RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s PAC raised nearly $7.5 million in the last three months, a fundraising haul that doesn’t even include $2 million from a billionaire with a big stake in TikTok.
The $7.45 million that Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia political action committee reported bringing in from July to the end of September is almost five times the $1.55 million that then-Governor Terry McAuliffe raised in the final quarter of 2015, which the PAC said was the next highest quarterly total from a sitting Virginia governor.
Youngkin’s PAC has continued to break fundraising records, transferring millions to help boost Republican candidates in Virginia’s high-stakes elections. All 140 state legislative seats are on the ballot this year (some candidates are running unopposed), giving each party a chance to win control of the Virginia General Assembly.
With the record haul, Youngkin’s PAC has $7 million in cash on hand ahead of the Nov. 7 elections. The latest fundraising record for Youngkin, which the PAC said included more than $5 million in September alone, came with the help of donations from major Republican donors.
This includes a third $1 million contribution from billionaire Thomas Peterffy — first reported by 8News — a GOP megadonor who has said he would like to see Virginia’s Republican governor jump into the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
Youngkin has been adamant that he’s focused on helping Republicans win control of the General Assembly. But Peterffy told CBS News’ Robert Costa that the governor “appears to be leaving the door open” on a potential 2024 presidential bid.
“Governor Youngkin has now raised $15.5 million since March 1, 2023, to support our candidates,” Spirit of Virginia Chairman Dave Rexrode said in a statement. “Due to our incredible nominees, the opportunity we have to move Virginia forward, and our generous donors, we have already surpassed our own internal goal for the year, but we have more work to do.”
Also in September, the PAC received $500,000 from Youngkin, $25,000 from Virginia Secretary of Finance Stephen Cummings and $10,000 from Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel.
Youngkin’s PAC also got $2 million from another billionaire, Jeff Yass, co-founder of the trading firm Susquehanna International Group, on Oct. 3, campaign records show. Yass’s donation, first reported by CBS News, helped the PAC raise $4.4 million in just two days this week, a total the PAC said is higher than the quarterly fundraising records for the last three Virginia governors.
Susquehanna bought a big stake in TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, and the Wall Street Journal reported in September that Yass’s personal stake in the Chinese-owned company is 7% and that he has been behind efforts to keep the app from being banned in the United States.
Youngkin issued an executive order last year banning TikTok use on state devices and state-run wireless networks, a directive that led Virginia Democrats to question the donation from Yass.
“Youngkin’s tough-on-China act is just performative. He made serious $$ partnering with Communist China at Carlyle Group,” House Minority Leader Don L. Scott Jr. (D-Portsmouth) wrote on X — formerly known as Twitter — in response to Yass’s donation. “Now he’s taking TikTok derivatives in cash from TikTok donors.”
“The Governor is incredibly grateful for all of the support from people across Virginia and the country,” Rexrode, who is also Youngkin’s senior advisor, said in a statement to 8News about Del. Scott’s reaction. “The progressive left is wholly owned and funded by special interests. That’s why Mr. Scott has no message and nothing to offer Virginians—he takes marching orders from Joe Biden and D.C. and an activist who wants California to dictate the car Virginians drive.”
This year’s state elections have drawn national attention and major political money to Virginia, including big donations from national Democrats and $1.5 million from the Democratic National Committee at President Joe Biden’s direction.
Apart from Youngkin’s PAC, Democrats have been able to outraise Republicans in Virginia, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. The Democratic fundraising efforts, which also include more than $2 million from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, aim to counter the money pouring into Youngkin’s PAC.
“So far we’ve been able to keep pace with Youngkin flooding the state with billionaire dollars of people who don’t even live in Virginia. However, to continue to keep pace in the future, we need all hands on deck in Virginia — be it donors, grassroots funders, or volunteers,” DLCC spokesperson Abhi Rahman said in a statement. “The future of the commonwealth, reproductive care in the south, and fundamental freedoms of all Virginians depend on it.”
The money being raised for the Nov. 7 elections will go toward campaign ads, mailers and other efforts to get voters to the polls as Democrats and Republicans look to seize majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. (Democrats control the Senate and Republicans control the House).
Republicans could take control of the legislature, using their majority to push forward their — and Youngkin’s — agenda next year, including a 15-week abortion ban with exceptions. Democrats aim to block those efforts and deflate the presidential buzz around Youngkin.
Stressing the importance of this year’s elections, Youngkin has held campaign events across Virginia with candidates in key battleground races.
Youngkin, and First Lady Suzanne Youngkin, will host Republican donors at the Historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach for a retreat on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 — first reported by CBS News’ Robert Costa — three weeks before the pivotal Nov. 7 state elections, to boost the fundraising hauls for GOP candidates.
Early voting in Virginia started Sept. 22. Election Day — when polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. — is Nov. 7.