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Morgan withdraws from W.Va. Senate race

Jefferson County commissioner cites deteriorating eyesight

Jefferson County commissioner cites deteriorating eyesight

April 17, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Rusty Morgan appeared to have a sizable advantage in campaign contributions when he ended his bid this week to be Berkeley and Jefferson county residents' next state senator because of deteriorating eyesight.

The vice president of the Jefferson County Commission had received $9,200 in contributions from more than 30 contributors, according to the latest figures tallied by now-former campaign treasurer Kenneth Apple, a Martinsburg accountant.

In a press release Monday, Morgan, 64, said he regretted his decision to withdraw and had agonized over it.

"I am encouraged by the many good things happening in our area and will continue to work for the betterment of Jefferson County for the remainder of my term as commissioner and as a private citizen thereafter," said Morgan, who did not return messages left at his home or on his mobile phone.

In the release, Morgan said he underwent four operations to repair detached retinas and that reading and driving had become difficult and stressful in the last several months.

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Apple said Wednesday that Morgan's campaign has been advised by Secretary of State Betty Ireland's office not to return any campaign contributions to donors until after the primary election. Morgan's name will remain on the ballot because his decision came too late to remove it.

By the April 4 deadline to file his first campaign finance report, Morgan had received $6,800 from 31 contributors, including two $500 donations from political action committees, Apple said.

Morgan had loaned his campaign $5,000, a figure that was dwarfed by the $25,000 loan that the remaining Republican candidate, Robert P. "Bob" Adams, lent his campaign, according to the Secretary of State's office.

In his "First Primary" report, Adams' campaign committee treasurer reported earlier this month the Charles Town businessman had received two donations totaling $275, according to Ireland's office.

Adams, who now is unopposed for the GOP's nomination in the May 13 election, also gave his campaign committee a $750 in-kind contribution.

Morgan's withdrawal comes a little more than three months after the unexpected withdrawal of another candidate for the 16th District Senate seat being vacated by Republican John Yoder, who is running for judge in the Eastern Panhandle's 23rd Judicial Circuit.

Ronald J. Moltere in January announced he was bowing out of the Senate race for the GOP nomination after belatedly discovering he was registered as a Democrat and did not have enough time to change his registration, according to state law.

Adams, in fact, originally announced early in 2007 that he intended to run for governor, but then opted to seek Yoder's seat when the senator decided not to run for another four-year term.

Adams now is expected to be opposed by former State Sen. Herbert S. "Herb" Snyder, who has not had an opponent in the Democratic Party's nominating contest. Acting as his own campaign treasurer, Snyder earlier this month reported $1,595 in contributions, a transfer of $1,228 from his 2004 election campaign committee and a $2,200 personal loan, according to Ireland's office.

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