promises to any of my contributors,” he said via e-mail.

Weeks pointed to an Associated Press story reporting Green, a businessman and greyhound dog breeder, got more than $8,000 from gambling interests.

That made him the “biggest beneficiary” of gambling donations, the AP said.

“What has my opponent promised the racetracks in return for their contributions?” Weeks asked. “Why are these gaming interests so anxious to elect Mike Green to the state Senate from the 9th District?”

Weeks cited a number of racetrack interests that doled out money to candidates state-wide.

“The fact that my opponent received more of this money than any candidate in the state sends a disturbing message about why he is running for this seat,” Weeks said. “I think voters deserve to know what the gambling interests know that they don’t know.”

As for the matter of casino-style gambling as proposed at tracks in four counties, Green said, “Like the senator, I have publicly declared that only the voters should decide upon the issue of table games.”

Weeks said that was misleading since he would vote for a referendum if it were conducted statewide, rather than limit it to Jefferson, Kanawha, Ohio and Hancock counties, where dog and horse tracks operate.

“With only a little over a month since the primary, Russ Weeks has issued yet another attack on my candidacy,” Green said. “If elected to the state Senate, I pledge to represent the people of the 9th District through a spirit of cooperation rather than a culture of confrontation.”

Green’s campaign manager, Larry LaCorte, faulted Weeks for identifying the Democratic nominee as a “wealthy lobbyist” in his news release, pointing out Green hadn’t served as a dog racing lobbyist since last year.

Green landed the nomination by outpolling former Senate Judiciary Chairman Bill Wooton and Delegate Sally Susman, both of Beckley.

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