W.Va. outside spending reaches $19.2 million

Five days from the election, outside spending in West Virginia elections has reached $19.2 million this election cycle. Outside groups have reported spending an additional $4.1 million dollars over the past week.[i] (For comparison, a second round of disclosures by candidates for executive, legislative, and judicial offices shows they have spent $21.7 million to date.[ii]) More than half (61%) of the spending reported over the past week, was spent by Mountaineers Are Always Free PAC and the Republican Governors Association’s Right Direction PAC. Both have spent more than a million dollars since October 25 supporting Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Bill Cole and attacking their Democratic opponents.


The top spending groups this election cycle are:[iii]

  • Mountaineers Always Free PAC, formed by the Republican Attorney Generals Association (RAGA) to help Patrick Morrisey (R) retain his position as West Virginia’s Attorney General. The group, which has received much of its funding from coal and electricity companies, has spent $6.7 million supporting Morrisey and attacking his opponent, Delegate Doug Reynolds (D-Cabell).[iv],[v],[vi]
  • The Republican Governors Association (RGA), through its Right Direction PAC, has spent nearly $3.7 million to help Senate President Bill Cole (R-Mercer) in his race against Democrat Jim Justice. According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), the RAGA, the RSLC, and the RGA have several major donors in common.[vii],[viii]
  • West Virginia Family Values, a super PAC funded by labor unions and trial attorneys, has spent $2.5 million in several state Senate races, primarily in support of Democrats and against Republicans.[ix]
  • The Republican State Leadership Committee’s Judicial Fairness Initiative spent $2.6 million supporting Beth Walker, the winner of the May Supreme Court race, and attacking two of her opponents, Darrell McGraw and Bill Wooton. The RSLC’s top donors include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s two largest tobacco companies, Wal-Mart, and Koch Industries.[x]
  • Good Jobs West Virginia has spent $1.3 in the Governor’s race attacking Bill Cole. The group’s top donors are the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and Jobs and Opportunity, a federal PAC funded primarily by the DGA.[xi] The DGA’s top donors include Blue Cross/Blue Shield and several major pharmaceutical companies, according to CRP.[xii]

This year’s outside spending by race breaks down as follows:

  • Attorney General – $6,710,283
  • Governor – $5,432,150
  • Supreme Court – $3,644,315

Third party organizations have also spent $3.2 million in various state Senate races (See table below for spending totals and race ranking).

District Candidate Against For Candidate Total Race Total
4 Brian Prim $44,010 $670,420 $714,430 $986,343
Dustin Lewis $7,577 $648 $8,225
Mitch B. Carmichael $233,889 $29,799 $263,689
14 Bob Williams $28,550 $122,345 $150,894 $301,119
Randy E. Smith $137,531 $12,694 $150,224
11 Denise Lynne Campbell $17,402 $99,985 $117,387 $297,338
Gregory L. Boso $152,891 $27,060 $179,951
8 Chris Wesley Walters $90,776 $21,857 $112,633 $259,825
Glenn D. Jeffries $28,106 $119,086 $147,192
1 Jack Yost $31,203 $111,947 $143,150 $255,727
Ryan W. Weld $98,507 $14,071 $112,578
16 Patricia Puertas Rucker $81,425 $9,809 $91,234 $237,636
Stephen G. Skinner $12,413 $133,988 $146,401
2 Lisa Zukoff $38,322 $104,063 $142,385 $205,412
Mike Maroney $50,390 $12,637 $63,027
6 Chandler Swope $63,035 $10,376 $73,411 $190,197
Robert Rocky Seay $29,658 $87,128 $116,786
9 D. Michael Goode $18,430 $82,040 $100,470 $173,601
Sue Cline $40,259 $32,871 $73,130
3 Gregory K Smith $105,379 $105,379 $165,844
Mike Azinger $58,471 $1,993 $60,464
10 David G. Perry $30,369 $75,837 $106,206 $159,721
Kenny Mann $42,001 $11,514 $53,515
17 Christopher A. Stansbury $1,491 $1,491 $1,491
7 Arthur E. Kirkendoll $900 $900 $900
Total Spending   $1,335,214 $1,899,939   $3,235,153

[i] https://cfrs.wvsos.com/#/ieec_list/8

[ii] https://cfrs.wvsos.com/#/home/8/-2/en

[iii] https://cfrs.wvsos.com/#/ieec_list/8

[iv] http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-politics/20160923/national-gop-group-spends-big-on-morrisey-re-election#sthash.l3yOgyL3.dpuf

[v] https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/conservative-groups-pour-money-into-races-for-state-attorneys-general/2016/09/23/7a57030c-7e86-11e6-8d13-d7c704ef9fd9_story.html

[vi] http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-election/20161024/gop-group-has-spent-5m-on-morriseys-ag-campaign

[vii] https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?ein=113655877

[viii] https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?ein=464501717&cycle=2016

[ix] http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-politics/20161031/big-money-from-all-over-pours-into-wv-legislative-campaigns

[x] https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?ein=050532524&cycle=2016

[xi] http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg?_201610149032491837+0

[xii] https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?ein=521304889&cycle=2016

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Julie Archer

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