It can pay to enter a political race early.
Campaign finance reports show that Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito had millions of dollars in her U.S. Senate campaign account months before a Democrat had even stepped forward to join the race.
Last week, Democratic West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant announced her candidacy to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller. West Virginia has sent only Democrats to the Senate for decades, but it has gone Republican in recent presidential elections, and the party had struggled to quickly identify a candidate it could coalesce around after Rockefeller announced his retirement plans in January.
Tennant’s announcement means Democrats can start their fundraising for the race in earnest, and they’ll have plenty of catching up to do after Capito announced her candidacy in November.
The most recent Federal Election Commission report available shows Capito had more than $2.8 million in cash on hand at the end of June, and had already spent more than $400,000 on the race by then. That includes money spent on campaign staff salaries, travel, polling and media consulting, among other things.
“Congresswoman Capito’s biggest advantage in this race is that voters know she will stand up for West Virginia values in the United States Senate. We know there will be millions of dollars spent by out-of-state special interest groups to try and defeat Shelley. That is why so many West Virginians have contributed both volunteer time and money to help her win in 2014,” Capito campaign manager Chris Hansen said in an email to The Associated Press.
Between January and the end of June, Capito’s campaign raised more than $1.1 million from individual contributions. But Capito also had plenty of contributions from out-of-state political action committees. Of the 230 contributions made by PACs to Capito, only three were based in West Virginia. However, that figure doesn’t include West Virginia-based companies or organizations that have their PACs headquartered in the Washington, D.C., area, such as coal company Alpha Natural Resources, whose Washington-based PAC has donated $5,000 to Capito.
Fundraising and expenditure reports for the third quarter that ends in September aren’t due until Oct. 15, and Hansen declined to provide an estimate about what the current quarter’s financial figures will look like.
Already evident, however, is that the Capito campaign has started spending some money on advertising. In the days following Tennant’s announcement, the first result by several major search engines for her name delivered a paid-for advertisement with a link to Capito’s campaign website, with the title “Stop Natalie Tennant.”
While Tennant’s website just launched, there’s little information on it other than an email submission form and a link to a page accepting donations. Still, Lou Ann Johnson, a senior adviser on the Tennant campaign, said the Tennant campaign wouldn’t sit around idle when it comes to fundraising.
“We are fully committed to running an aggressive, well-funded campaign addressing the issues that are important to West Virginians and focusing on Rep. Capito’s record of putting Washington interests ahead of West Virginia’s,” Johnson said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press. “The campaign has been energized and overwhelmed with the number of people wanting to volunteer and donate. We are aggressively setting up fundraisers across the state with the help of West Virginians who want a senator in Washington who will always put our state first.”
Finance reports show Capito has millions of dollars in U.S. Senate campaign account
It can pay to enter a political race early.
- West Virginia
Gee wants to help WVU as interim president
E. Gordon Gee is eager to put his 2 cents in at West Virginia University, even though his second stint leading the school is expected to be short.
The former Ohio State University president will only be in Morgantown for about six months starting in January before a permanent successor is named.
Fracking waste goes to state landfills
A memo released quietly by regulators earlier this year has carved a major loophole in West Virginia’s rules restricting the amount of waste that can be accepted by the state’s landfills, all with the intent to ease a burgeoning problem caused by the boom in gas drilling, environmentalists say.
Gee approved as interim WVU president
E. Gordon Gee is returning to West Virginia University as interim president, five months after retiring from Ohio State University after remarks he made jabbing Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools were made public.
Broadband funds may have to be returned
West Virginia could lose more than $2.5 million in federal funding that it received to expand high-speed Internet service statewide.
Shortfall in OPEB funding slashed
West Virginia has reduced a shortfall in funding for nonpension retiree costs by nearly half in one year, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services said in a new report.
Audit: Reporting requirements for Youth Services Program are not met
A legislative audit says the Bureau for Children and Families has failed to meet statutorily required reporting requirements for its Youth Services Program.
Morrisey’s office to intervene in gay marriage case
The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office said in a motion Friday that it wants to defend in federal court the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
New York-based gay rights group Lambda Legal contends West Virginia’s Defense of Marriage Act violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Eagle survey in W.Va. tallying up record numbers
Volunteers tracking the fall migration of bald eagles at Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory have counted a record number of the majestic birds.
Parkersburg site chosen to explore petrochemical complex
Petrochemical giant Odebrecht has chosen a site in West Virginia to explore the possible location of an ethane cracker plant and three polyethlene plants, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Thursday.
The estimated cost and timetable of the potential project weren’t disclosed, although officials said Odebrecht has a purchase option on land for the site in Parkersburg.
18 states send aid to fight fire in Mon Forest
The U.S. Forest Service says about 18 states have provided personnel and resources to fight a wildfire burning in the Monongahela National Forest in Pendleton County.
- More West Virginia Headlines
- Gee wants to help WVU as interim president