RICHMOND, Va. — As voters still wait to decide who sits in the General Assembly Nov. 5, so far candidates have raised more money this year than in previous years to try to get support.
This Election Day will determine which party controls the House of Delegates and state Senate, as all 140 seats are on the ballot.
According to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, candidates have raised about $53 million so far. That’s about 67 percent more than the last time all state lawmakers were running for office four years ago.
Republicans have held a slim majority in recent years in both chambers. Democrats are trying to flip the legislature from red to blue.
A trend seen over the last four years is that more people are registering to vote. About 12,000 more people registered this year compared to 2015, according to VPAP.
GOP candidates are getting big bucks from corporate donors as well as the Republican State Leadership Committee, a national group. Top donors for Democrats include advocacy groups, such as Everytown for Gun Safety and Emily’s List, which is a supporter of abortion rights.
You may also notice more campaign ads during commercial breaks. In highly contested Senate races, such as for Senate Districts 10 and 12 in the Richmond-area, as well as Virginia Beach’s 7th District, a lot of money is being thrown into buy spots on media.
Richmond-area candidates in both parties have spent about $3 million in buying spots on media.
Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant is spending about $807,000 in advertising to protect her 12th District seat from Democratic Del. Debra Rodman, whose using more than $814,000 to take it.
Democratic candidate Ghazala Hashmi is trying to take Republican Sen. Glen Sturtevant’s 10th District seat. Together they’re spending about $1.5 million in media ads, Hashmi has used $764,000 while Sturtevant has spent $748,000.
Democratic Del. Cheryl Turpin is running against Republican Jen Kiggans for the 7th Senate District seat. Turpin has spent $417,000 in media ads while Kiggans has used about $390,000 to get her message to voters.
Election Day is Nov. 5. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also, if you are in at a polling place at 7 p.m., you will still be able to cast your vote.