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
State’s budget tapping reserves
West Virginia lawmakers are ironing out kinks in an election-year budget that avoids tax hikes and gives public workers raises.
Legislative session shaped by chemical spill
With a midnight deadline looming, West Virginia lawmakers scrambled Saturday to give teachers raises, agree how to combat methamphetamine labs and impose a controversial abortion ban.
The 60-day lawmaking session has centered on a Jan. 9 chemical spill into the water supply that affected 300,000 people. But there was little late night drama during a 10 p.m. House of Delegates unanimous vote to send the bill to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
State Senate approves bill on minimum wage
The State Senate passed nearly 40 bills on third reading Friday. Among them were raising the minimum wage, and electronic toll collection for roads built after the Division of Highways’ six-year plan has lapsed.
Minimum wage will increase $1.75 in incremental stages over the next three years and will become $8.75 in 2017.
‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ one of state’s official songs
Singer John Denver never called West Virginia home, but his 1970s hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is one of the state’s official songs.
Forty-three years after it first hit the airwaves with the words “Almost Heaven, West Virginia,” the Legislature approved a resolution Friday designating it as one of four state songs.
‘Pothole blitz’ to address road damage
Crews with the West Virginia Division of Highways are planning a multimillion-dollar effort to fix pothole damage across the state.
Tending to winter roads always leads to wear and tear, but successive heavy winter storms this year have taken a harsh toll on roads, officials said.
Attorney general ethics bill likely dead
A push to impose stricter conflict-of-interest standards on West Virginia’s attorney general has fizzled in the state Senate.
Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, says there’s little interest in his committee to hear the bill, which targets Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Senate committee advances abortion bill
A bill to prohibit abortions later than 20 weeks after conception moved forward Thursday in the state Senate Judiciary Committee and will be heard on the full Senate floor later this week.
The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks except in cases when a doctor deems a patient at risk of serious physical impairment or death.
Committee: Slow minimum wage hike
Compromise negotiations between labor and industry resulted in a minimum-wage hike that achieves the same result — $8.75 per hour — but takes three years to get there instead of two, while decreasing the initial year’s earnings hourly increase by 50 cents.
That’s the thrust of the bill that passed out of the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday.
Coal firm to pay record fine for water pollution
One of the nation’s largest coal producers will pay a $27.5 million fine and spend $200 million to reduce illegal toxic discharges into hundreds of waterways across five Appalachian states, according to a proposed settlement Wednesday.
Committee approves 20-week abortion limit
Whether or not a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation is constitutional did not appear of to be the primary concern of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources on Tuesday, as they passed the bill out of committee with one amendment.
The bill proposes to protect unborn children capable of feeling pain.
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- State’s budget tapping reserves