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National Interest in Virginia's Statehouse Elections is Drawing Big Fundraising Numbers


New campaign-finance numbers show certain races for the House of Delegates attracting outsized interest and campaign cash.

The House of Delegates candidate raising the most money is a Democrat from Northern Virginia, Dan Helmer, who is challenging one of the last GOP holdouts in the region, Republican Delegate Tim Hugo.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says anger and hostility at the president is helping the Democrats raise money and support. 

“Donald Trump has been a very effective tool for generating a lot of Democratic energy and money," Farnsworth explains. "Particularly in the suburbs where the combative Trump message may not be as appealing as it is in more rural areas of the state.”

The candidate who raised the second highest amount of campaign cash according to the latest campaign filings is also a Democrat, Alex Askew. He’s running in an open seat in Virginia Beach.

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says Virginia Beach has no shortage of competitive races. 

“Virginia Beach is probably the most competitive city in Virginia right now," says Kidd. "I think there are six competitive races where candidates in all those races are on TV, and they’re raising a lot of money.”

Democrats haven’t controlled the House of Delegates since the late 1990s, and they only need to pick up two seats to take the majority. That’s raised the stakes — and the fundraising — in many of these races across Virginia.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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