MORGANTOWN – If campaign financing is an indicator of the competitiveness of a political race, only one of Monongalia County’s six House of Delegates primary races comes even close. And while it’s too early to say for sure, most of the general election races look to be fairly lopsided too, at least in terms of money.
The figures come from the candidates’ Primary Reports, covering the period of April 1-24. The primary election is set for Tuesday, May 10.
Because the single-member districts are all newly drawn from the October redistricting special session, we’ll recap the description of each.
The 77th is geographically the largest, covering the entire western half of the county. Neither incumbent 51st District Republican Joe Statler nor Democrat challenger Ben Swanson has a primary opponent. With both sailing through, primary spending has been minimal.
Statler opened the period with $1,250 and raised $1,000 in a single contribution from an individual. He spent nothing, leaving a balance of $2,250.
Swanson is gearing up for a general election race. He opened with $5,400 (he’d originally reported a closing balance of $3,900 last period but amended it to $5,400).
He raised $4,500, all from five PACs, along with $166.15 in-kind. He spent $1,308.34, leaving a $8,591.66 balance.
The 78th covers the eastern portion of Mon, between Cheat Lake and Browns Chapel. Jeffrey Budkey is the sole Democrat. Three Republicans are vying: Geno Chiarelli, Toni DiChiacchio and Scott Nale.
One candidate’s account is far ahead of the rest but this is overall the most competitive primary race.
Budkey opened with $1,491.85 and raised $375 from one PAC and five individuals. He received $330.30 in-kind – all but $21.96 from from the progressive West Virginia Can’t Wait group.
He spent $186, leaving a balance of $1,680.65.
Chiarelli opened with $259.84 and raised $3,769.06 – all from individuals, including $2,000 from Don Blankenship. He also received $17.12 in-kind from himself.
He spent $1,640.27,leaving a balance of $2,388.27.
DiChiacchio is far ahead of her competitors. She opened with $16,542.06 and raised $3,700 from two individuals and two PACs.
She spent $3,948.16, leaving a balance of $16,293.90.
Nale opened with $3,260 and raised $650 from three individuals. He spent $1,036.26, with $995.46 of that consisting of repayment of loans he made to his campaign. That left a balance of $2,873.74.
The 79th covers part of Morgantown and the South Hills. Republican Zach LeMaire is unchallenged. Democrat incumbent Evan Hansen has a challenger in Matthew Kolb.
LeMaire opened with $200, raised nothing and spent nothing, leaving the balance of $200.
Hansen opened with $17,729. He raised $5,355 from five individuals and eight PACs. He spent $2,868.62, leaving a balance of $20,215.38.
Meanwhile, Kolb open with just $26.40, raised and spent nothing, leaving the balance of $26.40.
The 80th includes Suncrest, Star City and Granville. Republican Justin White and Democrat incumbent John Williams are unopposed in the primary.
White has done no fundraising or spending and has a $0 balance.
Williams, though, opened with $8,926.95 and raised $4,950 from seven PACs and one individual. He spent $5,554.41, leaving a balance of $8,322.54.
The 81st covers the area that includes the WVU Research Park and the airport. Republican Steven Harris and incumbent Democrat Danielle Walker are unopposed in the primary. As in the 79th and 80th, the incumbent is far ahead.
Harris open with $25 and raised $798.20 from individuals and $1,820 at a Morgantown fundraiser. He received $291 in-kind, which included $280 from himself for the fundraiser location rental.
He spent $8.20, leaving a balance of $2,635.
Walker has the biggest campaign account of any Mon County candidate of either party. She opened with $43,635 and raised $3,543 from 24 individuals (total $643) and three PACs.
She spent $742.79, leaving a balance of $46,435.95.
The 82nd covers the Cheat Lake area from the Monongahela River to the Preston County line. Katie Fallon is the sole Democrat. Three Republicans are vying: former Delegate Cindy Frich, Drew Talbott and Debbie Warner, who is far ahead of the rest.
Fallon opened with $200 and raised $3,045 from 11 individuals and three PACs. She spent $94.50, leaving a balance of $3,150.50.
Frich has done no fundraising or spending and has a $0 balance.
Talbott opened with a $0 balance and raised $50 from a single individual. He spent $641.19 on advertising, indicating his campaign paid the candidate that amount.
That left him with a negative balance of -$591.19, which is typically not permitted on campaign filings. The amount would typically be recorded as a loan from the candidate. The Dominion Post has an inquiry in to the secretary of state’s office about this.
Warner opened with $10,024.52 and raised $7,854.27 from four individuals, eight PACS and $104.27 channeled through WinRed, which aggregates small contributions for GOP candidates.
She spent $1,143.50, leaving a balance of $16,735.29.
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