EDITORIAL: Do Ireland's Fundraising Woes Continue?

HNN Staff

GOP Gubernatorial candidate Betty Ireland appears to be having more problems with fundraising, if the absence of promised TV ads is any indication. Shortly after GOP rival Bill Maloney went up with his first TV ad on April 10th, the Charleston Daily Mail quoted an Ireland spokeswoman saying that their campaign's TV ads would begin "within the week."  That was ten days ago and still no Ireland TV ad as of this writing.

The same Daily Mail story noted that, according to campaign finance filings, the Maloney campaign had over twice as much money on hand as Ireland's campaign.

We noted earlier in this primary campaign that Ireland was having trouble finding the number of donors needed to fund a top-flight campaign.  Reports out of Parkersburg indicated that turnout for an Ireland fundraiser at the Blennerhassett Hotel was quite low.  Unlike other Republican candidates like Bill Maloney or State Senator Clark Barnes, all indications have been that Ireland needed outside funding to make this race happen.

While it is true that Ireland has the advantage of serving one term as a statewide official, the truth is that she hasn't been on a ballot since 2004--seven long years ago.  When Ireland opted against running for re-election in 2008, she forestalled a possible loss, but she also went off the state electorate's radar screen.

As a result, Ireland had one overriding mission for this year's campaign.  She needed to raise the money necessary to reinforce the public's memory of her time as Secretary of State, to tell the voters how her experience there prepares her for the role of CEO of West Virginia.

Money isn't everything in politics.  But in a statewide race, it has unfortunately become a prerequisite.  Simply put, an individual candidate for Governor can't hope to be everywhere at once.  But sufficient funds in a statewide campaign can close that gap significantly.

Increasingly, only Bill Maloney and Clark Barnes appear to have the funding necessary to get their message out.  Short of a miracle, Ireland does not appear to have the resources to compete against these two better-funded candidates for the May 14th GOP nominating election.  This may come as a disappointment to her supporters, but at least the Party of Lincoln offers them other good choices this year.

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