In Virginia, voters will be heading to the polls tomorrow 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.” In Transparency USA’s previous update on the race in Virginia, polling showed a tight race, with the Democrat leading the Republican nominee by only two points. Today, the race is locked in a virtual dead heat, with varying polls showing either candidate leading by slim margins or a tied race.
As the race winds down, here is a final look at the candidates in the contest and the money behind their campaigns.
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 Davis’ 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 so far in the campaign to encourage voters to turn out on election day.
|Terry McAuliffe (D)||Glenn Youngkin (R)||Princess Blanding (L)||Paul Davis (Ind.)|
|Top Donor||Democratic Governors Association – Virginia ($6,671,445)||RGA Right Direction PAC Federal($10,500,000)||Chrischa Ives*|
As of our last update of the race, McAuliffe had raised over $20 million for his campaign, nearly double that of his opponent, who had raised $7.5 million. Fast forward to the final days of the campaign, and while McAuliffe still leads the fundraising fight, Youngkin has significantly grown his war chest in terms of contributions. McAuliffe has now raised $57.3 million, while Youngkin has raised $37.7 million.
Glenn Youngkin’s campaign has been boosted throughout the race by loans from the candidate’s own pockets. As of our last update of the race, Youngkin had loaned his campaign $5 million. Today, Youngkin’s campaign has been loaned $20 million by the candidate. Meanwhile, McAuliffe and Blanding’s campaigns have reported no loans.
While the cash-on-hand difference between McAuliffe and Youngkin was just over $1 million in favor of McAuliffe as of our last update of the race, the Republican candidate now has a decisive edge in this financial category. Youngkin has reported over $24.3 million in the bank just ahead of election day, while McAuliffe’s campaign is reporting just over $1.9 million in the bank.
Both McAuliffe and Youngkin have seen their largest single contributors this cycle be political action committees associated with their nominating parties. For McAuliffe, his top contributor has been the Democratic Governors Association – Virginia, which has contributed $6,671,445 to his campaign. Meanwhile, Youngkin’s top contributor has been the RGA Right Direction PAC Federal, which has contributed $10,500,000 to his campaign.
As for Blanding, the largest share of her contributions have come from unitemized donors, meaning donors that contributed $100 or less in total to her campaign.
The general election will be held November 2, 2021. For a final look at campaign finance data ahead of this race, along with the other Virginia elections on the ballot in 2021, check out our first-of-its-kind races feature.