Smith Breaks Records with Best Fundraising Quarter Yet, After Strong Coronavirus Response

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Smith campaign, propelled by 3,189 donations, raised over $200,000 in the last three months, making Smith the top fundraiser for the quarter.

Smith garnered more than three times as many donations (3,189) as every other candidate combined (951) this quarter.

Last month, the campaign broke Manchin’s record for the most donations received in a West Virginia governor’s race ever–8 months before the General. But the campaign saw its biggest boost in donations this last month, seemingly in response to Smith’s leadership during the pandemic.

Smith and the WV Can’t Wait movement transformed their potent field operation into a coronavirus response team in a matter of one week, creating a crisis-response model that’s been covered by the Herald Dispatch, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, New Yorker, American Prospect, and The Intercept. The campaign recruited and trained 278 Neighborhood Captains (and counting) statewide who are volunteering from home to check-in on their neighbors. Each captain is responsible for reaching out (once weekly) to 100 households in their county–making sure the folks where they live know how to access food, absentee ballots, unemployment benefits, and more. That means 27,800 West Virginians now have coronavirus materials in hand, from their neighbors–to start. (The Smith Campaign is also building a library of how-to videos and resources to aid Captains–”how to blow the whistle on your employer in an unsafe work environment,” “how to start a volunteer project,” “how to help your small business,” and so on.)

While Governor Jim Justice was telling voters to go eat at Bob Evans, Smith had already released his own ambitious coronavius economic relief plan, written by and for working class West Virginians during virtual Town Halls. Before West Virginia’s state government had a coronavirus resource website, Smith’s team had one live on his campaign page, which has now had more than 31,000 unique visitors alongside the campaign’s coronavirus plan. And while Justice stumbled through his daily press conferences, Smith began inviting volunteers and frontline workers onto a nightly Facebook live broadcast to help residents make sense of the crisis. (National Nurses United, the nation’s largest nurses union, endorsed Smith just last week.)

“This election is a chance to choose who our state will serve. We can be the state beholden to the wealthy Good Old Boys who buy elections and serve themselves. Or we can be the state where working people come together and serve each other,” said WV Can’t Wait campaign Manager Katey Lauer. “We are ready to govern and prepared to win. We’re the only campaign that can beat Jim Justice because Stephen is the opposite of Justice: we choose neighbors over lobbyists, small donors over election-buying, and action over talk.”

Key Facts from the Filing

  • Smith has received 10,446 donations total. Manchin’s previous record: 9,098 donations.
  • Smith remains the only gubernatorial candidate refusing Corporate PAC money, and donations from executives in Big Pharma, Big Energy, & Out-of-State Land Companies.
  • A March analysis by data firm Grassroots Analytics showed Smith with 485 donations from educators; his top three opponents had 8, combined.
  • An analysis of the last filing period shows Smith has more donations from West Virginians than every other candidate combined.
  • This quarter, Smith garnered more than three times as many donations (3,189) as every other candidate combined (951). 
  • Smith’s average donation from the last quarter was $64, while the average donations of our top opponents from the last quarter were: $303, $428, $720, $637. 
  • Smith’s opponents have now loaned their campaigns more than $4 million. It is time to end election-buying in West Virginia.

Key Quotes

“Stephen Smith is the most effective political fundraiser in West Virginia since Joe Manchin,” said Jamie Bordas, Wheeling attorney and host of the Jamie Bordas Show. “And he’s doing it with small dollar donations. As Democrats, this is how we win.”

Fay Stump, a retired West Virginia educator living in Hedgesville puts it this way: “We never contributed to a political campaign until this year. Never a sizeable donation except for Stephen. We believe an investment in Stephen is an investment in West Virginia and the future of its children who need our support.”

“I truly believe, for the first time, that Stephen Smith is a candidate that wants to make meaningful change to the state. He’s backed this up with platform initiatives. If I could donate more, I would,” says JR Craft, Teacher in Monongalia County.

“It’s the oldest story in West Virginia. We look out for our neighbors, while the wealthy Good Old Boys look out for themselves. This crisis is a brutal reminder that the working families of West Virginia are far better suited to govern than a billionaire casino owner,” Stephen Smith.

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