A super PAC supporting West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the GOP Senate primary is pouring money into mail and digital efforts ahead of the May 8 primary.
The super PAC is launching digital ads that accuse Jenkins of running for office as a “liberal Democrat.” The ad tries to tie Jenkins to former President Barack Obama, alternating between their faces on screen. The super PAC is running 15- and six-second versions of the ad. FEC reports show the super PAC spending $72,000 on placed media in March so far. The super PAC says the ads are backed by an initial six-figure digital buy.
35th PAC dropped its first two statewide mail pieces attacking Jenkins last week and has now circulated three pieces statewide. Reports filed with the FEC so far this month show the group spending $60,000 on direct mail.
An automated poll commissioned by Jenkins and conducted by Harper Polling March 5-6 showed Jenkins ahead with 29 percent of likely GOP primary voters, followed by Blankenship with 27 percent and Morrisey with 19 percent. Just last month, another Harper poll for Jenkins gave him a 33 percent to 25 percent edge over Morrisey among likely GOP primary voters. A late October poll commissioned by 35th PAC put Morrisey at 40 percent to Jenkins’ 34 percent, with 26 percent of likely primary voters undecided.
WATCH: Democrats’ Success in Pennsylvania 18 Not Repeatable, Ryan says
Morrisey finished 2017 with $1.1 million cash on hand, after raising $739,000 during the final quarter of the year. He had loaned his campaign $320,000 by the end of the year.
Jenkins ended 2017 with $1.4 million after raising $205,000 during the final quarter of the year. Jenkins began airing his first TV ad over the weekend. The super PAC supporting Jenkins ended 2017 with just $50.
35th PAC ended 2017 with $469,000. It received contributions from just three donors in the final quarter of the year: Uline co-founder and major GOP donor Richard Uihlein gave $250,000 in December, as did Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus. 35th PAC senior adviser Phil Cox, the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association, gave the PAC $5,000.
35th PAC filed with the FEC last March, before Morrisey or Jenkins had even launched their campaigns. Within hours of Jenkins announcing his campaign last May, 35th PAC was calling him and Manchin “two peas in a pod.” The PAC is led by executive director D.J. Eckert, co-founder and partner at Matchstick Media Strategies, and Cox.