Dozens of candidates reject campaign contributions from energy companies

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CHARLOTTESVILLE,Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to candidates of all political leanings. Now, that money has become less appealing to some candidates.

More than 60 candidates for the House of Delegates have rejected campaign contributions from the energy companies.

Ross Mittiga, who is running as a Democrat for the 57th District in the House of Delegates, is one of those candidates.

"Dominion Power has had a stranglehold over our politics, Republican and Democrat, for the last 20 years, probably longer," said Mittiga.

Incumbent state Senator Creigh Deeds, also a Democrat, has found no fault in taking the money.

"Dominion Power is a big player in state politics and they gave money to everybody," stated Deeds.

Appalachian Power has given around $290,000 , but Dominion has given almost $797,000 to political committees and candidates since 2016.

Through the political action committee, Activate Virginia, the majority of the non-incumbent democratic candidates have pledged to not take funds.

"We all participate in the political process. It's completely legal and reported," said David Botkins who represents Dominion Energy.

He claimed most of the candidates that have made that pledge have not received any campaign contributions from anyone.

"They certainly haven't asked Dominion for campaign contributions and frankly whether or not they get Dominion money is their choice," Botkins said.

Objection to the corporate giants' funding stemmed from a few issues, a big one of which is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

"The reality is that the overwhelming majority of the public in Virginia support the Atlantic Coast Pipeline," said Botkins.

Virginia is an unlimited contribution state, meaning candidates can take as much money as they want.

"I'm going to play by the rules that everyone else plays by and I'm not going to go into a fight with one hand tied behind my back," explained Deeds.

Deeds had introduced potential limits to political contributions in the state Senate, but the legislation does not have enough support to pass.

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