RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — One sign that Virginia’s elections have drawn the national spotlight to the commonwealth: the money pouring into campaigns.
With the control of Virginia’s political landscape — and possibly the nation’s — at stake, millions in campaign contributions have flooded into statewide and local races. But the candidates vying to be Virginia’s next governor have set themselves apart, shattering fundraising records from previous election cycles.
The major party nominees in the race, Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, have brought in a combined $117 million through Oct. 21, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. That figure, which is expected to rise, is nearly double the previous fundraising record set at this stage of the campaign.
Princess Blanding, who is running under the Liberation Party, has raised significantly less. While Blanding’s impact on the election still remains to be seen, third-party candidates typically don’t bring in large political donations.
Campaign finance reports shed light into how much each candidate has raised, how they have spent the money, specific political donors and what the cash they have left on hand. Last week, the gubernatorial candidates submitted their campaign’s last financial disclosures before Election Day.
Here’s a look at how each candidate for governor is faring in the money race:
Princess Blanding has raised $34,771 this election cycle, with nearly $20,000 coming from contributions over $100. Her campaign has spent $27,494 since Nov. 2020, and had $7,281 on hand as of Oct. 21.
Blanding has used a large portion of the money she’s raised to pay members of her campaign, spending $9,910 on staff and consultants. Blanding’s campaign has spent a little over $2,000 on ads, most of which are on Facebook.
Blanding’s biggest donor was Chrischa Ives, with Sandbridge Realty, who gave her campaign $8,000, VPAP’s analysis shows.
McAuliffe brought in $45 million through September, slightly above the $43 million raised by Youngkin. With a $12.9 million fundraising haul in the first three weeks of October, McAuliffe has raised a total of $57,370,996 this election season, according to VPAP.
McAuliffe’s campaign has spent the bulk of its political contributions on advertising, with over $31 million on TV and radio spots and $6.2 million on digital ads. The Democratic candidate used nearly all of the $57 million he’s raised, and as of Oct. 21 had $1.9 million cash on hand.
The top donor for McAuliffe’s campaign is DGA Action, the political action committee for the Democratic Governors Association, which has given the former governor nearly $7 million this year. The Democratic Party of Virginia has donated close to $3 million to McAuliffe’s campaign.
Youngkin, a former private equity executive, was trailing McAuliffe in fundraising through September. But in the first three weeks of October, Youngkin surpassed McAuliffe in the money race by raising $15.4 million in the period.
The GOP nominee has hauled in a total of $57,731,920 for his campaign this election cycle, using over $30 million of it on TV, radio and digital ads. Youngkin’s campaign has spent just under $50 million this election cycle and had $7.9 million on hand as of Oct. 21.
Youngkin is his own top donor, loaning his campaign $20 million. The political action committee of the Republican Governors Association came in second with $10.5 million in donations, and the Republican Party of Virginia has given Youngkin’s campaign nearly $1.7 million.
Virginia voters will cast their ballot for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in the election. All 100 House of Delegates seats, certain local races and referendums will also be on ballot.
Election Day is Nov. 2. Polls open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.