Financial Disclosures Ahead of Gubernatorial Nominations Released

Apr 16, 2021

Campaign finance disclosures that came out Friday show that former Governor Terry McAuliffe has a commanding fundraising lead in the Democratic nomination race. And with only three weeks to go before the Republican convention, two candidates loaned themselves millions.

McAuliffe raised $4.1 million between January and March. The next closest candidate was former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, who raised $1.8 million.

Public Policy Polling recently interviewed 526 likely Democratic primary voters, 42% said they would vote for McAuliffe if the primary was held when they were interviewed.

The financial disclosures give an imperfect insight into who might emerge as a viable challenger to McAuliffe.

“Campaign finance is one of those ways that we measure popularity within the electorate,” said Dr Jatia Wrighten, a political science professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

State Senator Jennifer McClellan and Carroll Foy trail McAuliffe with 8% support each in the last poll. McClellan raised just over $635,000 for the same period. If either is elected they would be the first Black woman to be a governor in the US. But Wrighten said they occupy different roles in the Democratic Party.

“Senator McClellan, her role and her reputation and her capabilities as a leader, really bode well in the party as an organization, and government sort of arm,” she said. “She has a really good vote record. She's a powerhouse within the Senate. All of those things are important. However, It's a different role that you have to play in terms of the party and the electorate. And I think that's actually where a Carroll Foy does a bit better in comparison.”

Virginia Campaign finance law also prevents candidates from raising money during the general legislative session. Carroll Foy had resigned from the General Assembly to focus on her campaign.

Democratic candidates for Governor of Virginia, Del. Lee Carter, left, former Gov., Terry McAuliffe, second from left, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, center, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, second from right, and Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, right, prepare for a debate at Virginia Sate University in Petersburg, Va., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
Credit AP Photo/Steve Helber

Two legislators in the Republican race, State Senator Amanda Chase, and Delegate Kirk Cox raised less than two candidates that are largely self funding. Pete Snyder and Glenn Youngkin loaned themselves over $5 million, which put their numbers higher than McAuliffe.

The Democratic Primary is on June 8th, and the Republican Convention is on May 8th.

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