- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

RICHMOND (AP) Gov. Mark R. Warner's inaugural committee raised $2.5 million and wound up with a nearly $1 million surplus that will be used to retire his campaign debts and for other political purposes.
Of the unspent funds, $415,000 will pay debts and $528,547 will be available to Mr. Warner for political and nonprofit purposes, said Mame Reiley, a Democratic Party activist who oversaw the inaugural festivities in January.
"We mainly wanted to raise what we needed to spend," Miss Reiley said Monday. "Frankly, we were dumbfounded with the amount we raised, especially with the number of donors."
The inaugural committee filed a report Friday with the state Board of Elections showing the money came from nearly 2,500 donors, including many corporations and trade associations. Miss Reiley said those contributions allowed inaugural organizers to keep ticket prices low for Mr. Warner's supporters who flocked to Richmond for a weekend of balls, concerts and other celebrations.
Donors who spent $50,000 for a package of inaugural activities, including box seats and a private reception with the new governor, included the Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers political action committee, credit card giant Capital One and telephone company Verizon.
The $25,000 donors included Anheuser-Busch, AOL Time Warner, Sprint, SunTrust and Wachovia banks and Richmond-based mystery writer Patricia Cornwell, according to the committee's report.
Contributing $10,000 each were Virginia-based PACs for anesthesiologists, doctors, dentists and the cable television industry.
Former Gov. James S. Gilmore III, a Republican, raised nearly $2 million for his inauguration four years ago.
Previous governors also have used surplus inaugural funds to retire campaign debts and for other political purposes, such as paying bonuses to senior campaign staffers.
The other two statewide office winners wound up with surplus money that could be used for future campaigns.
Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, raised almost $313,000 and used only $75,297 for his inauguration, leaving $237,773 unspent. Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, the only Republican to win statewide office last November, collected $615,244 and spent $294,132. That leaves him with $321,111.

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