Jefferson County is also home to several of the priciest House races.
Democrat Stephen Skinner has spent $45,000 to Republican Elliot Simon's $16,200 in a bid to succeed retiring Democratic Delegate John Doyle. Theirs is the top House race for per-seat spending. Delegate Tiffany Lawrence, a Democrat, and Jill Upson had each spent around $20,000, but the GOP challenger had more than twice as much left on hand, $30,000. Democrat John Maxey, meanwhile, has outspent Republican Paul Espinosa by nearly 2-1 in the county's new single-seat district.
Lawyer John McCuskey remains the top House fundraiser, with nearly $61,000. He's among four Republicans running in Kanawha County's 35th District, seeking to unseat one or more of its three incumbent Democrats. That four-seat race also has major spenders with Democratic Delegate Bobby Hatfield, GOP nominee Suzette Raines and former state tax commissioner Chris Morris, a Democrat.
Republican Joshua Nelson has spent more than $22,000 to the $10,300 from Delegate Larry Barker, D-Boone, in their single-seat race. Coal interests have aided Nelson as well as the GOP's Randy Smith as he challenges Delegate Stan Shaver. Smith has outspent Shaver, a Preston County Democrat, by nearly 3-1 and had twice the campaign balance as of Oct. 21.
Non-candidate groups have targeted all of these races and others, with the $480,000 they've spent split roughly down the middle as the two parties jockey for control.
The GOP-run West Virginia House Political Action Committee had just $2,100 on hand Oct. 21, according to its report for the filing period. But it has since spent $104,000 in last-minute ads attacking Democratic legislative candidates or promoting Republicans, according to reports posted last week by the Secretary of State's office.
The state AFL-CIO has devoted $154,210 toward ads targeting Republicans and promoting Democrats. Other major non-candidate spenders include the pro-Democratic West Virginia Building & Construction Trades, accounting for $73,000 of the total, and the Republican GOPAC West Virginia, with $48,000.
These interest groups are also key sources for campaign contributions. The Building & Construction Trades PAC, for instance, has provided $70,000 mostly to Democrats, while the state Regional Council of Carpenters has given $43,000. Democrats are also the prime beneficiaries of $57,000 distributed by the PAC for plaintiffs' lawyers.
Candidates have received $36,000 from West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, with three-fourths of that aiding Republicans. The corporate law firm of Steptoe & Johnson has given $22,500 with 70 percent of that going to Democrats. Other groups have given roughly the same amount to each party, including the state Auto and Truck Dealers Association, which has contributed $29,000, and the state Hospital Association, which has donated $32,600.