Virginia Gov Debate

Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, shakes hands with Republican candidate Ed Gillespie after their Oct. 9 debate at U.Va.-Wise.

Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie combined to raise a record-smashing $20.6 million between Oct. 1 and Oct. 26, as national money poured into Virginia's marquee election for governor.

The combined haul was nearly twice the record that Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli raised in the same time period four years ago, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in state politics.

Virginia and New Jersey are the only states that elect governors the year after a presidential election. Virginia's contest is widely seen as the more competitive contest. The spigot of campaign money is funding a flurry of television ads ahead of the Nov. 7 election.

As of the previous reporting period, Northam had amassed a sizable fundraising advantage over Gillespie entering October with more than double his GOP rival in cash on hand. But a gusher of money from each major party's governors' association made for a financially competitive contest in the homestretch.

For the week of Oct. 23-29, advertising spending by Gillespie and allied groups in the state's four largest TV markets topped $2.4 million, to $2.0 million for Northam and allied groups, VPAP reported recently, citing Federal Communications Commission data. Democrat-leaning groups had topped the ad spending in each of the four previous weeks.

Northam, the state's current lieutenant governor, raised $10,966,135 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 26. He spent nearly $15 million in the period, finishing with a balance of $1.65 million.

Northam's largest donor in the period was DGA Action, the Democratic Governors Association committee, which contributed $3.2 million. This year it has contributed more than $6 million to Northam's war chest.

Northam's haul included $2.65 million from in-kind contributions, donations of goods or services, such as mailers or travel. Northam's top donors of in-kind contributions were Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC, which contributed more than $827,000 during the reporting period, and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters PAC which donated $645,000.

Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, brought in $9,656,267 during the reporting period. He spent nearly $10.8 million, finishing with a balance of $1.36 million.

Gillespie took in $3.5 million in the period from the Republican Governors Association, which previously donated $1 million to his campaign in September.

Gillespie reported an additional $1.25 million contribution from RGA Right Direction, which was set up as a Super PAC to oppose Hillary Clinton, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Republican reported nearly $1.3 million in in-kind contributions from the Republican Party of Virginia.

Cliff Hyra, the Libertarian candidate for governor, raised $11,505 in the reporting period, spent $10,161 and finished with a balance of $5,269.

In the contest for lieutenant governor, Republican Jill Vogel and Democrat Justin Fairfax combined to raise nearly $2.7 million in the period, nearly twice the previous record of $1.4 million set in 2001 by Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Jay Katzen.

In the race for attorney general, Democrat Mark Herring, the incumbent, and Republican John Adams brought in $6.1 million in the period, nearly twice the prior record of $3.4 million that Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain raised in the same time period four years ago.

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Twitter: @AndrewCainRTD

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