Northam tops in fundrais­ing and cash on hand

Re­ports in­di­cate re­ver­sal in the race for gover­nor against GOP’s Gille­spie

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS - BY FENIT NIRAPPIL fenit.nirappil@wash­ Gre­gory S. Sch­nei­der con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Vir­ginia’s Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial con­tender Ralph Northam raised more than twice as much money this sum­mer as Repub­li­can op­po­nent Ed Gille­spie and had a war chest twice as large head­ing into the last two months of the cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to fi­nance re­ports.

In July and Au­gust, Northam raised $7.2 mil­lion, while Gille­spie took in $3.7 mil­lion in the same pe­riod.

That left Northam, the sit­ting lieu­tenant gover­nor, with $5.6 mil­lion in cash to Gille­spie’s $2.6 mil­lion as of Aug. 31, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased Satur­day by the non­profit Vir­ginia Pub­lic Ac­cess Project.

Northam’s sum­mer fundrais­ing re­verses a 2-to-1 cash ad­van­tage that Gille­spie held im­me­di­ately af­ter the June 13 pri­mary. Northam spent most of his early money on the pri­mary con­test to de­feat for­mer con­gress­man Tom Per­riello for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion while Gille­spie had con­served funds in his pri­mary match against Corey A. Ste­wart.

Gille­spie, a long­time party op­er­a­tive and for­mer head of the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee, has been out­spend­ing Northam on cam­paign com­mer­cials air­ing on broad­cast net­works, ac­cord­ing to VPAP data.

Gille­spie so far has raised $8.5 mil­lion, lag­ging be­hind the past three GOP gu­ber­na­to­rial nom­i­nees by the same point in the cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to a VPAP anal­y­sis. Northam has raised $12.6 mil­lion, short of Demo­cratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s record­shat­ter­ing $19.4 mil­lion haul head­ing into Novem­ber. The his­tor­i­cal num­bers were ad­justed for in­fla­tion.

Vir­ginia is hold­ing the only com­pet­i­tive gu­ber­na­to­rial con­test this year and doesn’t limit cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions, at­tract­ing na­tional in­ter­est and dol­lars from donors who see it as a bell­wether for next year’s midterm elec­tions. The other race is in New Jersey, where the Demo­crat is con­sid­ered the fa­vorite.

More than half of Northam’s lat­est haul came from 18 donors: The Demo­cratic Gover­nor’s As­so­ci­a­tion and a col­lec­tion of la­bor groups each gave $1 mil­lion; the Vir­ginia League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers gave $700,000; and fi­nancier Michael Bills, who has been Northam’s largest in­di­vid­ual donor, poured in an ad­di­tional $312,000.

Repub­li­cans, who have been stok­ing Vir­ginia Democrats’ in­tra­party de­bate over fos­sil fu­els, pointed out that Northam took $10,000 from Mar­cel­lus Gas In­fra­struc­ture. Gille­spie’s big­gest sin­gle source of funds dur­ing the third quar­ter was the Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion, which gave $2 mil­lion to Gille­spie, more than half his haul, through its $8 mil­lion Vir­ginia PAC.

Other no­table Gille­spie donors in­clude Jay Fai­son, a con­ser­va­tive who pro­motes clean en­ergy, with $133,000 and megadonors Steve Wynn, a casino mag­nate and con­fi­dant of the pres­i­dent, and Richard Uih­lein, a ship­ping mag­nate, each pour­ing in $100,000.

Northam also had al­most triple the num­ber of small donors: 5,900 do­na­tions less than $100 to Gille­spie’s 2,100.

Lib­er­tar­ian gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Cliff Hyra re­ported $1,063 cash on hand af­ter rais­ing nearly $15,000 in the July-Au­gust pe­riod.

The lat­est fundrais­ing re­ports don’t re­flect the full ex­tent of out­side groups plan­ning their own ex­pen­di­tures to mo­bi­lize vot­ers and air ads.

They in­clude bil­lion­aire Tom Steyer’s Nex­tGen Amer­ica and the po­lit­i­cal arms of Planned Par­ent­hood and the Vir­ginia League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers on the Demo­cratic side, and the Koch broth­ers’ Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­ity on the Repub­li­can side.

In ad­di­tion to gover­nor, Vir­ginia vot­ers are cast­ing bal­lots on Nov. 7 for lieu­tenant gover­nor, at­tor­ney gen­eral and 100 House of Del­e­gates seats.

Vir­ginia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark R. Her­ring (D), who is seek­ing a se­cond term, ended the pe­riod with more than $2.9 mil­lion on hand and a com­mand­ing fi­nan­cial lead over his GOP op­po­nent John Adams, who had $600,000.

Can­di­dates for lieu­tenant gover­nor were neck-and-neck. Demo­crat Justin Fairfax and state Sen. Jill Vo­gel (R-Fauquier) both raised more than $400,000 and ended the pe­riod with more than $300,000.

Sev­eral Democrats chal­leng­ing Repub­li­can del­e­gates in state leg­isla­tive dis­tricts won by pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton in Novem­ber were among the top House fundrais­ers in the July-Au­gust pe­riod.

At the top of the list is Dan­ica Roem, a for­mer re­porter whose can­di­dacy has drawn na­tional at­ten­tion be­cause she would be the first openly trans­gen­der per­son elected and seated in a state leg­is­la­ture. She raised $221,000, about half of which came from out­side the district in­clud­ing from wealthy Mil­wau­kee County Ex­ec­u­tive Chris Abele.

Roem ended the pe­riod with a $67,000 ad­van­tage over Del. Robert Mar­shall (R-Prince Wil­liam), a long­time tar­get of Democrats for his so­cially con­ser­va­tive views, who had about $95,000 in cash on hand. Mar­shall also re­ceived outof-district do­na­tions, in­clud­ing $5,000 from the an­tiabor­tion Fam­ily Re­search Coun­cil.

Other top Demo­cratic fundrais­ers in­cluded El­iz­a­beth Guz­man and Hala Ayala, who are com­pet­ing in Prince Wil­liam, and Chris Hurst, a for­mer tele­vi­sion an­chor run­ning in south­west Vir­ginia who re­cently be­came the first Demo­cratic House can­di­date to air a tele­vi­sion ad. All of them raised about $150,000.

Del. James LeMun­yon (R-Fairfax) raised the most of any GOP law­maker in the most re­cent pe­riod for his com­pet­i­tive race in North­ern Vir­ginia, tak­ing in $145,000 to Demo­cratic chal­lenger Kar­rie Delaney’s $115,000. Delaney had slightly more cash on hand with $97,000.

Del. John Bell (Loudoun), one of the most vul­ner­a­ble Demo­cratic in­cum­bents, raised $130,000 to his op­po­nent Subba Kolla’s $94,000. Kolla, aided in part by the na­tional In­dian Amer­i­can donor com­mu­nity, had a more than $70,000 lead over Bell in cash on hand.

Re­gard­less of their fundrais­ing in the past quar­ter, Repub­li­can in­cum­bents are sit­ting on an enor­mous cash ad­van­tage be­cause of cam­paign ac­counts for House lead­ers and associated PACs. House Ma­jor­ity Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colo­nial Heights), who is in a safe district and set to be speaker if Repub­li­cans main­tain con­trol of the cham­ber, had $591,000 on hand.

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