Buying Time 2016 - West Virginia

This page features campaign advertisements from West Virginia's 2016 state supreme court elections.

September 14, 2016

One seat was up for election on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in 2016. West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals justices are chosen in nonpartisan judicial elections and serve twelve-year terms. Incumbent Supreme Court justice Brent Benjamin ran against attorney Wayne King, former Attorney General of West Virginia Darrell V. McGraw Jr., attorney Beth Walker, and former state legislator William R. "Bill" Wooton in the nonpartisan election. On May 10, Beth Walker won the five-way race. Benjamin and Wooten  chose to use the state's public financing system and were deemed eligible by a temporary panel of justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on March 20,2016 after a challenge by Beth Walker. 

The Brennan Center used multiple sources for spending information, which showed the following: 

Kantar Media/CMAG: Estimated Total TV Spending: $1,724,700*

  • Estimated Spending by Bill Wooton: $453,620
  • Estimated Spending by Brent Benjamin: $120,900
  • Estimated Spending by Beth Walker: $243,390
  • Estimated Spending by Darrell McGraw: $65,840
  • Estimated Spending by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce: $158,030
  • Estimated Spending by Just Courts for West Virginia: $208,730
  • Estimated Spending by the Republican State Leadership Committee: $474,190

*Spending estimates last updated: May 23, 2016

State Disclosures: Disclosed TV Spending: $4,203,576

  • Disclosed spending by Bill Wooton: $473,520
  • Disclosed spending by Brent Benjamin: $264,582
  • Disclosed spending by Beth Walker: $537,805
  • Disclosed spending by Darrell McGraw: $108,275
  • Disclosed spending by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce: $317,154
  • Disclosed spending by Just Courts for West Virginia: $496,366
  • Disclosed spending by the Republican State Leadership Committee: $2,005,875

*State disclosure totals last updated on September 14, 2016

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May 4 - Milk Taxpayers Dry

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes Wooton and McGraw as "insiders" and criticize them for "greed."

Sponsor: Republican State Leadership Committee

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $180,900


May 1 - Gazette Endorsement

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This ad highlights McGraw's values and cites the Charleston Gazette as saying "McGraw is...the best choice."

Sponsor: Darrell McGraw

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $56,140


April 29 - Old Boy Network

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This ad criticizes Wooton and McGraw for "milking the system" and promotes Beth Walker.

Sponsor: Republican State Leadership Committee

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $160,030


April 29 - Never Forgets

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Beth Walker says she will be a judge "who never forgets her West Virginia values."

Sponsor: Beth Walker

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $121,700


April 28 - Just Not True

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says "Wooton isn't a politician" and is "the one candidate who can't be bought."

Sponsor: Bill Wooton

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $65,230


April 28 - Our Court

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Wooton says he's "running for our court, not those with money and power."

Sponsor: Bill Wooton

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $59,570


April 27 - Justice for All

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad highlights McGraw's previous service and experience.

Sponsor: Darrell McGraw

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $9,700


April 27 - Piggy Bank

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says McGraw "used...tax dollars as a piggy bank for his office."

Sponsor: Republican State Leadership Committee

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $133,260


April 26 - Special Corporate Interests

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says Don Blankenship and his operatives "are funding Walker's current campaign."

Sponsor: Just Courts for West Virginia

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $208,730


April 26 - Walker Means Business

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad calls Walker a "tough, fair, conservative judge."

Sponsor: West Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $158,030


April 11 - Two Pronged Attack

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Walker says "we can win the war on heroin, but only with judges tough enough to do something about it." 

Sponsor: Beth Walker

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $121,690


April 1 - Veteran's Programs

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad discusses the services provided Benjamin's veteran's programs. 

Sponsor: Brent Benjamin

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $55,590


March 31 - Drug Courts

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad discusses the success of Benjamin's drug courts. 

Sponsor: Brent Benjamin

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $65,310


March 18 - Grandchildren

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad features Bill Wooton's grandchildren discussing his endorsements and qualifications.

Sponsor: Bill Wooton

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $137,180


March 11 - Cross Examination

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes Bill Wooton's family and military service. 

Sponsor: Bill Wooton

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $191,640


News


Jonathan Mattise, Beth Walker Wins West Virginia Supreme Court Seat, The Herald-Dispatch, May 11, 2016. 

Chris Dickerson, Supreme Court Issues Opinions in Benjamin, Wooton Campaign Cases, West Virginia Record, April 25, 2016.

Associated Press, West Virginia Supreme Court Justice to Appeal Campaign Money Ruling, The Washington Times, March 9, 2016. 


Methodology


Data on ad airings and spending on ads are calculated and prepared by Kantar Media/CMAG, which captures satellite data in the nation’s largest media markets. CMAG’s estimates do not reflect ad agency commissions or the costs of producing advertisements, nor do they reflect the cost of ad buys on local cable channels. Cost estimates are revised by Kantar Media/CMAG when it receives updated data, resulting in some fluctuations in the reported ad spending.

Data on spending on ads was also compiled from ad purchase contracts posted by the FCC and from state disclosure databases when available.