VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – While the marquee race on the ballot this fall is for the next governor of Virginia, there are several very competitive House of Delegates races that are spending a lot of money to pass their message.
At least four of those races are already spending thousands of dollars on advertising here at Hampton Roads.
Races in House Districts 21, 75, 83, and 85 are all listed as “competitive,” according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a non-partisan nonprofit that tracks campaign funding in Virginia. Together, the advertising for and against the candidates in these four seats is already approaching $ 1.9 million.
The largest sum is attached to the freshman Del. Alex Askew (D-85th District). His campaign spent nearly $ 600,000 on advertisements in support of his candidacy and against challenger Karen Greenhalgh. Greenhalgh, as well as the Republican State Leadership Committee – whose money comes from big companies like Pfizer, AT&T and Citigroup – spent a quarter of it.
“And we are still a month or more away from the electoral event,” said Dr. Ben Melusky, professor of political science at Old Dominion University.
Melusky said campaign spending is a decent barometer of race competitiveness. But the sums raised are also. He said people would throw large sums of money at a candidate in a tight race if they thought it could put them on top.
At Hampton Roads, no race was closer in 2019 than the one between Del. Nancy Guy (D-83rd District) and then Republican Chris Stolle. He went to a recount. Stolle lost by 27 votes.
Stolle was hoping for a rematch but lost her primary against political newcomer Tim Anderson.
Guy has now spent over $ 400,000 on advertising to try to keep his seat, while Anderson and the Republican State Leadership Committee have shelled out just over $ 100,000.
On the fundraising side, Guy raised $ 528,690 while Anderson raised $ 221,351.
Melusky said it was no surprise that Democrats have the cash advantage.
“Frankly, in this election cycle, Democrats are on the defensive in a lot of these places, aren’t they? You’ve seen a lot of Democratic candidates win their last election cycle by just a few points, ”Melusky said.
The main donor for the Guy and Askew campaigns is the Clean Virginia Fund. Clean Virginia is funded primarily by Charlottesville billionaire Michael Bills – a voice critic from Dominion Energy – which asks candidates to pledge not to own shares or to accept campaign contributions from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power.
Of the. Steve Heretick, (D-79th arrondissement) attributes the loss of his 2021 primary to Bills. He said the commitment also requires a politician to vote a certain way.
Guy says it’s not.
“I didn’t, I wouldn’t. In fact, the only bill that Clean Virginia called me on last year, I voted the other way around, ”Guy said.
However, Anderson is still disputing campaign funding in the race.
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“Here’s the problem. Virginie is for sale. Millionaires can buy elections, ”Anderson said.
While Guy accepted $ 80,000 from Clean Virginia this election cycle, Anderson’s main donor – The Spirit of VMI PAC – capped at $ 11,000.
Anderson said he did not accept donations from Dominion Energy.
Anderson also called out Guy’s out-of-state donations, including more than $ 95,000 from California, including a $ 5,000 donation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Guy is not in phase.
“I believe we are the United States of America and you know it. We are all interconnected and what we do here in Virginia in terms of voting rights, gun safety and environmental concerns affects people across the country, ”Guy said.
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