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Murphy rethinking his contribution policy

April 12, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Patrick H. "Pat" Murphy said Monday he made a mistake when he announced earlier this year that he would only accept campaign contributions of $10 or less in his bid for the state Senate in the 2010 election.

Murphy's treasurer reported receiving a total of $185 in contributions from six people, according to the candidate's first financial statement, which was received April 2 by Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant's office.

"I made a mistake on the $10 rule," said Murphy, who is running against incumbent 16th District state Sen. John R. Unger II in the May 11 primary.

Murphy, who served in the state House from 1983-90, said he was "appalled" at the amount of money now being generated for political campaigns when food pantries, boys and girls clubs, and other nonprofit groups find raising money for pressing community needs more difficult.

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"I just wonder where our priorities are," Murphy said.

Murphy, 62, said he already spent close to $2,000 out of his own pocket for his campaign, and for about $2,500, he could run a photography program at the Boys & Girls Club in Martinsburg.

Murphy's treasurer reported $1,540 expenditures by the candidate on maps, postage, signage materials and a candidacy filing fee, according to the financial statement.

"If (someone) is really appalled by $185, I would suggest (they) look at all of the other people running and see how many are trying to get elected with as little money," Murphy said.

Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson, filed a waiver, reporting no contributions in his first financial statement for the election, but reported having $70,029 left over from his 2006 election campaign, according to Tennant's office.

If successful in the primary election, Murphy said he will change his position on campaign financing and accept larger donations for the general election, but also establish a "wall" between his treasurer and himself so he only knows who gave him a contribution, not the amount, so he can still send a "thank you" card.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Del. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley.

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