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W.Va. congressional incumbents have early, big fundraising advantages

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Republican incumbents in West Virginia’s congressional delegation are outpacing Democratic challengers in early fundraising.

Fundraising reports are one way of assessing what resources campaigns have to get their messages out.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has already started to build significant funding. Her campaign raised $485,000 during the most recent federal reporting period and now has $2.38 million cash on hand.

For the year so far, Capito’s campaign has raised $1.8 million.

“Senator Capito is grateful for the the support she has received in her race for reelection,” stated campaign spokesman Kent Gates. “The campaign is in a strong position to share her record working for West Virginians with voters leading up to the next year’s election.”

Her challengers have less financial support so far.

Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin, who ran for Senate in 2018 in the primary against Senator Joe Manchin, raised $48,000 during the most recent filing period. Swearengin’s campaign has $33,614 on hand.

Republican Allen Whitt announced a primary challenge to Capito last week, so recently that the campaign did not file a fundraising report. Whitt leads the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, an organization that opposes abortion and gay marriage.

Yet another declared candidate for U.S. Senate, unaffiliated Franklin Bruce Riley, did not appear to have filed anything aside from a statement of candidacy.

The Federal Elections Commission deadline to file quarterly campaign finance reports for congressional races was Oct. 15. In many ways, election season is just getting started.

While West Virginia’s congressional delegation generally has an established campaign track record, the Democratic challengers are relatively new to seeking public office.

Marybeth Beller

“Looking at the data here, I think what we’ve got isn’t as much party divide as incumbent advantage. All these incumbents have had a lot more time to make contacts to secure pledges and for actual donations to come in,” said Marybeth Beller, a political science professor at Marshall University.

But recent political trends in West Virginia also appear to be affecting these races, Beller said. Rather than attracting candidates who have held elected office at lower levels, the Democratic congressional candidates are largely political newcomers.

“We’re a very red state now, and a lot of these incumbents have big followings so it’s going to be difficult for challengers to amass that amount,” Beller said.

In races for the House of Representatives, Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., reports $89,520 raised during the period. McKinley’s campaign in the 1st Congressional District has $440,631 cash on hand.

Natalie Cline, the Democratic challenger in that race, raised $3,575 during the period and has $779 on hand.

In the 2nd Congressional District, Congressman Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., raised $227,787 during the period and his campaign has $1,611,964 on hand.

Democratic challenger Cathy Kunkel raised $59,833 during the period and has $46,392 on hand.

Kunkel’s campaign is a good example of what the other Democratic challengers are up against, Beller said.

“While her numbers are considerably lower, she’s very new to this in terms of fundraising,” Beller said. “So I don’t think it’s a good comparison given that incumbent advantage.”

In the 3rd Congressional District, Congresswoman Carol Miller, R-W.Va., raised $94,046 during the period. Her campaign reports $96,089 on hand.

Miller is a first-term representative. She has two Democratic challengers, according to FEC filings.

Hilary Turner, one of the Democrats running in that district, listed $773 raised during the reporting period and has $577 cash on hand.

Lacy Watson, another Democrat, had no apparent fillings aside from a statement of candidacy.



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SBA officials set to be in Charleston for multiple days

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — White House-appointees from the U.S. Small Business Administration will be in Charleston this week to promote the agency’s dedication to helping small businesses start, grow, and expand.

According to a release, officials will be at the Women & Technology Conference on Monday at the Embassy Suites Hotel. SBA White House appointee and National Director of Rural Affairs, Michelle Christian and SBA West Virginia District Director, Karen Friel will speak, with remarks scheduled around 1:15 pm.

On Tuesday, SBA West Virginia Deputy District Director George Murray will hold a presentation around 3:30 p.m. at the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs Minority Business Expo. The expo is being held at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

SBA’s Acting Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Steve Bulger will speak in Charleston on Wednesday at the SBA Access to Capital Forum. The event is being held at the Sam Bowling Conference Center

SBA said nearly 99% of businesses in West Virginia are small and make up more than 49% of the private workforce.

