Randy Yohe Published

W.Va. Campaign Finance Reporting For Governor’s Race

Stacks of $100 bills are seen stacked on top of another.
Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot whittles down to a cash value of a little more than $750 million.

With more than 10 months until the May 2024 primary elections, several West Virginia candidates for governor have campaign fundraising operations in full swing.  

The deadline for quarterly campaign finance reports turned into the Secretary of State’s office was this past Friday.  

Fundraising numbers this early will show tiers of support and resources that candidates use to develop their campaigns.

Gov. Jim Justice is up against term limits and running for U.S. Senate, setting up a wide field of Republican gubernatorial candidates, no Democrat has announced as of yet.

In the race for governor, Republican Attorney General Patrick Morriseyreported raising $1.3 million for the second quarter 2023 fundraising period. 

Morrisey reported spending $294,386 on his campaign so far overall – and has $1,084,305 cash still on hand.

House Judiciary chairman Del. Moore Capito, R-Kanawha, is running for governor. The son of U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., reported $288,329 in contributions during the period. Capito has raised a little more than $1 million overall and has spent about $124,000 leaving him with a little more than $948,000 on hand.

Republican auditor and gubernatorial candidate J.B. McCuskey reported $120,374 in contributions over the period. Reports show his campaign has brought in $648,233 overall, spending $236,247, leaving $412,082 available.

Republican Secretary of State Mac Warner, a candidate for governor, reported raising a little more than $96,000 during the reporting period.  Warner reported raising more than $324,689 overall so far, and spent more than $125,313 — leaving $194,509 cash on hand.

The first to get into the governor’s race was auto dealer Chris Miller. He’s the Republican son of U.S. Rep. Carol Miller. His second quarter campaign fundraising numbers are not yet on the SOS website. A press release from Miller announced raising over $3.8 million since the start of the campaign, with 93 percent of contributions coming from within West Virginia. The release said Miller now has nearly $3.5 million cash on hand after raising $316,182 last quarter.

According to a recent poll sponsored by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, frontrunners Morrisey and Capito are neck and neck. The poll shows Morrisey at 31 percent and Capito at 30 percent. Mac Warner had nine percent, Chris Miller had five percent, J.B. McCuskey had three percent, while five percent said they would support another candidate and 17 percent were unsure.

WVU Political Science Department Chair John Kilwein said early fundraising numbers don’t necessarily go hand in hand with early polling numbers. 

“Chris Miller raised just over $600,000, but there’s only a five percent poll showing,” Kilwein said. “That comes from a name but as a representative number, that’s a little bit surprising. It’s also surprising to me that Mac Warner is only nine percent in the poll and raised just over $300,000.”

Rashida Yost, a Republican candidate for governor from Martinsburg, raised $8,100 during the period. Yost has $8,593 on hand overall.

Former Republican delegate Marshall Wilson, running for governor under the America Coming Together party, reports $915 on hand.

Kilwein said candidate campaign expenditures at this time in the election cycle become geared to raising poll numbers incrementally. 

“If you do have that money in your back pocket as the Chamber’s first polling is the first cut, it is just a snapshot,” Kilwein said. “If you do have $600,000, you’re going to try to get your name out there and try to bump that 5 percent up to double digits, and get into those two frontrunners.”

West Virginia’s 2024 primary election is May 14.