This article originally provided by The Daily Mail

November 1, 2006

Campaign costs rising, filings show

With a week to go before Election Day, candidates for the state Legislature in Kanawha and Putnam counties have raised more than $1 million.

The cost of running for the House of Delegates is going up, according to campaign finance reports filed at the secretary of state's office.

For example, the average candidate has spent $25,000 so far in the House of Delegates 30th District, which covers much of Kanawha County.

Some have spent far more. Delegate Sharon Spencer has spent $67,000, and Delegate Bonnie Brown has spent $44,000. Both are Democrats.

One Republican in the district almost matched the two incumbents. Challenger Mike Stuart has spent $42,000, and has more cash on hand going into the final week than any other candidate in the 30th.

The prize for the most money raised and spent in the area, however, goes to Sen. Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha. He has raised $173,000 and spent about $100,000, or about six times as much as his opponent in the 17th District, Republican Ann Calvert.

In the other two area races for state Senate, the candidates have spent roughly equal amounts. In Kanawha County, Democrat Erik Wells and Republican Mark Plants have spent about $50,000 so far this campaign in the race to replace Sen. Steve Harrison, R-Kanawha.

In the Senate's 4th District, which covers Putnam, Jackson and Mason counties and part of Roane County, Delegate Mike Hall, R-Putnam, has raised about $82,000, compared to $58,000 for Democratic lawyer Jim Lees. But Lees has made up the difference by lending to his campaign.

In the House of Delegates 31st District, which includes the East End and the West Side flats of Charleston, Republican challenger Charles Minimah has outspent Delegate Carrie Webster, D-Kanawha, $7,000 to $4,500. But Webster is sitting on a campaign fund of more than $16,000, while Minimah's campaign has less than $2,000.

In the 13th District, covering northern Putnam and Mason counties, the two incumbent Democrats are outspending a Republican challenger by a ratio of 2 to 1.

Delegates Dale Martin and Brady Paxton, both D-Putnam, also have a combined $25,000 on hand, compared to $250 for Republican Penny Renee Dick.

In the 14th District, covering southern Putnam and Mason counties, a Democratic challenger has outraised and outspent an incumbent Republican.

Hurricane High teacher Gene Estel has raised $11,500 and spent about $9,000 while Delegate Patti Eagloski Schoen has raised $10,600 and spent $7,800.

Massey Energy community-relations manager Troy Andes, a Republican, has raised more than $27,000.

By and large, Republicans are benefiting from contributions from the coal industry, insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, doctor's groups and other business interests.

Democratic money is largely coming from labor, trial lawyers, and business interests.

These numbers don't count the effect of Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who has spent more than $1 million so far on behalf of about 40 Republican candidates statewide, which equates to about $25,000 each.

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