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International Charity Fraud Awareness Week begins Monday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — International Charity Fraud Awareness Week in West Virginia begins on Monday.

To kick the week off, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner will join Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and statewide nonprofit organizations for a proclamation signing and press conference in Charleston.

According to a release, during the presser at the WV One Stop Business Center, Warner and Morrisey will speak about their roles in protecting charities and consumers from fraud.

Leaders from AARP-West Virginia, Philanthropy-West Virginia, and the Non-Profit Association of West Virginia will also speak along with signing the proclamation recognizing the annual occasion.

The event gets underway at 10 a.m.

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Clarksburg man wanted in several states captured in Ohio

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A Harrison County man wanted in multiple states was taken into custody in Ohio late Friday.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service said Robert Vaughn Evans, 52 of Clarksburg, was arrested around 5:15 p.m. by in Marietta by Marshals.

In West Virginia, Evans was sought by the state parole office for violating the terms of his parole, including absconding from supervision. He was on parole due to prior convictions in Harrison County for assault.

Evans is alleged to have absconded from West Virginia parole supervision around February, according to the Marshal’s office.

He was also alleged to have gone on a multi-state crime spree in Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Evans has been charged in seven of those states, ranging from larceny, theft of a vehicle, and bank robbery, according to a release.

The U.S. Marshal’s office said that Evans is being held at the North Central Regional Jail in Marshal custody but will also face extradition to the other states where he has been charged.

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Gold star means West Virginia licenses are good for federal ID

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — By next October, a federal REAL ID driver’s license, ID card or other approved identification alternative, like a passport, will be required to board a plane or enter a federal building in the United States.

REAL ID driver’s licenses are designated by gold stars.


This is an example of a REAL ID driver’s license.

Those not compliant are labeled “Not For Federal Identification” and have no gold stars.

In general, the following documents are required for a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card:

– one proof of identity, like a birth certificate;
– one proof of Social Security number;
– two documents proving West Virginia residency;
– proof of legal presence if not a U.S. citizen;
– and documents detailing name changes, in some cases.

A full list of acceptable documents was available HERE.

There is a $10 fee.

For flying, the requirement applies to every air traveler over the age of 18.

“You don’t have to wait until close to (next) October. You can actually renew your driver’s license up to two years ahead of time,” said Natalie Holcomb, public information specialist for the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

Holcomb estimated about 40 percent of West Virginians already have compliant licenses or ID cards.

The state began issuing REAL ID licenses in Jan. 2012. Since then, drivers have had a choice in ID forms.

“We have been ready for many years,” Holcomb said.

“Now the federal government has decided that is the official cutoff (Oct. 1, 2020), the official deadline for when they’re going to begin starting to enforce it.”

Other states have lagged with implementation.

Nationwide, it’s estimated 27 percent of residents have REAL IDs.

The REAL ID Act, which Congress passed in 2005, included the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

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Health organizations take part in addiction conference

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Multiple West Virginia health organizations were in Morgantown last week taking part in a conference on drug addiction, recovery and counseling.

The Appalachian Addiction and Prescription Drug Abuse Conference featured a program discussion, which was made possible by the work of the West Virginia Board of Medicine and West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine among other health organizations.

Dr. Brad Hall, the president and executive director of the West Virginia Society of Addiction Medicine, says things are improving.

“Everybody knows we have an epidemic going on, but I believe West Virginia is also an epidemic of the solution,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of things right over the years — some of the numbers don’t quite reflect that — but it’s definitely going in the right direction.”

Highlights of the conference include an update on 12-step programs, anti-stigma efforts and responses to addiction.

“Part of addiction — whether it’s sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, TV, gaming, iPhone and other behaviors — is somewhat of an attempt to fix an internal hole with an external solution,” Hall noted.

The conference also focused on the importance of spirituality, which Hall said gives people an understanding to enable them to handle difficult situations.

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Photo gallery: Riverside holds off South Charleston 36-33

QUINCY, W.Va. — Photos from Riverside’s 36-33 win over South Charleston.

