CHARLESTON – The first official campaign funding reports for the 2020 primary have been released, with contested races statewide still finding ways to raise funds despite the spread of the coronavirus and social distancing requirements .

Campaign finance reports for the first quarter of 2020 – January, February and March – were due on Tuesday. All statewide campaigns are required to file campaign finance reports with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.

The date of the primary elections has been moved from May 12 to June 9, by an executive order from Governor Jim Justice to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at the polls. West Virginia County’s 55 clerks are mailing postal ballot requests to all registered voters this week. Due to the coronavirus, voters are allowed to consult the “Medical reasons” box on the request to receive a postal ballot.

The contested statewide races in the June primary ballot include the President, the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, the Governor, the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Attorney General and three divisions of the Supreme Court West Virginia call.


In the Republican primary, Governor Jim Justice led the fundraiser for the quarter with $ 94,228 in contributions and in-kind donations for his re-election campaign. Total contributions for the Justice campaign were $ 576,743. Justice loaned $ 1 million to his campaign and spent $ 1.4 million, leaving him with a cash balance of $ 67,183.

Former Commerce Secretary and businessman Woody Thrasher came in second in total fundraising with $ 85,243 for the quarter and total contributions of $ 435,897. Thrasher remains the largest self-fundraiser, lending his campaign over $ 2.6 million and spending over $ 3 million mostly on TV commercial purchases. That leaves Thrasher with $ 68,307 in cash, a bit more than Justice.

Mike Folk, former member of the Berkeley County House of Delegates and airline pilot, raised $ 26,851 for the quarter, total contributions of $ 91,029 and $ 92,100 in loans to his campaign. Total expenses were $ 125,287, leaving Folk $ 30,005 on hand.

In the Democratic primary, community organizer Stephen Smith continues to outperform his competition. Contributions for the first quarter amounted to $ 204,875, again consisting of donations of less than $ 250 each. Total contributions since the start of the election stood at $ 778,442, with no campaign loans whatsoever. Total expenses included $ 581,045, leaving Smith with $ 184,253 in cash. Smith has been campaigning since November 2018.

Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango was the last candidate to enter the race, but quickly caught up with fundraising. Salango raised $ 192,910 for the quarter with total contributions of $ 574,663 and a personal loan of $ 500,000. Campaign expenses totaled $ 201,729, leaving Salango with a balance of $ 786,614.

State Senator Ron Stollings, a Boone County physician, raised $ 45,380 for the quarter and $ 224,933 in total. Stollings loaned $ 20,000 to his campaign and spent a total of $ 124,667, leaving him $ 119,403 in cash.


Republican Patrick Morrisey, sitting attorney general, has no main challenger. Of the. Isaac Sponaugle, a Pendleton County lawyer, and Samuel Petsonk, a Raleigh County lawyer, are both seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Morrisey in November.

Petsonk, the longest running candidate, raised $ 50,527 for the quarter for a total of $ 174,037 in campaign contributions since the start of the year. Petsonk has loaned $ 50,000 to his campaign, spent a total of $ 109,347 and has a balance of $ 86,439. Sponaugle, who entered the race in December of last year, raised $ 45,095 for the quarter. Sponaugle’s total contributions were $ 46,975 and he loaned $ 100,000 to his campaign. After spending $ 10,517, Sponaugle has a balance of $ 136,458.


Republican Kent Leonhardt, who is running for his second term as agriculture commissioner, will face Cabell County farmer Roy Ramey in the June primary.

Leonhardt, a retired United States Marine Corps officer and state senator from Monongalia County, raised $ 28,931 for the quarter for total contributions of $ 138,117. Leonhardt spent $ 42,445 and has a balance of $ 94,274. Ramey raised $ 1,220 during the quarter for a total of $ 2,540 in contributions and loaned $ 500 to his campaign. Expenses totaled $ 1,998, leaving Ramey with $ 192 on hand.

Three candidates are running for the Democratic nomination for the post of agriculture commissioner. State Senator Bob Beach of Monongalia County, a member of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has raised $ 1,070 for the quarter and $ 23,996 for the elections to date. Expenses totaled $ 20,307, leaving Beach with $ 1,271 on sale.

Dave Miller, former deputy agriculture commissioner to longtime Democratic Commissioner Gus Douglass, raised $ 1,538 in the quarter, giving him $ 3,826 in total contributions. After spending $ 3,550, Miller has $ 276 on hand. William Keplinger, a farmer in Hardy County, raised $ 10,469 for the quarter and spent $ 10,469, leaving him with no cash balance.


The June primary will serve as the general election for the non-partisan election of judges to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeal. The seats are divided into three divisions.

In District 1, Chief Justice Tim Armstead – who was appointed and then elected in 2018 to complete the term of former Judge Menis Ketchum – is running for a full 12-year term in the state’s highest court. Armstead raised $ 35,259 for the quarter, bringing it to $ 166,751 in total contributions. After spending $ 10,989, Armstead has a balance of $ 151,784.

Armstead is being challenged by Marshall County Circuit Court Judge David Hummel and former State Supreme Court Judge Richard Neely. Hummel raised $ 53,472 for the quarter and has $ 117,314 in total contributions. After spending $ 17,932, Hummel has $ 66,429 on hand. Neely, a prominent lawyer, primarily funds his campaign with a loan of $ 1.1 million. Neely raised $ 2,750, which earned her $ 86,878 in total contributions. He spent $ 118,923, leaving Neely with a balance of over $ 1 million.

The District 2 winner will take the seat vacated by retired judge Margaret Workman. Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Joanna Tabit raised $ 68,825 for the quarter, for a total of $ 336,565 in contributions. Tabit loaned $ 15,000 to his campaign, spent $ 77,471 and has $ 271,984 on hand.

Former state lawmaker Bill Wooten raised $ 30,585 for the quarter and loaned $ 1,500 to his campaign. He spent $ 2,655, leaving him with $ 4,033 on the cash register. Putnam County Assistant District Attorney Kris Rayne raised $ 11,986, which earned him $ 23,971 in total contributions. After spending $ 11,278, Raynes has $ 6,347 on hand. No report was available for Kanawha County Family Court Judge Jim Douglas.

In District 3, Judge John Hutchison is looking to fill the remaining four years of former Judge Allen Loughry’s 12-year term. The former Raleigh County judge was appointed by the court in late 2018. Hutchison raised $ 57,754 for the quarter, bringing him to $ 247,852 in total contributions. He loaned $ 5,000 to his campaign, spent $ 75,397 and has $ 175,291 in cash. Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Lora Dyer raised $ 4,885 during the quarter for a total of $ 12,556 in total contributions. She has loaned her campaign $ 1,762, spent $ 5,255 and has $ 9,067 on hand. There was no report available for Kanawha County attorney William Schwartz.

(Adams can be contacted at [email protected])

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