Huge disparity in WV gubernatorial fundraising

Steve Williams started his campaign for West Virginia Governor as a long shot, and the most recent campaign finance reports do nothing to change his status. If anything, Huntington’s Democratic Mayor is even farther behind in his effort to upset Republican nominee Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Williams’ campaign financial statement shows he raised $46,010 in the second quarter, while his year-to-date contributions total $81,746.41. After campaign-related spending, he has $52,846.39 on hand.

Steve Williams

If Williams were running for re-election as Huntington’s Mayor, he would be in decent shape, but he is not.  He is a candidate for statewide office who is not well known outside of Huntington.

Williams’ fundraising looks even more paltry when compared with his opponent. Morrisey’s campaign financial statement shows he raised $1,984,056 in the second quarter alone. The Morrisey campaign says that is “the most money raised by a West Virginia Gubernatorial candidate in a single fundraising quarter.

Morrisey is a relentless fundraiser. His campaign has collected $5.3 million since last year and has over $1 million cash on hand. His fundraising is broad-based with over 14,000 individual contributions just in the second quarter and 93 percent of those are under $250.

But that isn’t all.

Morrisey has the solid backing of conservative PACS. The Black Bear PAC alone raised and spent $13-million on Morrisey’s successful Primary Election campaign, and it will support him in the fall.

Patrick Morrisey

There is a paradoxical aspect to campaign fundraising. Contributors are more likely to write checks to candidates that have demonstrated they can raise money. Candidates who need the money the most have the hardest time convincing donors to pony up.

Williams finds himself in the latter category, and his challenge is even greater because West Virginia has gone so deeply red. Meanwhile, Morrisey as the frontrunner with the much deeper war chest, is drawing in even more campaign dollars from donors who want to be on the side of the candidate they believe will win.

It is not easy to convince individuals to give you money, and most candidates do not enjoy the fundraising aspect of a campaign. However, it is an integral part of any campaign. The candidate with the most money does not always win, but it is impossible to win without money.

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