Email #261: $2,000,000 campaign?

Now that Democrat Peter Volosin has announced he will be running against you next year, will you be increasing your fundraising campaign? I know you spent about $2 million on each of your last three campaigns, and I read you have already raised $1 million for your 2018 run. Maybe that’s just the price tag for running a competitive campaign, but your opponents spent a fractional amount. Kai Dagner’s 2016 campaign spent $157,181, and Bruce Elder just under $10,000 in 2014. The newly launched Friends of Peter Volosin’s current fundraising goal is only $5,000.

While I am not suggesting you shouldn’t grossly outspend your opponents when your personal wealth and your network of contributors’ wealth allows you to, but outspending by ratios of 12-to-1 and 200-to-1 is not only extravagant but unseemly. Especially when you consistently earn 65-75% of the vote. Based on your own earlier and far less expansive campaigns, if you had instead halved your campaign and outspent your recent opponents by the still massive margins of 6- and 100-to-1, you would have won by a similar percentages. But then you could instead have channeled that extra $1,000,000 to charitable causes in the sixth district.

Your expressed unmitigated approval for President Trump’s budget proposal, even though it would have had a disproportionately negative impact on western Virginia. It would, for example, eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission, an organization that funds an average of 353 jobs in southwest Virginia every year. If you vote to cut ARC and other programs like it, how will you provide aid to the Virginians in your own district who will be hurt?

Given that your personal net worth is $3.56 million and that you routinely raise a unecessary $1 million on your campaigns, will you pledge to direct your efforts for the most vulnerable of your constituents instead? 16% of your district lives below the poverty line. How does your gratuitous campaign spending serve those people? You serve a district that is overwhelmingly Republican. So why do you waste so much money securing your seat term after term?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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