The Daily Press
April 16, 2018
Elaine Luria got a late start in her bid for Congress, but of all the candidates seeking to unseat Virginia’s incumbents in the House of Representatives, she was the busiest so far this year in the critical work of raising the big bucks needed to run.
Still, the $373,375 she raised though March 31 still leaves her a long way behind incumbent Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Virginia, in the race to represent the sprawling Eastern Shore to Williamsburg 2nd Congressional District, the latest campaign finance reports of the Federal Elections Commission show.
After the spending needed to get a campaign going, Luria was left with a war chest of $291,175 as of March 31. Taylor has $842,961, after raising $536,535 in the first three months of the year.
Luria, a Navy veteran and businessowner from Norfolk, got a big leg up from ACT Blue, a national political action committee that promotes Democratic candidates. It gave a total of $172,978 during the quarter, largely acting as a conduit for Democratsfrom around the nation.
It’s yet another sign that there’s big interest outside Hampton Roads in swinging the 2nd district, which went 48 percent to 45 percent for Donald Trump in 2016 but 51 percent for Democrat Ralph Northam in last year’s gubernatorial race.
But one big question is the level of local interest. Out of the big sums flowing into campaign accounts, Taylor netted $153,167 from people living in the district, a review of the FEC filings show, Luria’s total was $47,408.
The other Democratic hopeful in the race, Virginia Beach teacher Karen Mallard raised $24,717 so far this year, and now reported a total balance in her campaign fund of $14,099.
Taylor faces a Republican challenger, former James City County board of supervisors member Mary Jones. She raised $31,661 in the first three months of the year, and has $22,986 on hand.
Luria and Mallard are seeking the Democratic nomination in the June 12 primary, while Taylor faces Jones in the GOP primary that day.
In the 1st district, Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland, raised $248,581 and has just over $1 million on hand. Democratic hopefuls have raised far less: John Suddarth raised $36,114; Vangie WIlliams, $26,245 and Edwin Santana raised $12,901.
In the 3rd district, where Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Newport News, is so far the only candidate registered with the FEC, he reported raising $66,285 in the quarter.
The big money is still focused on Northern Virginia’s 10th district, where Rep, Barbara Comstock, R-McLean, is seen by many analysts as among the most vulnerable GOP members of Congress. She raised $810,386 in the quarter and now has $1.8 million in her campaign fund. All in all, the six Democrats seeking their party’s nomination to challenger her raised just over $1.2 million in the quarter. Comstock also faces a challenge from the right, now that conservative activist Shak Hill, who raised $75,230, is seeking the GOP nomination.
Money flows are also suggesting two other GOP strongholds are targeted by Democrats this year. In the Piedmon region’s 5th District, where incumbent Rep Tom Garrett. R-Buckingham, raised $125,924 in the quarter, four Democratic challenges raised a combined total of $472,205.In central Virginia’s 7th District, Rep. Dave Brat, R-Henrico, raised $248,461, his two challengers raised $569.488.
Money isn’t votes, of course. But money woos votes. And money — especially how much and where it comes from — can be an early signal of how campaigns are organizing themselves.