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W.Va. may not be done with public election funding

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 04:32 PM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia election officials believe future Supreme Court candidates should have the chance to campaign with public funds.

The State Election Commission plans to ask the Legislature to make permanent a public financing pilot program that operated during last year’s Supreme Court race.

The pilot offered an alternative to traditional campaign fundraising. Lawmakers created it in response to concerns about the public perception of contributions influencing the judiciary.

Just one candidate applied for the program and qualified to receive funds. That candidate, now-Justice Allen Loughry, won in the two-seat race.

Loughry’s victory is proof of the program’s worth to the election commission. But commissioners also noted the legal battle that erupted during Loughry’s campaign, over so-called rescue funds. Loughry was ultimately barred from receiving additional money from the program.