June 29, 2011- Fund Raising in the WV Governor's Race

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

Campaign finance reports were due today. They give us some added insight into who's continued to draw support since the primary and where the campaigns stand going into the general election phase.

We are about three months from the special election to be West Virginia's governor. But, campaign finance reports released today give us a look back at the fund raising efforts in the primary among the 14 Democrats and Republicans as well as a look at where the two victors stand.

Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin (D), who is acting as governor and won his party's nomination, also led his competitors in fund raising. Similarly, the candidate with the biggest money on total on the Republican side, Morgantown businessman Bill Maloney, also secured his party's nomination in May.

The Associated Press breaks down some of the more interesting findings in the newly released data:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia's special primary for governor cost the candidates $5.7 million, with the six Democrats spending more than three-fourths of that, the latest campaign finance reports show.

Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin emerged as the money leader during the primary season, both among fellow Democrats and overall. Tomblin raised nearly $2 million during the primary phase. He added $180,000 of that during the April 29 to May 26 post-primary filing period - more than the five other Democrats combined.

Tomblin prevailed in his party's May 14 primary. Republicans nominated Bill Maloney. The Morgantown businessman led a field of eight GOP hopefuls with $314,000, or more than half of the funds raised in that primary. Around $74,000 of Maloney's total arrived during the post-primary period.

But Maloney has also provided his campaign with $650,000 of his own money. He loaned $50,000 of that May 26, helping him to post an $88,000 campaign balance.

Maloney spent nearly $870,000 on his primary race. That means he spent $31.20 for each of the 27,871 votes he received. Maloney won with 45 percent of the GOP vote. Only one Republican candidate spent more per vote than Maloney: Larry Faircloth, a former longtime legislator, at $35.38.

Tomblin, meanwhile, spent all but $29,183 that he had amassed for the primary. Prevailing with just over 40 percent of the Democratic vote, Tomblin spent the equivalent of $38.14 per vote. Primary rival John Perdue, the state's elected treasurer, spent the most per vote among the Democrats and overall at $52.

Tomblin attracted more than $1.17 million of his haul at 32 fundraisers held around the state. The race's most successful single fundraiser was held by House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, who collected $208,622 at an April 5 event at the Guyan Golf and Country Club in Huntington.

All told, the primary phase featured around 8,500 contributors. Those who give more than $250 at a time must provide their addresses, occupations and employers. Nearly 77 percent of those donations came from West Virginia, while another 12 percent came from five neighboring states. Tomblin gathered 89 percent of his large-dollar donations from West Virginia and its neighbors, while they made up around 80 percent of Maloney's.

At least a third of Tomblin's donors hail from the energy sector, with most involved in coal. Another 12 percent came from hospital executives and physicians and other health care professionals. Lawyers and law firms provided another 12 percent. Tomblin received 10 percent of his funds from retailers. The construction industry gave around 7 percent and the finance sector, 6 percent.

The finance sector, which includes banks, insurers, real estate and investment firms, reflects around 29 percent of Maloney's haul. The energy sector contributed a similar portion. Health care interests provided 11 percent, and 10 percent came from construction interests.

The special general election is Oct. 4. The state Supreme Court has mandated that an elected governor take office within one year of when Democrat Joe Manchin resigned as governor to become a U.S. senator. Manchin stepped down as governor Nov. 15 after winning a special election for his current seat. The governor's office is again up for a full, four-year term in 2012.

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