- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A Democratic group chipped in almost $446,000 to sway West Virginia’s statehouse elections this cycle, adding to the flurry of party organizations, coal interests, executives, casinos and unions that influenced legislative races.

Republicans sealed their first majorities in the state House of Delegates and Senate in more than eight decades. In January, the House will turn 64-36 in favor of Republicans. The Senate will flip to an 18-16 GOP majority after Democratic Sen. Daniel Hall announced a party change to Republican.

Here is a look at some of the most active outside groups in the state contests, where mailings, radio ads and some TV spots were common.

- Protect West Virginia: Raised and spent almost $446,000 from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee to attack Republicans and back Democrats.

- West Virginia First: Pro-Democrat group that raised $615,500 from casino and racing interests and spent $375,500. Donations include $125,000 from Eldorado Resorts, which owns Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in Chester; $125,000 from Racing Corporation of West Virginia, owner of Mardi Gras West Virginia Casino & Hotel; $200,000 from Penn National Gaming, which owns the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races; $125,000 from Wheeling Island Gaming; and $40,000 from The Greenbrier, owned by billionaire coal baron Jim Justice.

- Grow WV Inc.: spent more than $1.4 million to help Republicans, including $500,000 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $220,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee and $100,000 from Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick.

- Honest West Virginians: Union-backed committee that spent almost $1.4 million to aid Democrats. The state’s AFL-CIO and teacher and mine worker groups were among its donors.

- Moving West Virginia Forward BICPAC: Spent $360,500 largely to aid Republicans. The West Virginia Business and Industry Council’s committee received $250,000 from Murray Energy, one of the biggest coal mining companies in the company. Alliance Holdings GP, another coal producer, gave $50,000.

- West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse: Spent more than $289,700 largely to back Republicans. The politically active nonprofit did not disclose its donors.

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