The District 18 candidates for Virginia House of Delegates are neck-and-neck for 2013 campaign fund-raising.
Incumbent Republican Del. Michael Webert, 33, a Fauquier County cattle farmer, faces Democratic challenger Colin Harris, a 22-year-old aerospace industry professional also from Fauquier, in the Nov. 5 General Election for the statehouse seat.
District 18 includes northern Culpeper County (Brandy Station, Eggbornsville, Jeffersonton and Rixeyville), portions of Fauquier and Warren counties and all of Rappahannock.
In the current election cycle in the district contest, Harris raised $86,357 to Webert's $84,806, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Here's a look at who's giving what to which candidate and how they're spending the money:
First elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2011, Webert manages Locust Hill Farm in Marshall, and considers himself a conservative Republican. A graduate of George Mason University where he earned a communications degree, the Colorado-born legislator has lived in Fauquier since 1999.
According to the Virginia State Board of Elections, top donors in 2013 to the Webert campaign are:
1) Dominion Leadership Trust Political Action Committee of Fredericksburg - $7,500
2) 7th District Republican Committee of Richmond - $5,000
3) Magdalen Bryant of Middleburg, retired - $5,000
4) Majority Leader PAC, Delegate Kirk Cox, of Colonial Heights - $3,500
5) Dominion Political Action Committee PAC of Richmond - $2,000
Webert received numerous smaller donations from various local individuals from Middleburg, Warrenton, Marshall, Front Royal, Hume, The Plains, Delaplane and Upperville as well as fewer out-of-state contributions coming from Washington, D.C., New York, Houston and Florida. No campaign contributions came from Culpeper County, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections reporting through June 30.
Notable expenses incurred by the Webert campaign this year so far included fund-raising and consulting services from Emily Stewart Consulting in Richmond ($1,583.86); BBQ catering for a June event in The Plains ($1,890); development of campaign web site ($715.76) and bumper stickers ($590). Webert also billed the campaign $150 for skeet shooting.
Actively visiting various local events, Webert attended the recent ribbon cutting in Culpeper for the new location of the Culpeper County Economic Development Office and a leadership luncheon hosted by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Richmond, Culpeper's Congressman in the U.S. House. Webert also recently showed cattle with his wife at the West Virginia State Fair.
In his freshman term in the Virginia House of Delegates, Webert, a husband and father, was chief patron of five bills including one signed into law last year prohibiting individuals on the Sex Offender Registry from operating charter buses for transporting children to and from daycare. Another bill he sponsored to permit hunting on Sundays on private land with the permission of the landowner was referred to committee.
In a statement at his campaign web site, Webert expressed his appreciation for natural quality of life in District 18.
"The 18th is by far the most beautiful district in the commonwealth," he said. "The physical beauty is something that people from all across the country come to experience. However, it is the people of the 18th District that make this district unique, wonderful and exciting. From Culpeper to Front Royal, the people of each county are kind, hardworking, no-nonsense people whose character is outstanding."
A recent Ivy League graduate, Harris of Orlean, got his degree in government from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire after graduating in 2009 from Sidwell Friends School, a Quaker K-12 school in Washington, D.C. According to the biography at his campaign web site, Harris has worked for both Democrats in the U.S. Senate, including as an intern for former Sen. Barack Obama and for his presidential campaign, and Republicans in the U.S. House.
Harris is said to be among the youngest candidates running for the statehouse.
According to the Virginia State Board of Elections,top donors in 2013 to the Harris campaign are:
1) Scott Harris of Marshall, attorney - $5,101
2) Charles Walker of Hillsborough, Calif., Blackwolf Ventures finance - $2,000
3) Gregory Craig of Washington, D.C., attorney - $1,000
4) Charles Klein of South Kent, Ct., American Securities managing director - $1,000
5) Chistopher Kelly of Atherton, Calif., investor - $1,000
Harris additionally received $1,000 campaign contributions from Victoria Rollins, retired, of McClean; Bryan Tramont of Washington, D.C., a lawyer; Daniel Zachem of Arlington; Kathryn Zachem of Arlington; Michael Bailey of Sausalito, Calif., Betchel Group Inc. executive; Thomas Campbell of Lake Forest, Calif., dean of the University of California Law School; George Harris of Bethesda, Md., retired; Joann Harris of Bethesda; Robert Harris of Englewood, N.J., retired; Michael Kellogg of Washington, D.C., attorney; John Nakahata of Alexandria, attorney; and James Senger of Bethesda, attorney.
Harris received numerous other smaller donations from out of the district and across the country including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona. Far fewer campaign contributions originated locally but included Sperryville and Linden. No campaign contributions came from Culpeper County, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections reporting through June 30.
Notable expenses incurred by the Harris campaign so far this year include $10,500 in salary to campaign manager Timothy Morris of Bristow; research by Copeland Research of North Chesterfield ($2,500); printing charges to Gumbiner & Davies Communications ($1,500) and Internet fund-raising services to ActBlue of Cambridge, Mass. ($2,622.91).
A legislative associate with Aurora Flight Sciences in Manassas, Harris also designs and builds rockets and represented the U.S. in the world rocketry championships in Spain in 2008, according to his Facebook campaign page.
While at Cambridge, he hosted a country music radio show.
"Colin is a Quaker, just like Thomas Paine, Revolutionary War General Nathanial Green and Daniel Boone - all of whom followed the Quaker tradition and took action to right the wrongs of their times," according to the Facebook page. "For Colin, that means standing up against Richmond's insider politics and partisan gridlock. That's why he is running to be a different type of delegate for the 18th District. If you think the government must do better, he hopes you will support him."