The race for West Virginia’s Governor continues to set campaign finance records. At this point in the 2020 race Governor Justice and Woody Thrasher had raised and spent a fraction of the amount in play in the current governor’s race.
The top four candidates for Governor have been actively raising money but have yet to deploy major advertising campaigns upon the WV Republican voters. While both Moore Capito and Patrick Morrisey are operating on $1 million plus reserves ahead of advertising season, businessman Chris Miller has amassed a war chest of over $3.6 million, more than all the other candidates combined.
These funds are typically used in addition to third-party spending in support of candidates. These third parties largely represent special interest groups (PACs) and include groups like accused environmental polluter Koch Industries’ Americans For Prosperity, anti-Trump group Club For Growth, and labor unions.
PAC activity has already begun as Black Bear PAC which was established to support Patrick Morrisey’s campaign recently started sending mailers promoting Morrisey. Black Bear PAC senior advisor Scott Will is also his former campaign manager. Despite the messaging to West Virginia voters, Black Bear PAC is also funded by the anti-Trump group Club For Growth. The group spent $187,278 on direct mail and digital advertising in September in support of Patrick Morrisey.
One of the mailers famously misspelled West Virginia, twice.
Miller noted in a press release 92% of donations to his campaign originated from inside West Virginia. Black Bear PAC received more than $2 million from the anti-Trump group Club For Growth. Ironically Black Bear PAC uses pro-Trump communications firms for consulting services on West Virginia voters, leveraging the state’s love for the former President.