Dark Money is Making a Difference in W.Va. Elections

Oct 27, 2016

Voters in 27 states will cast their ballots for state Supreme Court justices when they head to the polls in November. In West Virginia, voters made their choice for the high court in May, something new for the state this election cycle, but a study from the Brennan Center for Justice says there is something else that was noteworthy about what happened in that primary.  

Anne Li reports, researchers are looking to West Virginia to prove that outside money really can sway a race.

Right, current Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, left, Delegate Doug Reynolds.
Credit West Virginia Attorney General's Office, West Virginia Legislative Services

One race where outside spending is making an impact is the race for Attorney General. Republican-incumbent Patrick Morrisey is up for re-election this year after considering and ultimately passing on a bid for governor. 

Morrisey is taking on Democratic Delegate Doug Reynolds, a Huntington attorney who also owns media and construction companies. Both have been on the attack in a race that some polls show is too close to call less than two weeks from Election Day.

In another statewide race, Mary Ann Claytor is a 20-year veteran of the West Virginia Auditor’s Office and says that experience makes her the right choice for the top job.

Claytor worked with local and county governments to audit their books while working for the state, making sure everything was in line for them to receive necessary federal funds. If elected, Claytor would become the first African American to hold statewide office in West Virginia, but the race for auditor is getting far less attention than others.