By Noah Fleischman
Capital News Service
The 13 candidates running for the Virginia executive mansion raised a total of over $11 million in three months, according to recently released finance reports.
The candidates had more than $18 million in cash on hand in the first quarter, according to finance report data reported by the Virginia Public Access Project. Cash on hand is tracked as accessible money and in-kind donations, which include non-cash gifts such as goods, services and expertise.
Four candidates running for governor each logged more than $2 million in cash on hand.
Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, said it’s uncommon to have that many candidates with large amounts of money on hand.
“It’s rare to have that many people running for governor,” Farnsworth said. “And it’s even rarer still for there to be so many candidates with bank accounts at that level.”
Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe had the largest war chest of any candidate, clocking in with more than $8.5 million cash on hand. Republican candidates and businessmen Glenn Youngkin and Pete Snyder trailed McAuliffe with just over $3.6 million and $2.6 million cash on hand, respectively.
McAuliffe also led all candidates in the most money raised from January to March, bringing in more than $4.1 million. Reported loans and in-kind donations are not included in cash raised totals reported by Capital News Service.
“He’s the only candidate who has been governor previously,” Farnsworth said of the advantage McAuliffe has in the Democratic race. “He has experience in statewide elections, as well as with the national Democratic Party, which has created a lot of fundraising opportunities.”
Former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Woodbridge, rounded out the top four candidates, with more than $2.3 million cash on hand. She trailed Youngkin and McAuliffe and ranked third in fundraising in the first quarter, logging more than $1.8 million. Carroll Foy edged out Snyder, who raised over $1.3 million.
Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, reported more than $321,000 cash on hand and Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Midlothian, recorded just over $205,000. Cox ranked third in fundraising for Republicans, bringing in more than $376,000, while Chase logged more than $116,000 in donations.
Republican candidate Sergio de la Pena, a retired U.S. Army colonel and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs, checked in between Cox and Chase, raising more than $202,000.
Candidates serving in the General Assembly could not start fundraising until the session ended.
Farnsworth also said Democratic candidates have more cash on hand because the party is holding a primary, unlike the Republicans, who are using a convention to nominate a candidate.
“The Democrats are going with a primary, which involves a great deal of effort to connect with voters across the commonwealth,” Farnsworth said. “When you’re running in a convention, money may be less important.
Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, logged just over $100,000 cash on hand and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax had just shy of $100,000. Carter raised more than $154,000 with over $93,000 of it from cash donations of $100 or less. Fairfax raised almost $27,000.
In the lieutenant governor race, Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, led the pack of 13 candidates with more than $960,000 cash on hand. Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, followed Rasoul with just north of $605,000 on hand.
Rasoul also edged out his Democrat opponents in fundraising with over $620,000, followed by Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan who brought in over $365,000.
Two former Republican delegates are vying for lieutenant governor and both started without cash on hand in January. Winsome Sears, a former Republican delegate from Winchester, outraised former Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax, in the quarter, recording more than $160,000 in donations. Hugo brought in over $103,000.
Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat vying for his third term in the position, led the six candidates. He reported more than $1.3 million cash on hand. Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, recorded just over $1 million, second-most of the candidates.
Herring outraised Jones in the first quarter as well, logging more than $624,000, while Jones raised more than $456,000.
Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, logged the most of the four Republican attorney general candidates, with more than $429,000 cash on hand. Miyares raised more than $190,000 in the first quarter. He is trailed by Republican contender Jack White, who raised over $153,00. White is an ordained minister and Army veteran.
(Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.)