The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
House hopefuls get some party backing
October campaign finance reports filed Monday show wide differences in political party backing among House of Delegates races across the Fredericksburg area.
Some are seeing relatively heavy investment from the state parties, although none are as heavy as a handful of hotly contested races in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. And some have seen few dollars from parties that are focusing most dollars on races that are competitive.
In the 2nd House District in Stafford and Prince William counties, incumbent Republican Del. Mark Dudenhefer reported $45,296 in donations, largely —about $36,000—as in-kind donations from the Republican Party of Virginia.
This race is reportedly one Democrats have begun targeting as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s lead in the polls gives them hope of picking up more House seats.
But that doesn’t seem to have translated into Democratic dollars; Democrat Michael Futrell reported raising $9,495. His biggest donor, to the tune of $2,000, was listed as “Last Name Left Blank” in the records as of Monday night.
Futrell’s report showed $500 from the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, and $500 from Del. Ken Plum, but no big donations from party groups.
Dudenhefer ended the October reporting period with $27,430 cash on hand; Futrell ended with $10,881.
By contrast, in the 30th House District, Democratic challenger Tracey Dippert reported a $36,751 in-kind donation from the Democratic Party of Virginia.
Republican Ed Scott reported $7,400 in in-kind donations from the Republican Party of Virginia.
The DPV help pushed Dippert well ahead of Scott in total donations; she reported $53,446 total, including $14,895 in cash. Scott reported $20,475 in donations altogether, including $12,260 in cash.
Still, Scott remains ahead in dollars—Dippert ended the period with $39,256 cash on hand, to Scott’s $96,844.
Nearby in the 18th House District, Democratic challenger Colin Harris is also benefiting from state Democratic help—his report includes $28,837 in in-kind donations from DPV, far more than his cash contributions of $5,655.
But Republican incumbent Del. Michael Webert is getting the same kind of backing from the RPV, reporting $27,220 in in-kind donations from the party.
His cash totals were higher, at $32,330, although $16,000 of that came from one donor, Magalen Bryant. Another $2,500 came from House Majority Leader Del. Kirk Cox.
In the 88th House District, centered in Spotsylvania, incumbent Republican Del. Mark Cole easily outraised Democrat Kathleen O’Halloran, reporting $20,614 in donations to her $4,269. Cole ended the period with $72,459 cash on hand, O’Halloran with $1,865.
In the 55th House District in Hanover, Caroline and Spotsylvania, an open seat, Republican Buddy Fowler led October fundraising, reporting $16,989. Of that, about $8,000 was cash, including $1,000 from the Hanover County Republican Committee and another $1,000 from Del. Steve Landes, R–Augusta.
The other $8,250 Fowler reported as in-kind donations came entirely from Republicans—$7,127 from RPV, close to $1,000 from Del. Chris Peace, and $125 from Del. John Cox, who is retiring from the seat.
Democratic candidate Toni Radler reported $9,409 in donations, including $4,600 from the Virginia Democratic Committee and $1,000 from the 7th District committee.
Libertarian Chris Sullivan brought in $375.
Campaign cash isn’t just flowing from the state parties. It’s common among state political leaders to have political action committees, and to use those PACs to help other candidates.
House Speaker Bill Howell is a case in point. The Stafford Republican maintains the Dominion Leadership Trust PAC, which as of Sept. 30 had sent $1.4 million out to House candidates and other Republicans.
The biggest beneficiary of Howell’s PAC money was the Republican Party of Virginia, which received $350,000 from the Trust this year through the end of last month.
The next biggest chunk of cash went to an endangered incumbent, Del. Barbara Comstock, R–McLean, who has received more than $212,000 from Howell’s PAC this year, most of it at the end of September. Howell’s personal campaign account has given her another $40,000, meaning that the bulk of her money comes from Bill Howell.
Howell’s PAC has also heavily invested in Del. Tom Rust, R–Herndon; Del. David Yancey, R–Newport News; Del. Mike Watson, R–Williamsburg; and Republican Jeff Campbell, running for an open seat in Southwest Virginia.
All of those candidates have received more than $100,000 from Howell’s PAC, and other Republican House candidates have received help, as well.
The money for all those donations has come in part from the national Republican State Leadership Committee—the biggest donor to the Trust PAC this year, giving more than $200,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. Cash also comes from Republican delegates in safe seats or leadership positions, such as Del. Chris Jones of Suffolk, who has given the PAC $80,000. And it comes from corporate PACs, like Dominion—$60,000 so far this year—and Koch Industries, which has given Howell’s PAC $50,000 through the end of September.
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028