West Virginia races primed for super PAC activity

Newly created 'West Virginians for Results' has GOP connection

By

 Updated:

A newly created super PAC appears to have its sights set on West Virginia, a state where Republicans in 2014 hope to pick up both a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

A group called “West Virginians for Results” submitted paperwork to the Federal Election Commission on August 29, stating it “intends to make independent expenditures,” though it doesn’t specify in which races it plans to be active and the website it lists is not yet functional.

The address used by West Virginians for Results on its FEC filing is the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm Clark Hill PLC. The super PAC’s treasurer is listed as James “Jim” Tyrrell III, a Clark Hill attorney who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tyrrell specializes in campaign finance law and has a strong Republican pedigree.

He once clerked for former FEC Chairman Don McGahn, who now serves as the agency's vice chairman. And Tyrrell previously worked for the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican Party of Virginia, according to his online biography.

Records show that he personally donated $1,500 to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2011, $50 to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina during her 2010 campaign and $1,000 to Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell during his 2009 campaign.

Ward Wyatt, the executive director of the West Virginia Republican Party, told the Center for Public Integrity that he was unfamiliar with West Virginians for Results, though he was not surprised that a super PAC would be focused on the state.

"You're probably going to see a lot of super PACs pop up," he said.

“Are they for us or against us?” Wyatt asked of West Virginians for Results. "I don’t know.”

Regardless, Republicans in West Virginia see myriad opportunities ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

Incumbent Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., is retiring, and GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito already has nearly $3 million in her campaign war chest as she seeks his seat. No Democratic contenders have yet announced Senate bids.

Additionally, both the 2nd Congressional District and the 3rd Congressional District are expected to be competitive.

Earlier this summer, state Sen. Evan Jenkins left the Democratic Party and announced he was seeking the GOP nomination to challenge 3rd District incumbent Rep. Nick Rahall, a Democrat who had about $350,000 in the bank at the end of June.

Capito currently represents the 2nd District, and her bid for higher office will open it to newcomers. Former West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey has already raised more than $450,000 — including $300,000 of his own funds — although both the Democrats and Republicans may have contested primaries.