In Virginia, voters will be heading to the polls this November to elect their new governor, replacing the term-limited Democrat Governor Ralph Northam. The former swing state has been trending Democratic in recent election cycles, but this election is expected to be the closest statewide election in Virginia in recent memory.
Polling site FiveThirtyEight recently called Virginia the “GOP’s best shot at flipping a governorship in 2021 despite the fact that Republicans haven’t won a statewide race there since 2009.” New polling released last month showed a tight race in Virginia, with the Democrat leading the Republican nominee by only two points.
Both major parties have fielded candidates for the election, along with a candidate for the Liberation Party and an independent write-in candidate.
Terry McAuliffe is the Democrat on the ballot for governor this year. McAuliffe previously served a term in the role from 2013 to 2017, but was term-limited from seeking re-election in 2017. Prior to winning the governorship in 2013, he served as chair of the Democratic National Committee. McAuliffe won a competitive race for the Democratic nomination this year, defeating four other opponents to claim victory.
Glenn Youngkin is the Republican nominee, making this his first venture into electoral politics. Previously, Youngkin worked in the private sector as the CEO of private-equity firm The Carlyle Group. Youngkin won the Republican nomination at the state party convention, winning the support of 55 percent of delegates and defeating six other candidates.
Princess Blanding, a teacher and activist, will be on the ballot for the Liberation Party in the general election. Paul Davis will also be on the ballot as a write-in candidate. According to his Ballotpedia profile, Davis’ experience includes serving as a chief executive officer.
Whether the race will ultimately be as competitive as the pundits are expecting is up to the voters. While campaign finance is not the only factor in electoral outcomes, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages during a campaign.
Here’s just how much money each of the candidates raised and spent in the first half of 2021 to secure their spot on the ballot and encourage voters to turn out on election day.
|Terry McAuliffe (D)||Glenn Youngkin (R)||Princess Blanding (LP)||Paul Davis (Ind.)|
|Top Donor||Democratic Governors Association – Virginia ($2,000,000)||RGA Right Direction PAC Federal|
|Aggregated Unitemized Cash Contributions |
Between the major party candidates, McAuliffe is far outpacing Youngkin in overall contributions. McAuliffe has brought in just shy of $20.3 million for his campaign so far, nearly double Youngkin’s respectable $7.5 million haul.
Glenn Youngkin’s campaign has seen its biggest cash infusion from the candidate’s own pockets. Youngkin has loaned his campaign $12 million so far, with the largest loan coming in May in the amount of $5,000,000. Meanwhile, write-in candidate Paul Davis has been the only other candidate in the race to report any loans, receiving $3,227 in loans, thus far.
With $10,286,371, Youngkin has the most cash-on-hand. McAuliffe is not far behind with $9,031,149. The remaining candidates in the race have $7,739 and $546 on-hand, respectively.
While Youngkin was the bigger spender leading up to his nomination out of a crowded field of Republicans ($16.5 million spent compared to McAuliffe’s $11 million spent to secure a primary victory), the major party candidates’ reserves are nearly as close as the race is expected to be.
The general election will be held November 2, 2021, with the next available financial reports due in mid-October. To see more campaign finance data from this race, along with the other Virginia elections on the ballot in 2021, begin with our first-of-its-kind races feature.