The West Virginia Election Commission supports the continuation of the campaign public financing project used in the race for state Supreme Court.
The commission decided Thursday to urge the state legislature to continue the program. The commission will issue a report to lawmakers next month.
“It was a good program and I think it was successful as far as it went,” commission member Gary Collias said. “There were some legal issues with part of the program but the rest of it seemed to work well. You can say it succeeded beyond the expectations of most people.”
Only one candidate for the High Court, Allen Loughry, signed up for public financing. He collected approximately $380,000 but a Supreme Court ruling prevented him from collecting much more. Loughry still was able to win a spot on the Supreme Court finishing second in the race for two open seats.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant says the financing project had some growing pains but it should continue.
“There were some challenges and obstacles but we were able to work through that,” she said. “There are some folks that have some wonderful ideas who may feel they never have the opportunity if they don’t have the correct funding to have their voices heard. So this is an opportunity to hear those voices.”
The project has a $2.6 million surplus. The money is scheduled to go back into the state’s general revenue fund June 30 unless the legislature decides to continue the program.