Winning for Women Inc., a new group formed to boost Republican female candidates, is making its first independent expenditure of the 2018 cycle for a West Virginia woman facing a competitive congressional primary next week.
Winning for Women is spending five figures on a digital spot supporting state Del. Carol Miller, who is running for the GOP nomination in West Virginia’s 3rd District. Current GOP Rep. Evan Jenkins is running for Senate.
The ad, details of which were shared first with Roll Call, is targeting high-propensity primary voters. It began Friday and will run through the May 8 primary. It touts Miller’s work on the opioid crisis.
“Carol has championed Justice Reinvestment, a strategy focused on rehabilitation and recovery rather than just penalization to reduce recidivism and help those struggling with addiction,” Winning for Women Executive Director Rebecca Schuller said in a statement.
Miller had already received Winning for Womens endorsement, which came with a $5,000 PAC check. But for a party that’s lacked an analogous outside group to EMILY’s List to help women through primaries, it’s significant that Winning for Women is spending additional money for Miller in a primary.
The bison farmer, whose family owns car dealerships in the area, was first elected to the state House in 2006. She’s the daughter of former Ohio Rep. Samuel L. Devine. She’s also been backed by Susan B. Anthony List and VIEW PAC and has received financial support from Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks.
Miller loaned her campaign $200,000 during the first quarter of the year. She ended the pre-primary reporting period with $135,000 in the bank.
Her biggest competition is former West Virginia GOP chairman Conrad Lucas, who’s secured the backing of the Republican Main Street Partnership and has picked up contributions from some sitting members of Congress, like Arkansas Rep. French Hill and Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder.
Lucas has loaned his campaign $95,000. He ended the pre-primary reporting period with $87,000.
State Del. Rupie Phillips ended the pre-primary reporting period with $33,000. State Del. Marty Gearheart, who looked like an early favorite for the Club for Growth, which never made an endorsement, ended the pre-primary reporting period with no money in the bank.
Watch: Already Small in Number, GOP Women Incumbents Could Be In Jeopardy