(Photos courtesy of Chuck Roberts)

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Fiery crash kills 2 in Wheeling

WHEELING, W. Va. — Two people were killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 470 in Wheeling Saturday afternoon.

Police said two tractor trailers and an SUV were involved in the collision in the eastbound lanes near the 3-mile marker. One of the tractor trailers caught on fire.

The names of the victims were not immediately released. One was believed to be driving one of the tractor trailers  The other driving the SUV.

One of the big rigs was hauling toilet paper and the other ranch salad dressing.

Authorities closed Interstate 470 to both cleanup and reconstruct the accident. Traffic was being diverted onto I-70 through downtown Wheeling. Some traffic caught directly behind the crash was turned around and allowed to exit going the wrong way on the interstate. 

I-470 remained closed at 8:30 p.m. and police reported it would be closed for a few more hours. There were no delays reported on I-70.

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Tough guy Austin Kendall is just the leader West Virginia needs


NORMAN, Okla. — Forget about the stats.

West Virginia is not in win-now mode, as Saturday’s 52-14 drubbing at Oklahoma pounded home for anyone somehow still unaware this is the case. This is a young football team being thrown into a shark tank with a wetsuit made out of chum.

For a group of players realistically vying to turn West Virginia back into a winner circa 2021, leadership and toughness are the necessary traits required to ride through the present choppy waters. And quarterback Austin Kendall delivers those qualities in quantities that could be packaged up and sold at a Costco.

A week ago, Kendall couldn’t even lift his arm above his head as he staggered to the sidelines after getting crushed by an Iowa State blitzer, throwing his right pectoral muscle out of whack. Doesn’t mean he didn’t try to get back in, though.

“I tried throwing, I just didn’t have any kind of velocity on the ball,” Kendall said. “I even tried to go back out there, but they were like ‘We’re not going to put you back out there if you can’t even throw a 10-yard out-route because it’s just going to turn out bad.’ I agreed with them, so I just cheered on my teammates.”

On Tuesday, Brown declared that Kendall wasn’t going to play unless he was 100 percent. Contingency plans were made, including one with a heavy dosage of Trey Lowe. (There was also a plan for a light dosage of Lowe even with Kendall starting, but Oklahoma got ahead too quickly for the Mountaineers to use that plan).

“Coach Brown was like if you’re not 100 percent, you’re not playing in this game,” Kendall said. “So I did everything I could to feel 100 percent.”

The following day Kendall convinced Brown he was ready to go even if it meant adding a percentage point or 20 to how he was actually feeling.

“Wednesday I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m 100 percent, coach,'” Kendall said.

Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Kenneth Murray (9) sits on West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall (12) during the game at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Kendall says the credit goes to West Virginia’s training staff, and of course that’s true. But he has plenty to do with it, too. He’s been playing with a sleeve over his left knee all season. He’s had to wrap his throwing hand since getting stitches in the Missouri game. He even had to spend a stint in the hospital when that cut got infected the week prior playing Texas.

“He’s a tough kid,” said co-offensive coordinator Matt Moore. “He was so bound and determined to play this game. He wasn’t going to back down. He wanted to come compete against his old teammates, and you’ve got to respect that.”

When West Virginia’s coaching staff spoke of contingency plans on Tuesday, they weren’t blowing smoke to distract the Sooners. They really doubted that Kendall could play. He showed them otherwise.

“He had every opportunity to say ‘Oh no, my arm hurts. I’m not going to play this week,'” Moore said. “But that’s not the kind of kid he is. He’s a competitor. He didn’t care that it was a Top-5 nationally ranked team. He was going to come here and compete. And he did. He competed hard. I really respect that kid. A really tough kid.”

The numbers don’t show that Kendall did anything extraordinary. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes (15 of 31) and finished with 182 passing yards — though as has been the case every game this year, he was also plagued by drops from his inexperienced receivers.

He was also hurt by the fact Oklahoma could play the pass pretty much every down in the second half. West Virginia’s running game continues to be stuck in the mud as the Mountaineers finished with 51 yards on 30 carries.

