The latest campaign finance reports for General Assembly candidates in Central Virginia mostly show Republicans outraising their Democratic competitors by thousands of dollars.
Finance reports for July 1 through Aug. 31 were due to the Virginia Department of Elections on Monday and posted Tuesday. The next reporting period will be the last before Election Day, on Nov. 5.
The most striking gap appears in Virginia’s 30th House District, where write-in candidate Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, raised $521,345 during that period, compared to Democrat Ann Ridgeway’s $30,184. However, $500,000 of the money raised by Freitas came from a single donor — Richard Uihlein.
Uihlein, an Illinois-based shipping supplies magnate, has given millions to national conservative groups in recent years, sometimes in an effort to upend races.
Freitas, who has served in the House of Delegates since 2016, announced last month that he would run a write-in campaign in the 30th District after he failed to qualify for the November ballot due to missed filing deadlines. The 30th District includes Orange, Madison and part of Culpeper County.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the outside financial help could help Freitas fund a resource-intensive outreach campaign explaining how Republican voters can cast their ballots for him. He is also planning to funnel some of the money to Republicans in more competitive contests, promising a “six-figure investment” to help GOP incumbents and challengers in swing districts.
In contrast, a release from Ridgeway’s campaign noted that the candidate has received donations from more than 400 individuals, with the average contribution being less than $100.
In the 20th District, Republican John Avoli reported $30,996 in new donations and $5,060 in expenditures, leaving him with a balance of $28,265. Among Avoli’s donors is Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Weyers Cave, who currently represents the 25th District but has forgone a reelection campaign to instead seek the position of Augusta County clerk of court.
20th District Democratic candidate Jennifer Lewis reported $22,417 in new donations and $15,096 in expenditures, leaving her with $27,028 on hand— just about $1,000 shy of Avoli.
The district consists of Waynesboro and Staunton, as well as parts of Augusta, Nelson and Highland counties.
Republican Chris Runion, a small-business owner running for Landes’ seat in the 25th District, received four times the donations of his competitor, ending the period with $45,865 in new donations and $36,003 in cash on hand. Much of the money Runion raised came from political action committees within the state.
Jennifer Kitchen, the Democratic nominee for the 25th District, raised $11,032 and ended the period with $15,629 on hand. A release from Kitchen’s campaign claims she received 85 contributions of $100 or less, almost twice the number of small-dollar donations as her opponent.
Janice Allen, an independent candidate in the 25th District, reported no new donations and currently has $132.36 on hand.
The 25th District includes parts of Augusta, Albemarle and Rockingham counties.
Sally Hudson, a Democrat running unopposed for retiring Del. David J. Toscano’s seat in the 57th District, reported $25,576 in new donations and ended the period with $24,131 in cash on hand.
The 57th District includes Charlottesville and parts of the urban ring of Albemarle County.
Incumbent Republican Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, reported $89,487 in new donations and ended the period with $369,759 in cash on hand. His opponent, Democrat and retired dentist Elizabeth Alcorn, reported $25,995 in donations and ended the period with $13,270 cash on hand.
59th District Democratic candidate Tim Hickey bucked the trend, outraising his incumbent Republican opponent and reporting $22,893 in donations. Nearly half of the funds raised — $10,850 — came from the WinVA Democratic PAC.
Incumbent Republican Del. Matt Farris, R-Campbell, reported $20,929 in donations, ending the period with a balance of $13,314 compared to Hickey’s balance of $18,430.
The district includes parts of Albemarle, Buckingham and Nelson County.
Over in the 17th Senate District, Democratic candidate and former member of the Charlottesville School Board, Amy Laufer, also bucked the trend and raised more than her incumbent Republican opponent.
Reporting $202,970 in donations, Laufer outraised Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, who reported $178,800 in donations. Among Laufer’s donors were Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, who donated $5,000, and Robert Hardie, a member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, who along with his wife donated a total of $26,000.
Laufer ended the period with $336,933 on hand.
Many of Reeves’ larger donors were PACs and companies, such as Altria Client Services, which donated $5,000 this period and a total of $25,000 this election, and the Republican GOPAC, which donated $20,000 this period and $81,308 in total.
Reeves ended the period with $321,499 on hand.
The 17th Senate District covers part of Albemarle, Culpeper, Spotsylvania and Louisa counties and all of Orange County and Fredericksburg.
Though not facing a Republican challenger, Deeds, the 25th District incumbent, still outraised his independent opponent, reporting $82,318 in donations and ending the period with a balance of $158,416.
Among Deeds’ higher donors are Democratic donor Sonjia Smith, who contributed $5,000, and her husband Michael D. Bills, president of Bluestem Asset Management, who donated $50,000.
Elliott Harding, an attorney and independent candidate for the 25th District, reported $20,285 in donations and ended the period with a balance of $5,898. Harding announced his candidacy in June and got on the ballot following an appeal to the Board of Elections.
The district covers all of the cities of Charlottesville, Lexington, Covington and Buena Vista and the counties of Alleghany, Bath, Nelson, Highland and Rockbridge and part of Albemarle County.