Apr 20, 2023 - Politics

The General Assembly's money race begins

Illustration of Benjamin Franklin wearing a vote button.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Gov. Glenn Youngkin is breaking fundraising records heading into this year's General Assembly elections, but Democrats still hold the cash advantage.

Why it matters: If Youngkin wants to pass any consequential conservative legislation before his term ends, Republicans have to win a Senate majority this year.

Driving the news: Candidates and PACs filed their first fundraising reports of the campaign season this week.

Yes, but: Democrats raised a pretty penny, too.

  • They significantly outraised Republicans in the Senate and hold a narrower fundraising advantage in the House, per VPAP.

By the numbers: Adding up the final balances of each party's candidates, leadership committees and PACs, Democrats closed out the quarter with about $23.5 million in the bank compared to about $21.5 million reported by Republicans.

What they’re saying: Youngkin "will continue to raise resources here at home and nationwide to support the 2023 legislative elections; this is just the start," said the chairman of his PAC, Dave Rexrode, in a statement.

  • On the Democratic side, state party spokesman Liam Watson mocked Youngkin for spending "his term flitting from state to state" courting donors, per the Washington Post.

The intrigue: Youngkin’s biggest single donation came from an entity he identified in reports as "Third Street Philadelphia Holding," which donated $250,000.

  • The group has no online presence, and Youngkin’s PAC did not respond to questions about the group or its interest in state politics.

Meanwhile, Charlottesville multimillionaire Michael Bills reloaded his Clean Virginia PAC with $3.8 million in cash, per VPAP.

  • The group, which seeks to counter Dominion Energy's influence in the legislature, is nonpartisan but has mostly given to Democratic candidates.

What’s next: As the AP's Sarah Rankin put it, "this is only the beginning of the flow of what will likely be tens of millions more in a state that allows unlimited campaign donations."


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