Jul 19, 2023 - Politics

Youngkin is hauling in record money for Virginia Republicans

Illustration of a weather forecast, stylized as rain made of money.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Gov. Glenn Youngkin's national profile is bringing in big bucks for Virginia Republicans.

What's happening: His PAC, Spirit of Virginia, raised a record $5.75 million last quarter amid national interest in Youngkin as a rising star within the party.

  • That's more than any previous governor has raised in an entire year regardless of their party, according to the PAC.

Why it matters: Republicans in Virginia have struggled to match Democrats' fundraising in recent elections.

  • So far, Youngkin's haul has been more than enough to make up for still-lagging fundraising by GOP candidates themselves.

By the numbers: All told Republican committees, candidates and caucuses raised nearly $13 million over the past three months, per campaign finance disclosures compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project.

  • Democrats, meanwhile, brought in about $11 million.

Details: Youngkin's biggest donations, $1 million each, came from Thomas Peterffy, a GOP megadonor who had been a major funder of Ron DeSantis' presidential bid, and an LLC with ties to a Texas education reform advocate, per the Times-Dispatch.

What they're saying: “We’re bringing near gubernatorial-level resources to legislative races — and we’re going to need it; we have a tough battle ahead," Dave Rexrode, Youngkin's PAC chairman, said in a statement to Axios.

The other side: In a statement, Democrats touted direct fundraising by their candidates, which continues to outpace direct fundraising by GOP candidates.

  • House Minority Leader Don Scott accused Republican candidates of relying on "nameless, faceless, out-of-state mega-donors who have been pouring millions into the commonwealth to push right-wing policies with no regard to what Virginians actually want."

Between the lines: Whether or not Youngkin ends up running for president is likely less important to his fundraising success than the fact he's widely viewed as a rising star within the party, says University of Mary Washington political scientist Stephen Farnsworth.

  • "A lot of Republican donors want to be in on the ground floor of a potential future candidate," he said.

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