The Virginia election season for most lawmakers begins in April with oily fish, a few cold beers and lighthearted stump speeches at the annual Shad Planking.
But for some Northern Virginia lawmakers, campaigning and fundraising is mostly a year-round grind.
“It is a constant thing,” said Delegate Vincent F. Callahan Jr., Fairfax County Republican. “When I came into office [in 1968], you didn’t raise money in an off year. It was actually frowned upon. Now it is all through the year, except for when we are in session.”
In Northern Virginia, he said, “We have to have some dough.”
Delegate Jeffrey M. Frederick, a Prince William Republican, said such efforts are “an indication I am not taking anything for granted, and I’m going to take any challenge seriously.”
Mr. Frederick, who had almost $142,000 cash on hand as of Dec. 31, is not alone.
The latest round of campaign-finance reports, filed in December with the Virginia State Board of Elections, show Northern Virginia Republicans have been busy fundraising in preparation for the elections. All 140 seats are up for re-election in November.
In Fairfax County, Sen. Jeannemarie A. Devolites Davis had $542,000; Sen. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II had $161,000; Sen. Jay O’Brien had $52,386; Delegate Thomas Davis Rust had $107,000; Delegate David B. Albo had nearly $100,000; Mr. Callahan had about $100,000; and Delegate Timothy D. Hugo had $71,000.
Republicans realize the victory by James H. Webb Jr., a Democrat, over incumbent George Allen, a Republican, in the U.S. Senate race last fall and the Democrats’ two consecutive gubernatorial wins has bolstered the state party’s belief that its strength is growing in Northern Virginia.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, and Delegate Brian J. Moran, Alexandria Democrat who has nearly $250,000, have made no secret of targeting Northern Virginia Republicans in the upcoming election, especially if the Republican-controlled General Assembly fails to pass a transportation package this legislative session.
“It has been made clear publicly by the Democrats that the No. 1 targets are Republican legislators in Northern Virginia and that makes it critical that Northern Virginia Republicans have the dollars available to run credible campaigns,” Mrs. Davis said. “It’s just a matter of: Is your campaign targeted and competitive?”
Some political pundits said Mrs. Davis, wife of Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, will be in a battle against former Delegate L. Chap Peterson, a Democrat known for his intense campaigning.
Mrs. Davis represents a district that supported Democratic Sen. John Kerry for president in 2004, Mr. Kaine in 2005, Mr. Webb last year, and that shot down a constitutional ban against same-sex “marriage.”
The latest finance reports also suggest that some of the aging Senate Republicans, who backed a $1 billion tax increase in 2004 by Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, and proposed statewide tax increases for transportation upgrades, expect the anti-tax wing of the Republican Party to come after them in the primary election.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman John H. Chichester, Stafford Republican, had about $337,000; and Senate Majority Leader Walter A. Stosch, Henrico Republican, had $375,000, as of Dec. 31.
Mr. Stosch’s primary opponent is self-described “commonsense conservative” Joseph R. Blackburn Jr., who had $57,000 cash on hand.
“Government is too big, and it tries to do too much,” Mr. Blackburn says on his campaign Web site. “Unfortunately, my opponent has been part of this expansion and growth. He has voted for even higher and higher taxes to pay for it.”
John A. Andrews, a member of the Loudoun County School Board, had the biggest war chest among challengers. Mr. Andrews has raised $292,000 to unseat Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., a fellow Republican. Mr. Potts had about $21,000 in his campaign coffers.
In 2005, the top five money raisers in Virginia House races were from either Fairfax or Prince William counties.
Mr. Frederick topped the list with $580,000, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. He won by 340 votes in what became the most expensive House race in state history, according to the state board of elections.