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GOP candidates file spending reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Four candidates for statewide office, all Republicans, have filed the first general election campaign financial disclosures with the secretary of state's office, ahead of today's deadline for all candidates to submit the reports.The reports cover all fundraising and expenses from May 21 through Sept. 23.Of the four early filers, Sen. Mike Hall, R-Putnam, has the biggest war chest in his campaign to unseat state Treasurer John Perdue.Hall raised a total of $23,851 in contributions and fundraisers during the period, and also loaned his campaign $50,000.He received $1,000 contributions from former Republican state senators Sarah Minear and Frank Deem, $1,000 from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney, and a total of $1,000 from U.S. Senate candidate John Raese.Hall has spent a total of $19,200 during the period, including $8,704 with Capitol Communications Group of St. Albans, $5,536 with Inside Out Creative of Charleston, and $2,070 in fees to political consultant Stephen Reed.Hall has a campaign balance of $65,541.Second among the early filers is Kent Leonhardt, a retired Marine officer who operates a farm in western Monongalia County, running for agriculture commissioner.Leonhardt reported contributions and fundraisers totaling $22,272, and has loaned his campaign $40,000.Leonhardt received a $1,000 contribution and an endorsement from the West Virginia Farm PAC, as well as $500 contributions from Raese and from Cleve Benedict, the last Republican who served as agriculture commissioner from 1989 to 1993, when Gus Douglass stepped down to run for governor in 1988.
Leonhardt's largest reported expense is a total of $10,718 in mileage reimbursements to himself for campaign travel. He has also spent a total of $5,652 at Signs Plus in Morgantown, and $4,000 in consulting fees to New Strategies Group of Houston, Texas. He has a balance of $21,030.Leonhardt's disclosure also shows an affinity for meals at the Sheetz convenience store chain, with no less than nine visits for breakfast and lunch listed, including a July 14 lunch with his campaign manager -- at a total cost of $8.43.Circuit Judge John Yoder, running for one of two open seats on the state Supreme Court, reported contributions of $9,595 and expenses of $6,867 for the reporting period.Larger contributions include $500 from Raese, and $1,000 from Amherst Industries president Charles Jones.Yoder, a former state senator, spent about $6,000 in the 2010 special election to fill a vacancy on the high court, nearly upsetting Justice Thomas McHugh.
Yoder listed expenses of $2,720 for signs and campaign materials at the Victory Store in Davenport, and $1,070 in fees to Lazarus Strategic Communications, a public relations firm that Stephen Reed operates.Finally, former 12-term delegate and frequent candidate for statewide office, Larry Faircloth, reported raising $462 in his race against incumbent state Auditor Glen Gainer.His largest contribution was $200 from the Ritchie County Republican Executive Committee.Faircloth reported expenses of $135 and a balance of $1,707 as of Sept. 23.Reach Phil Kabler at or 304-348-1220.
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