CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has not raised nearly as much money so far this campaign season, as compared to past elections.
According to campaign finance records available on the Secretary of State’s website, McGraw has raised $17,000 less than at this point in 2004 and nearly $28,000 less than at this point in 2008.
In 2004, McGraw’s post-primary report showed $121,113.28 in total contributions year-to-date.
McGraw faced Republican Hiram Lewis, a Morgantown attorney, to retain his post as the state’s top lawyer. That year, he defeated Lewis by only 6,000 votes out of 710,000 cast.
In 2008, McGraw’s post-primary report showed $131,995.08 in total contributions year-to-date.
McGraw faced Republican Dan Greear, a Charleston attorney, that year. Greear lost by a mere 3,300 votes out of some 670,000 cast.
Compare those numbers to this year’s post-primary report, which showed $104,075.29 in total contributions year-to-date.
Each report was filed with the Secretary of State’s Office following the state’s primary elections. This year’s primary was held May 8.
The general election is Nov. 6.
This time around, McGraw is facing Republican Patrick Morrisey, an attorney from the state’s Eastern Panhandle.
According to Morrisey’s post-primary report, his campaign showed $252,482.64 in total contributions year-to-date.
That’s nearly $150,000 more than McGraw, who has held the office of attorney general since 1992.
Morrisey also raised significantly more funds during the last reporting period — $79,735.31 compared to McGraw’s $10,250.
A bulk of Morrisey’s funds — $68,990.31 worth — came from individual contributions.
The remainder came from two fundraising events — one held at Charleston City Council member and Bowles Rice McDavid Graff and Love LLP partner Tom Lane’s home in May, and a meet-and-greet at Morrisey’s D.C. law firm King and Spalding, also held in May.
As for McGraw’s $10,250, almost all of it — $9,250 — came from contributions of more than $250.
Of those contributors, most came from beer distributors. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, based in Huntington, also donated $1,000.
“Why should Darrell McGraw focus on private fundraising when he can keep dipping into his office piggy bank to campaign? The fact is that McGraw may spend over $1 million in taxpayer money on self-promotional items and paid advertising this year alone,” said Scott Will, Morrisey’s campaign manager. “His election year spending will likely be close to ten times higher than non-election years.
“His abuse of tax dollars is born out of pure desperation, and likely to get worse as we move closer to Election Day.”
Will said Morrisey isn’t the only person who has noticed this.
“Even prominent Democrats such as Corey Palumbo and Roman Prezioso know that McGraw’s abuse of taxpayer money is wrong,” Will said. “The fact is virtually every time you see or hear McGraw’s name advertised, the taxpayers pay for that privilege.
“He had no campaign staff as of May 20th and almost no campaign expenses. He’s relying upon taxpayer money to travel to campaign and uses state literature to hand out to voters. It’s wrong on every level.”
Morrisey also has significantly more cash-on-hand than McGraw, according to the May reports.
The GOP candidate reported a cash balance of $242,579.87, while McGraw reported having $96,185.86.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the next report, or general first report, is due Sept. 24-28.
A pre-general report is then due Oct. 22-26, and a post-general report is due Nov. 19-Dec. 19.
Will stressed that he thinks this election will be different than recent battles for the AG’s office.
“Voters are tired of McGraw’s unethical use of their money, his enthusiastic support of President Obama and his unwillingness to take on Obama’s job-killing policies,” Will said. “West Virginia voters are telling us they want Patrick Morrisey as Attorney General because he has the right background to protect health care for our most vulnerable, aggressively defend coal jobs and eliminate government waste.”
Calls and emails to McGraw’s campaign were not returned.