The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

October 1, 2012

Energy interests fueling gov bid

Sector provides one-fifth of haul for both Maloney and incumbent Tomblin

CHARLESTON — The coal industry and other energy interests are helping to fuel West Virginia’s governor’s race, contributing both to Republican Bill Maloney and the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the latest campaign finance reports show.

But while that sector provided one-fifth of each candidate’s haul, Tomblin raised 2 1/2 times as much as Maloney. Tomblin attracted $1.2 million between May 21 and Sept. 23, while Maloney received nearly $469,000 during that time, their filings show.

By Sept. 23, Maloney also had less than half as much in his campaign fund as Tomblin, $264,500 to $618,000. Maloney spent $829,600 during the reporting period. Tomblin expended $1 million more than that.

A Morgantown drilling consultant and business owner, Maloney derived a fourth of the amount from his hometown. He also loaned his campaign $250,000 from his own wealth. Maloney had self-financed to the tune of $2.45 million during last year’s special gubernatorial race. Tomblin narrowly won that contest for an unexpired term, and his rematch with Maloney is for a full, four-year term.

West Virginia is the nation’s second-leading producer of coal, and has seen interest increase in its portion of the Marcellus shale natural gas reserve. But coal production has recently slowed — in part because more power plants are burning cheap natural gas instead — forcing mine layoffs and shutdowns.

The toughening climate for coal has become a major issue in this year’s election. The state Coal Association has endorsed Tomblin, dubbing him and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin as “West Virginia’s Team” during uncertain times.

Coal interests account for the lion’s share of Tomblin’s energy sector contributors. Executives and workers for Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, Consol Energy, Mepco, Patriot Coal and United Coal were among his campaign’s donors during the reporting period.

Maloney’s contributors also include Alpha and Patriot donors. His largest single source of campaign cash was Swanson Industries. The mining equipment supplier’s officials and their spouses gave him more than $7,000.

Some energy interests were among those who gave to both candidates. Jonathan Giesen of mining explosives maker Nelson Brothers Inc., for instance, contributed $1,000 to each. So did the political action committees for natural gas players Dominion and Chesapeake Energy. But Chesapeake’s chief executive, Aubrey McClendon, also gave $1,000 to Tomblin while company vice president Scott Rotruck contributed $750 to the governor as well.

Construction interests and financial sector donors, including those involved in banking and insurance, each accounted for about 10 percent of Tomblin’s and Maloney’s totals. Health care interests, mostly physicians and other medical professionals, provided 15 percent of Tomblin’s sum. Lawyers provided him with a similar share. Steptoe & Johnson members and their families gave more than $28,000 of that, making it Tomblin’s largest single contribution source. Lawyers for another corporate firm, Jackson Kelly, and their spouses provided another $12,000.

The Steptoe firm also hosted one of 29 fundraising events that brought in $900,000 for Tomblin during the filing period. The most successful was at Guyan Country Club in Huntington, and attracted nearly $200,000 in August. Tomblin’s in-state events included two in Morgantown that together collected $63,400.

Three of Tomblin’s fundraisers were held out-of-state. One was at the Richmond, Va., offices of tobacco giant Altria. Officials from that company gave Tomblin more than $10,000. Nemacolin Resort outside Pittsburgh hosted another event, bringing in nearly $30,000 in early September. Tomblin also spoke the same day at an energy conference there, flying in on a state aircraft. The campaign reimbursed the state $1,049 for travel several days later, his report shows.

Maloney held 20 fundraisers, collecting nearly $394,000. His events include ones in Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Washington, D.C. A June event in Morgantown headlined by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal marked his biggest haul, bringing in $76,200. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was featured at another Maloney event that month, and that Charleston fundraiser yielded $56,950.

Tomblin spent the bulk of his funding during the reporting period on several major media and consulting firms, mostly for TV ads. Those include Struble Eichenbaum Communications, Global Strategy Group and Media Strategies and Research. The latter firm, based in Fairfax, Va., received $1.4 million of the spending total.

Just over half of Maloney’s spending went to one firm, Strategic Media Services, for advertising. He also paid $22,675 to the Charleston consulting firm of Greg Thomas, a GOP operative whose Twitter account was recently suspended by the social networking service. A Twitter official declined to comment on the suspension Friday, while Thomas has not responded to requests for comment. Thomas’ firm, Targeted Communication Strategies, received more during the reporting period than either the campaign’s manager or its main spokesperson.

Tomblin and Maloney must each file one finance report, in late October, before the Nov. 6 election.

Text Only
West Virginia
  • West Virginia chemical safe level following spill based on two weeks

    When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by a January spill, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some state Democrats flip to GOP

    As Republicans rally for more control in West Virginia’s long-time Democratic Legislature, a few Democrats have jumped ship to the GOP and are challenging former colleagues in midterm races.
    Republicans face their biggest election opportunity in decades in the House of Delegates, where a four-seat swing would put them in power for the first time in 85 years.

    April 20, 2014

  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

  • Geologists link small quakes to fracking

    Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.
    A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link “probable.”

    April 12, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads