This article originally provided by The Herald-Dispatch

September 17, 2006

Report show modest fund-raising in legislative races

Associated Press Writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia's legislative candidates raised just over $620,000 in the months following the May primary, spending slightly more than that amount as their campaigns geared up for the general election, their latest financial filings show.

With one more report due before the Nov. 7 balloting, the filings suggest expensive battles looming in Cabell and Kanawha counties, among both Senate and House candidates. Large amounts of campaign cash were also raised in Senate races in Putnam County and the Eastern Panhandle, and for an Ohio County House contest.
The filing period, which covered June 3 through Sept. 1, also saw major spending by Don Blankenship. The wealthy Massey Energy Co. president, chairman and CEO devoted nearly $292,000 toward what he predicts will be a multimillion-dollar campaign targeting dozens of incumbent Democrats, his independent expenditure report said.
All 100 House seats are up for election, as is half the 34-seat Senate. Democrats hold 68 House seats and 21 in the Senate.

Blankenship detailed $142,505 of his spending in an electioneering communications report, also filed this week with the Secretary of State. Blankenship aided 41 GOP candidates across the state, mostly with billboards and yard signs.
Several labor unions have also filed independent expenditure and electioneering communications reports, listing about $83,000 spent largely on the May primary. The United Mine Workers, the Service Employees International Union and the state AFL-CIO supported a half-dozen Democrats in Mercer, Monongalia, Ohio and Wyoming County House races.

Labor unions were also among the major contributors during the filing period, giving to candidates of both parties. But Blankenship remains the largest single donor this year, giving $1,000 to 48 candidates, almost exclusively Republican.
Having spread out most of this money before the primary, Blankenship gave $1,000 during the filing period to Judy Romano, a GOP candidate in Kanawha County's 30th House District. Two candidates, Cabell County Republicans Tommy Smirl and Dr. Tom Scott, have returned Blankenship's money.

Scott is challenging Sen. Evan Jenkins, a 5th District Democrat. Each had about $24,000 on hand on Sept. 1. Scott outraised Jenkins during the filing period, $20,910 to $11,700, but together led the Senate races in money received.
As Jenkins is executive director of the state medical association, both he and Scott saw physicians, their spouses and other health professionals among their donors.
Sen. Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha, ended the filing period with the most on hand of any legislative candidate, $98,807. He faces former GOP delegate Ann Calvert, who had $3,558 left on Sept. 1.

Democrat Jim Lees raised the most among Senate candidates, $21,975, as he squares off against Mike Hall in the 4th District. Lees also loaned his campaign nearly $28,000. Hall, a Putnam County delegate, raised $2,400 and had $7,095 on hand.

Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, had nearly $77,000 left to defend his 16th District seat against Republican Jerry Mays, who had $12,118.

Delegate L. Gil White, R-Ohio had raised the most among House candidates, $30,805. That race, in the 3rd District, also features an open seat.

Both three-seat Cabell County House districts, the 15th and 16th, feature full slates of candidates and sizable war chests. Democrat Doug Reynolds had the most on hand, $22,404, in these races.

With its seven seats, the 30th District representing Kanawha County also saw campaign finance activity. The candidates there had balances averaging $14,000. Republican Mike Stuart had the largest kitty, $30,171, after raising $14,468.

Eight candidates filed waivers, showing little or no campaign activity. They include Republican Delegates Roger Romine and Bill Anderson, among 30 incumbents who face no challengers in November.

Including the primary races, legislative candidates this year have spent $3.6 million after amassing more than $5.3 million.

Lawrence Messina covers the statehouse for The Associated Press.

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