Cash On Hand Determining Outcomes in Virginia Senate Primaries

by Shaun Kenney

On 20 June, Virginians in both political parties will be selecting their nominees for the November elections to the General Assembly.

Virginia Democrats seem to be caught in a literal death spiral of trying to out-abortion one another, as flyers are going about accusing certain candidates of being “pro-life” while others proudly announce their fanatical desire to stack the dead baby pile higher than their opposition.

Meanwhile, Virginia Republicans as an electorate seem to be keeping to the Buckley Rule, nominating the most conservative candidates that can win in the November general election. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more contested seats in Virginia (gratuitously stolen numbers from our friends at the Virginia Political Newsletter):

• Amanda Chase (R)
— $100,026 raised
–$19,199 cash on hand
• Glen Sturtevant (R)
— $203,945 raised
— $112,882 cash on hand
• Tina Ramirez (R)
–$218,281 raised
— $31,991 cash on hand

The real catch here is whether or not Tina Ramirez will pull enough votes away from putative front-runner Glen Sturtevant — a former state senator in his own right — to allow Amanda Chase to sneak back into the GOP after being thrown out of the Senate GOP Caucus (not to mention accepting cash from the progressive dark money group Clean Virginia). Watching this race with great interest, but mostly because Amanda Chase is utterly unworthy of public office in any form.

• Emily Brewer (R)
— $221,190 raised
–$81,151 cash on hand
• Hermie Sadler (R)
— $294,161 raised
— $180,077 cash on hand

This race has been exceptionally nasty towards Emily Brewer, a sitting delegate and a personality known for her congeniality and warmth. Hermie Sadler’s supporters have been particularly vicious and cruel-spirited online — which typically does not signal good health on the ground. No worries about Brewer’s cash on hand total; Emily will have plenty to spend going into Election Tuesday.

• Tim Anderson (R)
— $68,255 raised
— $2,653 cash on hand
• Jeff Bruzzesi (R)
— $176,676 raised
— $70,858 cash on hand
• Christie New Craig (R)
–$116,255 raised
— $79,476 cash on hand

This race is probably leaning Christie New Craig’s way, but Jeff Bruzzesi is certainly not going anywhere. Delegate Tim Anderson — decoupled from Amanda Chase — simply hasn’t done much to get things moving here. This one’s gonna be close.

• Tara Durant (R)
— $295,450 raised
— $88,756 cash on hand
• Matt Strickland (R)
— $51,890 raised
— $15,135 cash on hand
• Joel Griffin (D)
–$108,857 raised
–$14,986 cash on hand
• Ben Litchfield (D)
–$61,651 raised
— $20,619 cash on hand
• Monica Gary (I)
–$39,151 raised
–$4,618 cash on hand

On the Democratic side of the aisle, former Republican-turned-Libertarian turned Democrat Ben Litchfield — the local progressive favorite — is running against retired U.S. Marine and business owner Joel Griffin, a man whose resume would be an ideal Republican if not for the fact that Griffin — recruited by Sen. Scott Surovell and politically green — is quite sincere about his politics. The race has not turned nasty (yet), but is beginning to pick up in the last week of the campaign.

On the Republican side of the fence, Del. Tara Durant is overwhelming Republican insurgent Matt Strickland (whose business, Gourmeltz, was famously the target of Northam administration ire for not closing during the COVID-19 pandemic) with pure cash, outspending Strickland 6:1. Both campaigns claim sizeable leads, with Strickland leaning into his name ID and Durant leaning into endorsements from all three Virginia statewide Republicans. Both candidates are ideologically similar; Strickland is more the happy warrior, Durant is both deliberative and very kind. Look for this one to be a close race with the advantage in SD-27 going to the Republicans once the nominations are over.


Virginia Republicans are in an excellent position to pick up seats in the Virginia State Senate, which at present is under Democratic control.

Of the remaining open seats, Republicans should safely carry at least five (SD-01, SD-03, SD-10, SD-17, and SD-19), while Democrats should safely capture just three (SD-21, SD-32, SD-33).

Of the remaining three open seats?
SD-27: Safe Republican (Youngkin 53.8 percent McAuliffe 45.3 percent)
SD-30: Tilts Democratic (Youngkin 47.8 percent, McAuliffe 51.5 percent)
SD-31: Tilts Republican (Youngkin 50.0 percent, McAuliffe 49.4 percent)

Your 2024 Generic Congressional Ballot right now stands at R+0.7 — which is indicative of a brewing Republican tidal wave. President Biden’s disapproval rating stands at 54.7 percent — that’s 11 points underwater.

Most telling are Biden’s numbers among independents, where the Democrats are suffering a 30 point deficit in the polling aggregate. For those paying attention, this is the voting demographic which Northam rode into the Governor’s Mansion in 2017.

As Virginia Democrats have continued to move to the left on questions such as Critical Race Theory, DEI, “defunding the police,” transgender issues and abortion on demand, suburban Virginians are sending a clear message that sane beats crazy every time.

If these tea leaves maintain their present condition? Virginia Republicans stand on the verge of reversing 2017, giving Gov. Glenn Youngkin a chance to prove himself a conservative and House Republicans a chance to reverse many of the ill-considered policies of the Northam reign of shame.

Trying to win over suburban moms worked for the Democrats in 2017; winning over suburban dads in 2023 just might save Virginia.

Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.

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9 responses to “Cash On Hand Determining Outcomes in Virginia Senate Primaries”

  1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Hmm…D.J. McGuire of Bearing Drift has predicted the Democrats will win a majority in both houses.

    The conservatives are not on the same page here.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      Who cares. The votes will be counted, and then we’ll know.

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive


    2. WayneS Avatar

      And liberals/”progressives” march in lock-step, right?

      Tell me again which group includes open-mined people who think for themselves?

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        Neither party tolerates the open-minded, compromise-inclined any more.

      2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        That was not the point I was trying to make. I just found it interesting, at least, that two conservative analysts (if one can can consider Shaun Kenney an analyst), utilizing the same data, came to diametric opposite projections. I would not have been surprised if one had been a Democrat analyst and the other a Republican analyst.

    3. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      The amounts being poured into D primaries exceed the spending in the key R primaries by a factor of 10. Millions vs hundreds of thousands (or tens of thousands). That is the ominous fact for Republicans going into this contest, that and the continuing huge drag created by their (ahem) presidential frontrunner. You cannot bring up Biden and ignore Trump in a real political analysis.

      After all the primary decisions next week then things will be much clearer. Then we can run down the list of contests and do triage. Or at least I will. Maybe just for my own information.

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        I, for one, would like to know the results of your triage. You have a much better feel for the politics than I do.

  2. WayneS Avatar

    …indicative of a brewing Republican tidal wave

    I’d rather have republicans in charge than democrats, but remember what happened the last time a republican “wave” was preducted?

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