By David Skolnick
Ex-U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson continues to pump more of his own money into his congressional campaign fund in a bid to defeat U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, the Republican incumbent in the 6th Congressional District.
Wilson, a Democrat from St. Clairsville, lent $200,000 to his campaign Sept. 28, and gave a $5,250 in-kind contribution Sept. 30 to pay the rent on his campaign office, according to finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission for financial activity between July 1 and Sept. 30.
As of the most-recent filing, Wilson gave $489,900 of the more than $1.2 million raised by his campaign. Money from Wilson accounts for 40.6 percent of the total amount collected by the campaign.
The $205,250 he gave his campaign in the year’s third quarter is 46.9 percent of the $437,537 Wilson raised between July and September.
Of the remaining $232,287 Wilson raised in the third quarter, $138,838.56 came from individuals with the rest from political-action committees.
“I am pleased with this overwhelming support,” Wilson said.
It’s the first quarter in which Wilson raised more than Johnson, of Marietta, primarily because of the money the Democrat gave his campaign.
Johnson raised $291,706 between July and September with no money coming from the candidate. Of that amount, $116,550 came from individual donors and the rest from PACs.
As of Sept. 30, Wilson’s campaign had $439,990 left compared to $387,720 for Johnson.
“Whatever advantages Charlie Wilson has on paper is wiped out by the fact that he has loaned himself [$489,900] in an effort to hide the fact he doesn’t have as much grass-roots support as Bill Johnson,” said Mark Weaver, Johnson’s campaign spokesman.
Also, Americans for Tax Reform recently announced it was spending $1.7 million for two weeks of cable- television commercials critical of Wilson.
“How much does it cost to sell out your constituents? In Congressman Johnson’s opinion, $1.7 million,” said J.R. Starrett, Wilson’s campaign manager.
Under federal law, the organization is not permitted to coordinate with Johnson’s campaign or the campaigns of any candidate.
“We welcome the support of any organization that agrees with Bill Johnson’s platform for lower taxes and less government waste,” Weaver said.
Wilson signed a pledge from the politically conservative organization to oppose higher taxes.
In the new 13th District, which consists of much of the current 17th District, incumbent Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Niles, has a huge financial advantage over Marisha Agana of Howland, his Republican challenger.
Ryan raised $182,014 between July and September, and $918,742 for his re-election bid. He had $252,522 in his campaign fund as of Sept. 30.
In comparison, Agana raised $18,704 in the year’s third quarter, and $48,567 this year. She had $3,157 in her fund as of Sept. 30.