This year's legislative elections might be historically expensive
This election year is shaping up to be the most expensive legislative election cycle in Virginia history.
It's not just candidates in competitive races who are raising money. It's also senior members in the House and Senate who are stockpiling money, not only for their own races, but for the caucuses.
Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says that money will start flowing after Labor Day.
"At that point, the parties will also know which candidates have raised a lot of money on their own, which candidates are showing real promise, which candidates may not be as good an investment," Farnsworth says. "And so, when you start thinking about where to put your money, it really is a matter of triage. Where can that money do the most good?"
David Ramadan is a former delegate who's now at the Schar School at George Mason University, and he says the decisions that the caucuses make about where to inject cash might end up determining control of the House and the Senate.
"If a candidate is likely to help move the needle on majority of either side, then the caucuses will come in and put in money," says Ramadan. "We'll see quite a bit of that throughout the summer with a huge push toward the end of the summer and the fall."
One wild card for this election cycle is the huge number of senior senators who are retiring. Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, for example, is not running for reelection. But he has almost a million dollars to give to the caucus and to individual candidates he'd like to see in the Senate after he's gone.