West Virginia Senate Candidate Ryan Weld Seeks to Have Radio Ads Stopped

WEIRTON — A local candidate for state Senate is speaking out against radio advertisements he says are trying to connect him to a Jackson County, W.Va. sexual assault case.

On Tuesday, Ryan Weld, a Republican candidate for Senate who currently represents the 2nd District in the House of Delegates, said radio ads paid for by West Virginia Family Values cross the line and are misleading to voters.

“This disgusting and completely untrue ad insinuates that I testified in court on behalf of a convicted child molester,” Weld said in the offices of Weirton law firm Frankovitch, Anetakis, Colantonio and Simon. “I have never, ever done such a thing. I’ve never even testified in court, ever.

“Actually, I’m a prosecuting attorney, and I’m in the business of putting child molesters behind bars.”

In response, Weld is sending cease-and-desist letters to West Virginia Family Values, as well as the Katz Media Group, and all radio stations airing the advertisement. Katz Media Group, a firm based in New York, represents more than 4,000 radio stations and 800 television stations in America.

“They are only attacking Republican candidates in West Virginia,” Weld said, explaining he feels West Virginia Family Values, and not any Democratic candidate, has been behind the attacks.

Weld noted the organization has run previous ads on him, with one discussing mine safety regulations, which he said were passed with bipartisan support.

Another ad focuses on charter school legislation, on which Weld said he had not voted on.

Weld is running to represent the 1st District in the Senate, which includes Hancock, Brooke, Ohio counties and part of Marshall County.

He’s running against incumbent Democrat Jack Yost of Brooke County.

Attorney Eric Frankovitch said the cease-and-desist letters were sent out Tuesday, and they will await a response from West Virginia Family Values and the Katz Media Group.

“If they continue to run the ads, we’ll take action,” Frankovitch said.

The organization aired similar advertisements in the spring focused on West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson. According to published reports,

Carmichael had testified in July 2013 at a sentencing hearing for Cecil Hinzman, of Sandyville, who had pleaded guilty three months earlier to three counts of sexual abuse.

Several social media posts by West Virginia Family Values are focused on Carmichael, questioning whether other Republican candidates will support him.