Those numbers don’t matter as much as this: Kendall is teaching West Virginia’s freshmen what a gamer looks like. If they’re paying attention, there will come a day when that lesson pays off.

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Oklahoma blows past overmatched and banged-up West Virginia

NORMAN, Okla. — The last time West Virginia beat Oklahoma in a football game, the coach exhorted the Mountaineers to leave no doubt.

Saturday afternoon, it was the Sooners leaving no doubt: Oklahoma (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) is one of the top five teams in the country, and the climb that Neal Brown is asking West Virginia fans to trust is as steep as anyone could have imagined.

After giving themselves a puncher’s chance in the first half, the increasingly thin Mountaineers (3-4, 1-3) were overwhelmed by the bigger, stronger and faster Sooners in a 52-14 defeat at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Oklahoma outscored WVU 24-0 in the second half.

“That’s a championship-level football team in the other locker room,” said West Virginia coach Neal Brown. “They’ve got all of the ingredients to make a run. It was a struggle all day for us. We were outplayed and honestly outmanned at several positions.

“For this to be a competitive game we needed to play clean, which we didn’t. We had to run the ball, which we couldn’t. We had to force some turnovers, which we didn’t. We had to minimize explosive plays, which we couldn’t do.”

In some regards, the Mountaineers were a one-armed man playing with that hand tied behind his back.

Linebacker Josh Chandler was moved to the Mike to improve West Virginia’s fortunes at that position, but exited the game with a knee injury playing on the punt unit. Former Mike linebacker Dylan Tonkery was moved to bandit to help West Virginia’s depth at that position in the absence of VanDarius Cowan, who is out for the rest of the year after injuring his knee against Iowa State.

Starting cornerback Keith Washington missed the second straight game with an injury, forcing the Mountaineers to switch safety Josh Norwood back to his old position while freshman safety Kerry Martin started his first career game.

Late in the first half, walk-on Devan Wade ended up replacing freshman corner Nicktroy Fortune before the Mountaineers finally got senior Hakeem Bailey back from his first-half suspension for a targeting foul.

Even with a fully functioning unit, the Mountaineers would have had a hard time slowing down Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts.

The graduate transfer connected on his first 11 pass attempts and finished the game 16 of 17 for 316 yards and three touchdowns. His passer rating of 308.5 is the highest in the NCAA this season and the second-best single-game showing in Oklahoma history.

If that wasn’t enough — and it was — Hurts also gained 75 yards on 10 carries and added another pair of touchdowns with his feet.

“He’s been this good since he started playing,” said West Virginia wide receiver T.J. Simmons, a former teammate of Hurts at Alabama.

Simmons had a fine game in his own right, catching six passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns. His 6-yard reception with 29 seconds left in the second quarter cut Oklahoma’s lead to 28-14 and had the Mountaineers feeling good going into halftime.

It didn’t take long for the Sooners to evaporate those vibes.

Oklahoma only faced second down once on its six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the second half. The next time the Sooners touched the ball, it took all of two plays to score again. Sam James muffed the ensuing kickoff, forcing West Virginia to start a possession at its own 2-yard line. That miscue begat the play that turned the game into a complete laugher — a blocked punt that Oklahoma’s Austin Stogner recovered in the end zone.

It was the third straight miserable third quarter for West Virginia’s offense. The Mountaineers gained 27 yards and two first downs. In its last three third quarters combined, West Virginia has produced 74 yards of total offense.

“We’ve been here before as a staff, and it’s good when you have guys around you that know where you’re going and know where you are,” said co-offensive coordinator Matt Moore, referencing Brown’s 3-9 first season at Troy. “Sometimes when you’ve never been here before, you don’t always believe. I believe 100 percent in what Coach Brown’s doing and how we’re doing it.

“We’re going to keep grinding and make sure our kids understand the same way. We’re going to keep grinding and keep recruiting, keep working in the weight room. We’re going to get this where it needs to be.”

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