Democratic contender for Congress has good start
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A leading Democratic contender for the 2014 party nomination in the second congressional district race has raised nearly half a million dollars.
Nick Casey announced Monday he still has $420,000 on hand, all of which was raised since his campaign launched on April 30.
"I'm very pleased to have received such a strong backing from a wide-variety of people this early who are tired of the broken, dysfunctional politics of Washington," Casey said in a news release.
"It's clear that our message of cutting government waste and breaking the gridlock of Congress to create jobs is resonating and that is so humbling to me."
Casey, an attorney and former chairman of the state Democratic Party, chipped in more than 60 percent of the total amount raised.
The campaign raised between $460,000 to $470,000 April 30-June 30, Campaign Manager Derek Scarbro said. Casey contributed $300,000, Scarbro said.
Casey's press release made no mention of his own contributions. He said more than 89 percent of the campaign contributors came from within the state, and 75 percent came from within the second congressional district.
The campaign has spent $30,000 to $40,000, accounting for the difference in money raised and cash in hand, Scarbro said.
Larry Puccio, current state Democratic Party chairman, applauded Casey's campaign efforts.
"I think what Nick's done in working in communities allows folks to feel very comfortable supporting him," Puccio said.
The money is a good start this far out in the race, Puccio said. It's not enough: he didn't say how much he thought it would take to win the seat, but said the party warns any candidate a congressional race isn't cheap.
Casey is running for the seat currently occupied by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. The longtime Republican congresswoman announced in late 2012 she would vie for a spot in the U.S. Senate. Earlier this year, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., announced he would retire when his term ends in 2014.
Although several Republicans have said they'll run for the seat, no one has emerged as a leading contender for the nomination. State GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas said Republicans'a ren't worried.
"There's no amount of money in the world that can make up for the fact that Nick Casey has never been shy about his support for Barack Obama," Lucas said.
Lucas said he expects some official "high profile announcements" from interested candidates soon. He's confident the district is in Republican hands, regardless of their candidate.
"Our values align with West Virginians and (Casey's) do not," Lucas said.
Candidates for House and Senate are required to submit quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission. While the last three-month span ended June 30, candidates have until July 15 to file reports.
Casey's campaign is still working on the official report, but will meet the commission's deadline, according to the release.