Elephant Clan Still Leads in Campaign Fund Raising

Virginia’s elephant clan may be on the defensive in the current electoral cycle, but elephant candidates are still raising more money than the donkey candidates. Working with fund-raising data provided by Clayton Roberts with the Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education, I figure that the numbers shake out this way:

Total Raised
Elephant Clan candidates – $25.6 million
Donkey Clan candidates – $21.2 million
Independents and third party — $0.8 million

Cash on Hand
Elephant Clan candidates – $7.9 million
Donkey Clan candidates – $6.5 million
Independents and third party – $0.35 million

Unfortunately, I don’t have any historical data, so I don’t know if the GOP fund-raising edge represents a deterioration from previous election cycles, or whether the party is holding its own. (I’m not seriously entertaining the idea that Republicans have increased their fund-raising advantage this year.)

For those who’ve lost faith in the two-party duopoly, it is heartening to see that there are 25 independents and one libertarian running for office this year. The good news is that they’ve managed to raise $30,000 per candidate on average. The bad news is that two independents — Watkins Abbitt (Appomattox) and Katherine Waddell (Richmond/Chesterfield) — account for more than half the total raised. Only four or five others, including Lacey Putney (Bedford), look remotely viable.

Furthermore, there is no unifying theme among the independents — they may express voter frustration, but they do not represent a coherent force in Virginia politics. Oh well… Maybe the next election cycle, if Groveton and I can figure out how to get a third mainstream party off the ground!

Download the spreadsheet for details on individual candidates.

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5 responses to “Elephant Clan Still Leads in Campaign Fund Raising”

  1. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Campaign contributions today provides money to buy junk mail,
    ads that spread lies and distortions, polls to influence us
    and political operatives to peddle all of this trash.

  2. E M Risse Avatar

    Roger is right on here!

    Great ad by the independent running for 27th Senate District in today’s community (note small “c”) paper. He is spending $35K in his campaign while the two party candidates are each spending $600K. His punch line: If they spend that much of other peoples money on (the stuff Roger lists) do you want them spending your tax dollars?

    WaPo reports today that on the national level the Elephants are hurting.

    Somewhere I saw recently the same for VA.

    That is different from your numbers Jim.

    Anyone recall where the other VA numbers were? It was paired with a finding that the Elephants were also behind in the polls.


  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Does this count money raised by Tim Kaine and Mark Warner?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Rodger — well stated. Should Virginia move away from elections in odd-numbered years? We never get a break from campaigns.

    Too Many Taxes

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I think that our system has been hijacked from citizens by influence money.

    The money for many campaigns from from the partisan pacs who basically are “laundering” influence money…

    For instance, Dominion gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to the political pacs.. go try to find out what candidates get the money. It’s all comingled inside the PACS who essentially are “laundering” in my opinion.

    and the candidates are more loyal and beholding to their respective parties than voters because they need that PAC money to have a competitive election.

    Stuart and Pollard .. competing for the seat of retired Chichester each have about 300K.. most of it from the PACS.

    What independent could mount an effective campaign against this kind of money?

    Our system stinks.. when candidates pay more attention to the Bill HOwells than to the voters.

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