October 3, 2019 News

In key battleground, Democrats winning fundraising battle as election nears


by Grant Fox

In key battleground, Democrats winning fundraising battle as election nears 

KEY POINTS:

Heading into November’s election, a majority of Democratic candidates for Virginia’s General Assembly continue to outraise their Republican opponents in Chesterfield, some by two and three times as much.

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"These are unusually strong numbers for challengers," says Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington...Bob Holsworth, a longtime political analyst in Richmond, says these figures show how important these races are for both parties. "The Democrats have done, I thought, particularly in these House races, an excellent job in funding the challengers," Holsworth says. "In many instances, while they have raised more money recently, the incumbent has as much – if not more – cash on hand, which is important. But it shows that the Democrats are really putting an effort into [these races]."

[...]

Farnsworth says Bynum-Coleman’s haul speaks volumes about interest in her and the race in the 66th. "That’s a significant accomplishment," Farnsworth says. "When you think about the ability of Virginian politicians to raise money, the speaker of the house is pretty much at the top of the list."

See below from the Chesterfield Observer:  

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Chesterfield Observer: Democrats winning fundraising battle as election nears

By Rich Griset

October 2, 2019

Heading into November’s election, a majority of Democratic candidates for Virginia’s General Assembly continue to outraise their Republican opponents in Chesterfield, some by two and three times as much.

On Sept. 15, the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project published candidate fundraising figures for July and August, showing that Democratic enthusiasm has yet to wane three years after the election of Republican President Donald Trump. In a county where many of its districts recently became bluer through a redrawn legislative map, Democrats are hoping that gains made in Chesterfield will help them flip both houses of the General Assembly.

In the race for Virginia’s 10th state Senate District, Democrat Ghazala Hashmi outraised Sen. Glen Sturtevant: $269,710 to his $138,127. In Virginia’s 27th House District, Democrat Larry Barnett raised more than three times what Republican Del. Roxann Robinson did in the two-month span: $158,989 to her $44,677.

Republican Speaker Kirk Cox, running for reelection in Virginia’s 66th House District, narrowly outperformed Democratic challenger Sheila Bynum-Coleman, raising $390,453 to her $330,347. “These are unusually strong numbers for challengers,” says Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington. “Challengers usually find it difficult to compete with incumbents when it comes to raising money, but [in] the Barnett/Robinson and the Cox/Bynum-Coleman races, you see that those challengers are doing what few challengers do: raise money in amounts comparable to incumbents.”

Generally, Farnsworth says both parties are putting a lot of money into Chesterfield races, calling it “the equivalent of a financial arms race.”

Bob Holsworth, a longtime political analyst in Richmond, says these figures show how important these races are for both parties.

“The Democrats have done, I thought, particularly in these House races, an excellent job in funding the challengers,” Holsworth says. “In many instances, while they have raised more money recently, the incumbent has as much – if not more – cash on hand, which is important. But it shows that the Democrats are really putting an effort into [these races].”

He points to the Barnett/Robinson race as an example of Democratic efforts to back challengers. Just two years ago, Barnett came within 125 votes of victory against Robinson in the 27th.

“That was a very close race last time, and Barnett didn’t really have many resources or much in the way in party support,” he says. “The big uncertainty here is that there’s not a Democrat at the top of the ticket statewide, as you had in 2017, so the Democrats have to find a way to [drive] a very significant turnout.”

As for the Cox race – which had its district recently redrawn to become 32 points bluer than it was previously, yielding a 6.5-point advantage to a Democratic candidate – Holsworth says the map may favor Bynum-Coleman, but Cox’s deep roots in the county may still give him the advantage.

“Kirk Cox is working as if this is a very competitive race,” Holsworth says. “He has been knocking on doors, he has been going to events; he has been everywhere over the last few months trying to ensure that he keeps his seat here.”

Farnsworth says Bynum-Coleman’s haul speaks volumes about interest in her and the race in the 66th.

“That’s a significant accomplishment,” Farnsworth says. “When you think about the ability of Virginian politicians to raise money, the speaker of the house is pretty much at the top of the list.”

Also on the ballot in that race is Independent candidate Linnard Harris Sr., who raised $1,643 in July and August.

In other Chesterfield races, first-time Democratic Del. Dawn Adams outraised Republican challenger Garrison Coward, $86,804 to $36,174 in the House’s 68th District; Democratic challenger Amanda Pohl outraised Republican Sen. Amanda Chase $149,649 to $99,701 in Virginia’s 11th Senate District; and Democratic Del. Lashrecse Aird outraised independent challenger and former Chesterfield registrar Larry Haake in the House’s 63rd, $76,801 to $5,850. Also, Democrat Joe Morrissey outraised independent challenger Waylin Ross, $54,549 to $460. In uncontested races, Democrats Del. Betsy Carr in the 69th and Del. Delores McQuinn in the 70th raised $11,550 and $2,250, respectively.

Still, there are outliers: Two Republicans, incumbent Del. Lee Ware and Chesterfield School Board member Carrie Coyner, each significantly outraised their Democratic opponents. In the 65th House District, Ware raised $40,390 to challenger Mike Asip’s $13,530, and in the race for Del. Riley Ingram’s 62nd House District seat, Coyner raised $220,999 to challenger Lindsey Dougherty’s $64,405.

Holsworth says Coyner’s experience and reputation as a School Board member, coupled with her embrace of efforts to further education equality and address the needs of English as a second language students, may play well in a district that’s not overwhelmingly red. “She has taken positions over the years that are not necessarily absolutely aligned with Republican orthodoxy,” Holsworth says. “At the same time, she has a tremendous fundraising base.”

Still, Holsworth says the district isn’t as strongly Republican as it was before the redistricting, and that a Coyner victory isn’t a done deal.

“[Dougherty’s] $64,000 is not bad, but it basically shows that this race has yet to reach the level as one that the Democrats are targeting strategically,” he says. But, “I think it’s too early to write Dougherty off.”

From pocketbooks to the polls, one thing is certain: The county is key to determining the makeup of the General Assembly over the next two years.

“No doubt about it, Virginia is closer to flipping both chambers in 2019 than it has been in quite some time,” Farnsworth says. “It’s clear that Chesterfield is going to be one of the key places that decides which party controls the legislature next year.”

Read the full article here

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