This article originally provided by The Register-Herald

November 6, 2006

Green outspending Weeks in 9th District battle

Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

CHARLESTON — If money is all it takes, Mike Green is a shoo-in to capture the 9th District seat in the state Senate next week.

Green unveiled his pre-general election report reflecting expenditures of $254,260.61 in the Democratic challenger’s expensive effort to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Russ Weeks.

In his report with the secretary of state’s office, Weeks, in marked contrast, listed expenses of $22,506.61. The job pays $15,000 in base salary, exclusive of what lawmakers earn while attending monthly interims meetings.

This race has caught the eye of party leaders and media outlets across the state.

Gov. Joe Manchin put in an appearance late in the campaign at a Beckley fundraiser for Green, and Weeks, clearly a target of the Democrats, has been berated publicly by state Chairman Nick Casey.

“I’m the No. 1 target of the Democrats,” Weeks observed recently, smiling as he said it.

Weeks has sought to paint Green as a lapdog for Gov. Joe Manchin and the gambling industry, while Green has countered that the incumbent has been too “confrontational” and his lack of cooperation denies the 9th District of Wyoming and Raleigh counties meaningful representation.

Early in the campaign, Green incurred criticism from a primary opponent for the heavy donations of out-of-state gambling interests.

But in his latest report, the Beckley businessman and onetime police officer shows a wide array of mostly in-state contributions, from individuals to labor groups to business interests. The latest report, however, shows he hasn’t spent a dime in this reporting period.

Two donors appear to be hedging their bets by giving to both men.

The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee put up identical donations of $250 to Green and Weeks.

Ditto for Bill Bright, a Summersville businessman who is listed as a $500 contributor in both Green’s and Weeks’ reports.

Green collected $1,000 donations from teachers Linda Epling and Timothy Epling, coal operator Doug Epling and photographer Mathew Epling, all of Beckley.

One suggestion of a link to gambling in Green’s report was a $1,000 contribution from the Committee to Re-Elect Ed Bowman.

Bowman is a Democratic senator representing Hancock County and was a co-sponsor two years ago of a Senate-passed bill that would have allowed local referendums on Las Vegas-style gambling in the four track counties. The measure was scuttled in the House, but many feel it will be revived in the 2007 session.

Green has said he would support a local option election in Hancock, Ohio, Kanawha and Jefferson counties, where racetracks are located. Weeks opposes any gambling expansion and says he will only support a referendum if all West Virginia voters decide it — not just the four directly affected counties.

Weeks listed a number of individual donors ranging from $50 to $200, and said his largest expense was $3,500, paid to Abernathy Strategies, a Dayton, Ohio, consultant. The firm is headed by Gary Abernathy, former executive director of the West Virginia Republican Party.

Plunking down the maximum $1,000 donations were Calvin Sutphin of Charleston, executive officer of Fayette Community Health Care, Lawrence Pack, a Charleston CPA, the Coca-Cola Consolidated Employee Committee for Good Government in Charlotte, N.C., and Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. Employee Non-Partisan Committee for Good Government in Atlanta.

As of this reporting period, Weeks listed an ending balance of $7,483.39.

Green showed a broad spectrum of support, including $750 from the West Virginia Education Association PAC and $1,000 put up by the United Mine Workers of America PAC.

Other $1,000 donations came from Jeff Mullins of Charleston, representing Innovative Employers Network, Donnie Holcom, the CEO of Cline Resources, and like amounts from Cheryl Beyer of Venetia, Pa., John Dickinson of Daniels and J. Matthew Fifield of Palm Beach, Fla., none of which listed a work source or PAC.

His other $1,000 donations came from Brian Glasser of Bailey and Glasser, owner Chris Cline of Cline Resources, chiropractor William Edward Mullins, Dr. Ahmed Faheem of Daniels and James Quesenberry of GQ Construction (which he co-owns with Green).

Green picked up $21,125 in contributions at a Sept. 19 golf tournament at Glade Springs.

In his newest report, Green listed $90,845.06 in total contributions for the entire year and loans from his own sources at $193,162.45. His report showed an ending balance of $30,714.08.

Weeks reported total contributions for the year as $30,049.83 and no outstanding loans.

— E-mail:

Voter-Owned Elections

Citizens for Clean Elections P.O. Box 6753 Huntington, WV 25773-6753 304-522-0246