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Out-of-state donations fuel Mooney's campaign

Gazette-Mail file photo Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va.

A vast majority of the individuals fueling Rep. Alex Mooney's re-election campaign hail from well outside West Virginia's borders.

According to disclosures his campaign made to the Federal Election Commission, released this week, 14 West Virginians donated a total of $8,200 to his re-election bid between April 1 and June 30, roughly 7 percent of the $110,211 he's raised from individuals in that time. This does not include an additional $9,523 in non-itemized, or small, donations.

Donors from California filled the bulk of Mooney's coffers, giving $53,661 to his campaign.

They're followed by $21,000 from Florida donors, $6,200 from Virginia donors, $5,650 from Illinois donors, $5,400 from Vermont donors and $4,250 from Maryland donors.

This continues a pattern evident in the first-quarter fundraising report, in which the Republican disclosed that six West Virginia donors gave $4,000 total to his campaign, roughly 4 percent of his haul for that quarter.

In that Jan. 1 through March 30 window, individual Maryland donors gave $21,400 for his re-election efforts; Virginia donors gave $21,350; California donors gave $15,710; Massachusetts donors gave $12,050; and Florida donors gave $8,420.

Coupled with $92,350 in contributions from political action committees and $500 from political party contributions during the second quarter of 2017, Mooney has $725,474 in cash-on-hand for re-election efforts.

According to a July 2015 Gazette-Mail report, Mooney's money came predominantly from out of state during that election cycle, as well, although to a lesser extent. Around this time in 2015, Mooney had raised $89,918 from West Virginians, roughly 41 percent of his total donations.

Ted Dacey, a spokesman for Mooney's campaign, said the congressman is raising the money to prepare for “liberal attacks.”

“The congressman is routinely targeted by [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi for defeat,” Dacey said. “San Francisco and New York Democrats repeatedly contribute to try to defeat him. Polls show that West Virginians support Mooney's conservative policies and [his] focus on job creation. So for now, the congressman is raising money to prepare for the latest liberal attacks.”

According to his campaign disbursements disclosed in the report, Mooney spent $743 at the Hilton Los Angeles, $262 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Jacksonville, Florida, and $1,635 at the Hotel Hershey, in Pennsylvania.

Dacey said hotel and travel expenses are common for campaigns.

Thus far, two Democrats have announced plans to run against Mooney, although neither has begun raising money, according to the FEC's database.

Aside from Mooney, this week's FEC disclosures were quiet for a still-young House race.

In the 1st District, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., has raised $249,549 this election cycle, leaving him with $605,615 in cash-on-hand.

In the 3rd District, state Delegate Rupie Phillips, R-Logan, has raised $19,956, leaving him with $13,828 in cash-on-hand in his U.S. House bid. This puts him at an early advantage over state Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, who raised $2,965, leaving him with $1,442 in cash-on-hand. The two of them announced plans in May to run for the seat expected to be vacated by Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., when he runs to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Reach Jake Zuckerman at jake.zuckerman@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4814 or follow @jake_zuckerman on Twitter.

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