Money doesn’t win elections, but it definitely makes it easier for candidates to communicate with voters, canvas folks in their districts, and more. September’s campaign finance reports for Virginia’s General Assembly races have dropped, and the news is mostly good for Democrats, with one governor-sized caveat.
The most recent round of reports covers the months of July and August – an incredibly important stretch for candidates trying to fund their GOTV, paid media, and other efforts in the final two months of Virginia’s House of Delegates and state Senate elections.
On the whole, Democrats running for the state legislature outraised their Republican counterparts.
In addition to outrasing Republicans overall, Democrats raised more money than Republicans in both House and Senate contests.
Four of the top five individual Senate candidates in terms of fundraising were Democrats, all running in some of the state’s most competitive seats.
Again, four of the five top House fundraisers for the period were Democrats running in some of the chamber’s most competitive districts.
While this is all positive news for Democrats, there’s one Republican fundraiser in the mix who could dramatically alter the campaign finance math in the final weeks of the campaign.
It’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has translated his national political profile into significant funds he’s free to donate to Republican legislative candidates in the sprint to Election Day.
Youngkin’s “leadership PAC,” Spirit of Virginia, raised $3.8 million in the previous two months.
A significant chunk of this money came from outside of the commonwealth; Floridian Thomas Peterffy donated $1 million during that period (on top of another $1 million he donated to the PAC back in April).
Youngkin’s flirtation with a presidential run has fueled much of his PAC’s success. Given that his White House ambitions are moot if Republicans don’t keep control of the state House and flip the Senate, he’s likely to spend significant money on GOP candidates in competitive races in the final sprint to Election Day.
The next round of campaign finance reports is due on Oct. 16.
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