This article originally provided by The Herald-Dispatch

September 1, 2006

Republican Scott returns Blankenship donation

By Bryan Chambers

HUNTINGTON -- Dr. Tom Scott, the Republican nominee for the 5th Senate District seat in the West Virginia Legislature, says he has returned a $1,000 campaign contribution from Don Blankenship.

"I just decided I didn't want (Blankenship's) support," Scott said Thursday, one day after state Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey held a rally in downtown Huntington and released a list of five local Republican candidates who have accepted $1,000 donations from the Massey Energy CEO.

Scott's name was on that list, and his June campaign finance report includes a $1,000 contribution from Blankenship. But Scott sent the money back to Blankenship on Wednesday. His next campaign finance report will show that the contribution was returned, he said.

Scott, who faces Democratic incumbent Evan Jenkins in the November general election, said the Democratic rally on Wednesday had nothing to do with his decision to return the money.

"I've been thinking about it all summer, and the decision was made long before the check was returned," he said. "My first reaction was I couldn't believe anyone could conceive that I could be bought for a contribution of that size. But after thinking about it, why leave a doubt in anyone's mind? So I returned the money."

Blankenship announced in July that he would spend his own personal wealth on wrestling control away from Democrats in at least one chamber of the Legislature. He has called his effort "and for the sake of the kids," the same name of the campaign he spearheaded in 2004 that helped elect Republican Brent Benjamin to the state Supreme Court.

Blankenship's efforts also contributed to the defeat of Gov. Joe Manchin's $5.5 billion pension bond sale proposal during a general election in 2005.

Other local Republican candidates Blankenship has contributed money to include: Carol Miller, a nominee for the 15th House District; Kelli Sobonya and Greg Howard, 16th House District incumbents; and Luiza Peana, nominee in the 17th House District.

Tommy Smirl, a Republican nominee for the 16th House District, also received a $1,000 contribution from Blankenship. Smirl returned the check to Blankenship with a note saying "Thanks, but no thanks," according to his most recent campaign finance report.

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