An Influx of Cash Gives Democrats Hope in the 5th District

Oct 25, 2016

One congressional race is becoming increasingly more competitive, according to newly released campaign finance numbers. Michael Pope is digging into the numbers in the 5th Congressional District - the seat that stretches from Charlottesville to Southside. 

It could be the plot of a John Grisham novel. 

That’s because the famous author and Virginia politico contributed more than $5,000 to Democrat Jane Dittmar.

State Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Buckingham, gestures during debate on a bill that would allow home school students to participate in public school sports during the Senate session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016.
Credit Associated Press

Campaign finance records show Grisham was among the thousands of contributors who helped her raise more than $1 million.

That’s more than twice as much as her Republican opponent, Tom Garrett. 

Geoff Skelley at the University of Virginia Center for Politics says the race is no longer considered a likely Republican win. “The fundraising data and Trump’s situation in Virginia has given us pause, and so we’ve moved the race to leans Republican."

Robert Denton at Virginia Tech agrees the race is still leaning toward the Republicans, at least for now. 

“I would expect that this should be very close. I still in my opinion think that it leans Republican. But the more that Hillary Clinton starts going beyond double digits in the commonwealth, I think it could certainly make this become a toss-up race."

He says that could happen within the next week or so.