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WV candidate financing program up for review

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LAWRENCE MESSINA, Associated Press

CHARLESTON (AP) — The West Virginia State Election Commission is pondering what to do with the public financing program for Supreme Court candidates.

The pilot program offered public money to court candidates as an alternative to traditional fundraising. Allen Loughry was the only candidate who sought to qualify and participate. The Republican won one of two court seats on the Nov. 6 ballot.

But Loughry also left the pilot program before the election. A court decision had denied him additional public funds meant to help him keep pace with opponents. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier that such funding violates the free speech rights of those opponents and their contributors.

The program provided $350,000 to Loughry. That allowed him to buy TV ads.

Without further action, the program expires in July.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press