On the Democratic side of things in Virginia, The Washington Post reported this morning that progressive candidate Tom Perriello has raised over a million dollars since he jumped into the race a month ago.
Analysts say it is an early sign that the former congressman is capable of mounting a serious primary challenge to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who declared his candidacy two years ago and had won backing from nearly every top elected Democrat before Perriello made his surprise entry into the race on Jan. 5.
Perriello campaign officials declined to detail the sources of contributions, beyond saying they include 2,500 online donations. Virginia does not cap campaign giving, meaning fundraising totals can be skewed by six-figure checks.
The state requires candidates for governor to file their first campaign finance reports for this year on April 17.
Before his announcement last month, much of the drama was focused on the Republican primary, which is now a four man race between Ed Gilliespie, Corey Stewart, State Senator Frank Wagner and Denver Riggleman. But with former Congressman Perriello’s entry, the battle warmed up all around, and money is flying. Per the Post, Mr. Northam is reporting $2.5 million cash on hand, a considerable portion of which will now be focused away from his anticipated general election rival Gillespie.
The Republican side is not without it’s big hauls. While Mr. Gillespie too trails Mr. Northam in fundraising, he pulled in just under $2 million last year. Some of that will eventually be spent on his less well funded rivals: Corey Stewart reported just under $400,000 cash-on-hand at the end of December, State Senator Wagner about the same, and Riggleman had about $25,000. Topping all of that, the Republican Governor’s Association donated $5 million to seed a PAC for the general election.