Morrisey tops GOP gubernatorial primary pack in campaign fundraising, in First Quarter finance reports

MORGANTOWN – Six Republicans are battling for their party’s nomination for governor in the may 14 primary election. Entering the final weeks before the primary, three of them had campaign war chests topping $1 million and two of them had already spent more than $1 million.

The winner will face two other candidates in November: Democrat Steve Williams, who is unopposed in his primary, and Mountain Party nominee Chase Linko-Looper.

Here is a look at their most recent campaign finance reports, the First Quarter report, covering Jan. 1 through March. 31 (a separate category of spending by outside PACs supporting the candidates is not included here). The next report will cover April 1-28 and is due May 3, just before the primary. The GOP candidates are presented in the order of funds raised during the first quarter.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey opened the period with $1,831,905.23 in his campaign account. He raised $730,254.85 in individual contributions and $93,697.38 at six fundraisers: three in Charleston, one each in Morgantown, Bridgeport and Washington, D.C.

Morrisey’s account also received a $50,000 transfer from his 2020 campaign account, for a fundraising total of $876,402.25. On top of that he reported $2,450.02 for in-kind services and $28,835.05 in investment interest.

Morrisey spent $1,058,434.08, leaving an account balance of $1,676,258.43. He reports $132,000 in outstanding loans from himself to his campaign.

His totals for the election season were $3,328,836.91 raised and $1,800,954.94 spent.

Morrisey’s report covers 740 pages, and he noted in an announcement that he received 20,310 contributions, with an average donation size of $39.66, with 19,797 of those donations $100 or less.

Moore Capito, former House of Delegates Judiciary chair and son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, ranked second for the period.

He opened with $1,202,224.23 and raised $72,231.62 from individual contributions and $257,707 at 16 fundraisers: in-state at Parkersburg twice, Daniels, White Sulphur Springs, Charleston, Morgantown, Victor and Bridgeport; and out of state at Richmond, Va., Canonsburg, Pa., D.C. three time, Naples Fla., St. Louis Mo., and Marietta, Ohio.

Capito also reported $7,414.96 in-kind, for a fundraising total of $337,353.58. He spent $454,977.74, leaving a balance of $1,077,185.11. His totals for the season were $1,962,240.86 raised and $877,329.71 spent.

By way of comparison, his report was the second-longest, at 61 pages.

Huntington businessman Chris Miller, son of Rep. Carol Miller, ranks third. He opened with $3,706,478.65 and raised $47,219.94 individual contributions, plus $113,805.22 at six fundraisers: two in Charleston, and one each in Martinsburg, Mount Clare, Beckley and Summersville,

Including $55,368.09 in-kind, all paid by Miller, his fundraising total was $216,393.26. He also reported $1,064.11 in interest and a $50,000 loan from himself to his campaign.

Miller spent $2,700,718.36, leaving a balance of $1,217,849.57.

The $50,000 loan this period brought his total loans from himself to his campaign to $3,050,000. Apart from the loans, for the season he raised $1,547,763.68, and spent $3,320,549.37.

Secretary of State Mac Warner is considered the fourth of the front-runners and ranks fourth in fundraising.

He opened with $161,620.85 and received $72,286.58 in individual contributions plus $384.68 in-kind, for a fundraising total of $72,671.26.

He spent $41,378.25, leaving a balance of $192,529.18. His totals for the season were $523,503.92 raised and $319,130.53 spent.

Mitch Roberts of Poca records no contributions but spending of $789.36 on advertising and tickets. His form contains a double error in the spending for the campaign season, noting $1,578.69 spent. It appears to be an inadvertent doubling of the spending for the quarter, but if it was doubled correctly it would be $1,578.72.

The sixth Republican, Kevin “KC” Christian, of Chloe, has no financial activity posted on the secretary of state’s campaign finance website.

Other candidates

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams had little activity through the period, but he is unopposed and the real campaign will begin leading up to November.

Williams opened with $3,327.91 and raised $17,830.96 in individual contributions, He spent just $78.50, leaving a balance of $21,080.37.

His totals for the season were $26,360.96 raised and $1,952.68 spent.

In 2020, Democrat Ben Salango, challenging incumbent Republican Jim Justice, raised just over $1.675 million, lent his campaign $490,000, and spent just over $2.04 million. He lost, with 30.83% of the vote to Justice’s 64.77%.

Chase Linko-Looper, of St. Albans, opened the period with $1,284.44 and raised $143.62 in individual contributions plus $719.30 in-kind, from himself, for total fundraising of $862.92.

He spent $1,283.31, leaving a balance of $144.75. His totals for the season were $10,543.31 raised and $2,398.16 spent.

The 2020 Mountain Party candidate, Danny Lutz, tallied 1.47% of the vote.

A recent MetroNews West Virginia poll puts Morrisey slightly ahead of Capito, with support of 31% of registered Republican voters and independent voters who will request a Republican ballot, to Capito’s 29%. Miller had 16% and Warner had 12%, with 10% of Republican voters still unsure and the remainder favoring some other candidate.

A Nexstar broadcasting and Emerson College poll put Morrisey at 32.9%, undecided voters at 28.9%, Miller at 16.2%, Capito at 14.4% and Warner at 6.2%.

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