CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — So far, over $30 million has been spent on campaign ads in West Virginia.
Independent contributions outweighed candidate spending this year.
As Election Day nears, the top three spending areas according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office were television, with $6,555,307, direct contributions, with $2,689,162
and advertising at $2,679,467.
Direct-mail advertising came in ninth place, with only $956,000.
“What we’re seeing a lot more this time is digital advertisements; so social media, still seeing TV, but some of the traditional advertising they’re not going with because of the President’s fear of the Postal Service,” said Tom Susman, a Charleston political consultant.
Susman says there’s a fight for control of the West Virginia state senate driving these third-party contributions who hope to place a candidate in office who will further their agenda.
In 2020 these top spenders were Mountain State Values, a labor Super PAC, with $2,220,321 spent, Mountaineer PAC, with $1,754,562 spent, and the Republican State Leadership Committee not far behind with $1,738,310.
While the Supreme Court has ruled that PACs and super PACs are fair game, falling under freedom of speech, Susman says they can be a problem for grassroots candidates.
“For a candidate who is out there raising money who is a grassroots candidate, who relies on $50 and $100 donations, it’s really tough for them to fight and get their message out when a third party who is not a candidate uses corporate or union money and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars – it just doesn’t seem fair.”