CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito extended her substantial fundraising lead in West Virginia's U.S. Senate campaign over the past three months while also spending more than twice as much on the race than her Democratic rival raised in the same time period, according to federal campaign finance reports.
Capito and West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant are vying to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who announced in January that he would not seek a sixth term. Rockefeller's retirement has put a seat held by Democrats since 1958 in jeopardy.
Capito's quarterly campaign finance report shows she had $3.2 million cash on hand at the end of September, up from the $2.8 million cash on hand she had at the end of June. Tennant's campaign finance report shows she raised about $153,000 for the period ending Sept. 30, after announcing her candidacy about two weeks earlier. Her report says she spent about $2,000 of that. Capito's report says she has spent about $855,000 on the race so far, including nearly $400,000 in the past three months.
"From the day I first entered this race, we knew we could not win without a strong, grassroots campaign to carry us across the finish line. The fact that thousands of West Virginians have donated both their money and time to this campaign is truly humbling," Capito said in a written statement provided by her campaign.
Capito has had much longer to raise money and get her campaign off the ground than her competitors, announcing her candidacy for the 2014 election in December 2012.
Capito was in the West Virginia House of Delegates when she first ran for Congress in 2000. Her father, Arch Moore, had been Rockefeller's chief political rival several decades ago. Moore defeated Rockefeller in the 1972 race for governor, but then lost to him in a 1980 rematch.
While Democrats still outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin in voter registration, West Virginians have gone for Republicans in recent presidential elections and two of the three U.S. House seats are now held by Republicans. Capito won a seventh term in the House last fall with about 70 percent of her district's vote.
Brock Vergakis can be reached at http://twitter.com/BrockVergakis