State Election Commission Reviews Objections to Campaign Contributions


The State Election Commission, led by Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, has taken up objections to individual contributions for Supreme Court candidates seeking public campaign financing.

The commission reviewed 155 challenges to contributions to Justice Brent Benjamin’s campaign Wednesday. Those challenges all came from his campaign opponent Beth Walker.

Benjamin is attempting to obtain state public campaign financing for his 2016 re-election bid. The statute creating Public Campaign Financing requires that at least 500 contributions of $100 or less be gathered by candidates before they are eligible to receive the nearly $500,000 in additional funding from the State Election Commission.

2012 was the first year that candidate for the Supreme Court could apply for this public funding, but the only candidate to file, now Justice Allen Loughry, did not have any challenges to his contributions.

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said because there is no precedent is important that the commission gets it right.

“This is very important. Public financing is so important for the state of WV,” Tennant said. “Here we have to opportunity again to elect a Supreme Court justice under the public financing system that we have. We already have a sitting justice who was elected using public financing. I personally think as a citizen of WV, as the Secretary of State, I have seen the benefit of public financing.”

The State Election Commission will meet again Thursday to discuss an additional 365 challenges to the Benjamin campaign’s contributions.