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W.Va. 2012 races featured $6M from candidates' personal wealth

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A handful of West Virginia candidates together plowed more than $6.3 million from their personal wealth toward their election bids this year, although it didn't assure victory, a review of state and federal filings shows.

Republican Bill Maloney led the self-financing with $1.8 million toward his second failed bid for governor in as many years. He had given his 2011 campaign, when the office was up for an unexpired term, nearly $2.5 million. The Morgantown drilling consultant and business owner lost each time to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat who relied solely on campaign contributions in both races.

Maloney's personal loans this time, which included $750,000 during the final two weeks of the race, bolstered the $1.1 million he attracted from contributors. However, Tomblin outraised Maloney as he had done before, this time by collecting $3.4 million, including $163,265 during the final reporting period. Maloney's contributions totaled less than $41,000 during that time.

Because the period also includes the 12 days following the Nov. 6 election, the final reports show that $60,000 of Maloney's self-funding total went toward the campaign's remaining post-election bills. That brought Maloney's spending to $2.9 million, compared to Tomblin's $3.4 million.

Patrick Morrisey won the attorney general race after loaning himself $1.4 million. That provided the Republican with 73 percent of his campaign funds, the largest self-supplied share among all statewide candidates. Morrisey unseated the Democratic incumbent, Darrell McGraw, by the narrowest margin of the statewide races, slightly more than 16,000 votes. A former congressional lawyer and aide, Morrisey devoted $501,000 from his own wealth toward his campaign during the race's final two weeks. That allowed him to outspend McGraw, with nearly $2 million versus $231,000. However, Morrisey also outraised the Democrat among contributors, $531,000 to $233,000.

About 70 percent of Tish Chafin's Supreme Court campaign funds came from the candidate. Besides the $1 million loan the Democrat announced three months before the May primary, Chafin also contributed $107,000 during the final reporting period. Her campaign attracted $451,500 from other individuals and political action committees. Despite amassing and spending $1.5 million, the most in the two-seat race, Chafin came in fourth, with just under 23 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Justice Robin Davis, a Democrat, won after loaning her campaign $860,000 and receiving $480,700 from contributors. With nearly two-thirds of its money from personal funding, Davis' campaign spent nearly $1.3 million. The other victor, Republican Allen Loughry, received the bulk of his $455,000 from the pilot program that offered public funds as an alternative to traditional campaign contributions. However, a September court ruling denied Loughry additional public money on constitutional grounds. That allowed his campaign to accept private donations, and finance filings show it received around $43,000.

Davis led the field with 27 percent, or nearly 295,000 votes, followed by Loughry, who got 26 percent. Circuit Judge John Yoder, the other Republican running, came in ahead of Chafin with nearly 24 percent of the vote after raising and spending around $38,000.

Republican John Raese lost his latest U.S. Senate race after providing nearly $1 million of the $1.6 million he spent through loans. The Morgantown industrialist devoted at least $7.1 million toward five statewide campaigns, all unsuccessful, according to a review of Federal Election Commission filings from this and his 2010 and 2006 Senate runs and press coverage of his 1984 Senate and 1988 gubernatorial bids.

By comparison, fellow GOP Senate candidate Linda McMahon devoted nearly $100 million from her personal fortune toward her 2012 and 2010 campaigns for seats representing Connecticut. Raese lost this year's contest to Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat who also bested him in 2010. Manchin raised $4.7 million this time and also outspent Raese with $3.6 million, leaving his campaign with a $1.5 million balance.

Among other West Virginia races, Republican Kent Leonhardt financed 61 percent of his campaign for agriculture commissioner, loaning himself $95,000, in his loss to Democrat Walt Helmick. Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall loaned his campaign for state treasurer $55,000, or nearly half his total. The Democratic incumbent, John Perdue, won another term after raising and spending around $223,000.


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