Northern Virginia’s High Rollers Are Sitting This One Out

Richmond’s “Main Street” business establishment once dominated political campaign finance in Virginia. Then, in the 1990s, Northern Virginia’s development and technology industries usurped Richmond’s role. Northern Virginians still have “more money than God,” as the saying goes — small donors are kicking in substantial sums — but the region’s tech tycoons and mega-developers are, for the most part, sitting this election out. Most of the big bucks donations are coming from downstate.

Let’s take a look at where the money is coming from (according to the Virginia Public Access Project):

Tim Kaine: $3.6 million comes from Central Virginia and $3.6 million from Northern Virginia. But remember, between the bigger population and higher incomes, there’s about twice as much money in Northern Virginia as in Richmond. Of the Top 25 donors, only Suzann Matthews, Janice Brandt, Gerald Halpin, Scott Kaprowisz and the Granite Group hail from the Northern Virginia metro area. Big donors from the Richmond region include Austin Ligon, Cobb Office Products, Stuart Siegel, William Jefferson, Altria, Dominion, Gray Fenchuk and Jim Ukrop.

Jerry Kilgore. Kilgore has received $3.5 million in donations from Northern Virginia vs. $2.9 million from Central Virginia. But among the Top 25 donors, only one business or individual (as opposed to a PAC or fund) originates from Northern Virginia: Mark Kington, a venture capitalist and Mark Warner’s old business partner. By contrast, Kilgore pulls from “Main Street” even thought it’s Kaine’s home town. Donors include Richard Sharpe, Altria, Dominion, and Atack Properties. And he’s raised a wad from his chums in far Southwest Virginia: John Gregory, Alpha Natural Resources, Marvin Gilliam and SJ Strategic Investments. Who even knew that kind of money could be found in SW Virginia?

Russ Potts. As a Northern Virginia regional candidate, Potts is an anomaly. He draws almost exclusively from Winchester and Northern Virginia. From Hampton Roads he’s picked up a grand total of… $5,300. From Central Virginia… $2,600. Not a single one of his Top 25 donors comes from downstate.

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  1. GOPHokie Avatar

    Well folks, its no secret most of the corporate donors are in Richmond.
    NOVA is mostly individual business owners and a few medium sized companies.
    Isn’t Richmond always higher in donations than NOVA?

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Yeah, medium sized companies. ExxonMobil, AOL, Charles E. Smith, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, SAIC, Booz Allen Hamilton: the list of megafirms is long as your leg. I can tell you the Hokie development office knows better, GOPHokie. If Richmond-based firms have given more it is only because they pay more attention to the doings in Richmond, while those firms are focused on Washington. But real bucks are up there.

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