Northam has cash advantage
He has $3M more than Gillespie as governor’s race enters homestretch
Democrat Ralph Northam raised $7.2 million in July and August, compared with $3.7 million for Republican Ed Gillespie, giving the lieutenant governor a cash advantage for the TV ad wars ahead of the Nov. 7 election for governor.
Northam had $5.6 million on hand at the end of August, to $2.6 million for Gillespie, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in state politics. That erases Gillespie’s financial lead at the end of June, after he and Northam had fended off rivals in primaries.
Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, outspent Northam in broadcast TV buys in the state’s four major media markets by more than $600,000 between late July and Sept. 7, VPAP reported recently, citing Federal Communications Commission filings.
Northam’s cash advantage is likely to reshape that balance with just over 50 days left in the contest.
Northam’s largest donations in the reporting period were $1 million from DGA Action, a super PAC associated with the Democratic Governors Association; $700,000 from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters; $400,000 from the Democratic Party of Virginia; and $316,000 from Michael D. Bills of Charlottesville, founder and president of Bluestem Asset Management, LLC.
Bills has donated $566,000 to Northam since the beginning of 2015, according to VPAP’s records.
Gillespie’s biggest contributions in the reporting period were $2 million from A Stronger Virginia, a PAC controlled by the Republican Governors Association; $133,000 from Jay W. Faison, an entrepreneur and philanthropist from North Carolina; and $100,000 each from Stephen A. Wynn, founder of Wynn Resorts Ltd. and finance chairman of
Republican National Committee Inc.; and Richard Uihlein of Wisconsin, founder of Uline, a shipping supplies company.
Republicans on Saturday criticized Northam for taking a $10,000 contribution in July from US Marcellus Gas Infrastructure.
“When Ralph Northam needed the far-left, environmental vote, he billed himself as a ‘progressive champion,’ ” John Whitbeck, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, said in a statement.
“But now that Tom Perriello,” a pipelines opponent who was Northam’s rival in the June Democratic primary, “has been defeated, Ralph has decided that he needs corporate money more than he needs environmental votes.”
David Turner, communications director for Northam’s campaign, said in an emailed response: “Ed Gillespie is desperate to distract from his abysmal fundraising support, which highlighted his problems with the grassroots and lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy. Maybe instead of throwing stones he should focus on bootstrapping his campaign, because it sure looks like he’ll need to.”
On Tuesday night, Northam and Gillespie will meet in Fairfax County for their second debate. During their first debate in July, both an anti-pipeline protester and Gillespie — who supports the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines — pressured Northam on his stance.
In the first debate, Northam repeated his position that the proposed natural gas pipelines should be built in an environmentally safe manner, but did not directly say whether he supports or opposes them.
The Democratic Party of Virginia noted Saturday that three of Gillespie’s top five individual donors in the period — Wynn, Uihlein and Paul S. Atkins, a White House adviser on regulatory matters, who contributed $50,000 — also are key political and financial backers of President Donald Trump. “Trumpworld is all in for Ed Gillespie,” Virginia Democrats said in a statement.
In the contest for lieutenant governor, Democrat Justin Fairfax raised $439,229 in the twomonth reporting period and had $302,201 on hand as of Aug. 31.
State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier, the Republican nominee, raised $402,841 in the period and had a balance of $316,046 at the end of August.
In the contest for attorney general, Democrat Mark R. Herring, the incumbent who is seeking re-election, raised $1.2 million in the reporting period and had $2.9 million on hand as of Aug. 31. His report included a $500,000 contribution from the Democratic Attorneys General Association.
John Adams, the Republican nominee for attorney general, raised $250,647 in the reporting period and had a balance of $597,983 at the end of August.
VPAP reports that Herring, the first Virginia attorney general since 1997 to seek a second term, has raised $3.1 million this year through Aug. 31, which is the most any candidate for attorney general has raised since VPAP began keeping track 20 years ago.
The previous record was set in 2005, when Republican Bob McDonnell reported an inflation-adjusted $1.9 million, VPAP reports.
All 100 seats in the House of Delegates also are up for election on Nov. 7.
Danica Roem, the Democrat who is trying to unseat Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William — and who would be the first openly transgender member of the General Assembly — raised $221,035 in July and August, more than any other legislative candidate, and had $162,464 on hand as of Aug. 31.
Marshall, a delegate since 1992, raised $34,520 in the period and had $94,867 on hand at the end of August.
Northam (left) and Gillespie