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WV AG nominee spends $3M of own money

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Campaign finance records released Friday show that Democrat Doug Reynolds has now spent nearly $3 million of his own money on his campaign to become West Virginia’s next Attorney General.

The release of Reynolds’ most recent spending report comes at a time when Republican incumbent Patrick Morrisey’s campaign has spent more than $1 million and the Republican Attorneys General Association — a national group — has thrown down more than $5 million on Morrisey’s behalf.

The last-minute spending on both sides will likely make the race to become West Virginia’s top attorney the most expensive political campaign in West Virginia during in the 2016 election cycle.

The race between Reynolds, a millionaire businessman from Huntington, and Morrisey, who is running for his second term as Attorney General, has turned into one of the most negative campaigns this year.

Morrisey has attacked Reynolds for inheriting his money from his father, for donating money to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2007, and for not working as a practicing lawyer in recent years.

Reynolds has heaped criticism on Morrisey for settling lawsuits against opioid wholesalers and for not fully stepping aside in one of those lawsuits against Cardinal Health, which he and his wife once represented as a lobbyist.

Earlier this month, the two candidates met on the steps of the West Virginia Capitol for a disorganized debate in front of several dozen people, in which they largely rehashed the attack ads that have swamped television stations statewide.

 After that debate, Morrisey said that the only reason RAGA is spending millions of dollars on his behalf is to counter Reynolds’ personal spending.

Reynolds, who owns the Huntington Herald Dispatch newspaper and is the president of Energy Services of America, has contributed $1.6 million of his own money to his campaign since the beginning on September.

Meanwhile, RAGA — a group funded by coal operators, pharmaceutical companies and Republican donors Charles and David Koch — has spent $3.9 million on Morrisey’s behalf.

RAGA, which is not allowed to coordinate with Morrisey’s campaign, is being operated by Scott Will, who was Morrisey’s campaign manager when he defeated 20-year incumbent Darrell McGraw in 2012.

While Morrisey has attacked Reynolds for self-funding his run for office, campaign finance reports also show that Reynolds has given at least $6,050 to legislative candidates in West Virginia.

During the reporting period between June and September, Reynolds’ spending on legislative races would have made him one of the Democrats’ top individual contributors, along with West Virginia’s billionaire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice.

Reach Andrew Brown at [email protected], 304-348-4814 or follow @Andy_Ed_Brown on Twitter.

See more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail. 

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