- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 3, 2009

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Brian J. Moran challenged his fellow candidates for the Democratic nomination Friday to agree to accept only in-state donations during what is expected to be a budget-busting contest.

“This election should be about who has a proven record of fighting for Virginia families and a vision for where to take the state,” said Mr. Moran, a former state delegate and one of three likely Democrats vying to succeed Gov. Tim Kaine next year. “It should not be an election about who can raise more money from national donors. Virginia Democrats should choose our nominee.”

The proposition — which Mr. Moran initially made on WTOP Radio’s The Politics Program with Mark Plotkin — was not agreed to by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who was likely its primary target.

Mr. McAuliffe, who has a vast network of political donors, is expected to make an announcement Wednesday about his candidacy. Adviser Mo Elleithee stressed that the former party chairman “hasn’t made any decisions” about entering the race, but said he would not limit himself to in-state donations if he does run.

“If he decides to get in the race, he’s going to make sure he has the resources he needs to run a competitive race,” Mr. Elleithee said. “But his main focus is going to be on talking to Virginians about the issues that matter to them. Virginians aren’t sitting around their kitchen table talking about campaign fundraising.”

There are no limits on campaign contributions in Virginia, and a recent report said Mr. McAuliffe could raise as much as $80 million, although the candidate’s camp has disputed that number.

“The figure keeps increasing by the day,” Mr. Moran said. “I am concerned by that.”

Peter Jackson, a spokesman for state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County — the other Democrat officially in the race — would not say whether his candidate would take the pledge but said Mr. Deeds wants to stay out of the fundraising debate.

“If you want a campaign message that is fundraising, fundraising, fundraising, Senator Deeds isn’t your guy,” Mr. Jackson said.

Mr. Deeds had roughly $650,000 on hand for his campaign this summer, while Mr. Moran had more than $924,000, according to the candidates’ camps.

An analysis of 2008 donations to the two listed on the Virginia Public Access Project Web site (www.vpap.org) showed that Mr. Deeds collected roughly $30,000 from out-of-state donations while Mr. Moran received roughly $93,000 from outside Virginia.

Mr. Moran resigned from the General Assembly last month. He asked that the donation pledge take effect immediately and run through the party’s primary in June, when a nominee will be selected to take on Attorney General Bob McDonnell, the only Republican in the race.

But when pressed by Mr. Plotkin on whether he would adhere to the rule if his competitors did not, Mr. Moran said he would be at a disadvantage by taking the pledge alone.

“If they say ‘No,’ I’ll be disappointed,” he said. “But … I’m not getting into a fight with one arm tied behind my back.”

Candidates have until Jan. 15 to file their next campaign finance reports.

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