- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2009

RICHMOND | Democrat R. Creigh Deeds received about $3.4 million in June, nearly double the cash raised by his Republican rival for governor, Robert F. McDonnell.

But Mr. McDonnell entered July with a substantially larger bank balance than Mr. Deeds as the two gear up for the four-month stretch to Election Day.

The fundraising figures highlight campaign finance reports due Wednesday to the State Board of Elections for contributions and spending from May 28 through the end of last month.

Mr. McDonnell raised $1.8 million for the month, but spent almost that much, leaving nearly $5 million in reserve.

Mr. Deeds, buoyed by a surprisingly easy victory in the June 9 three-man Democratic primary, amassed more last month than both major party candidates combined in the 2001 and the 2005 governor’s races.

Mr. Deeds spent nearly $1.2 million in June, leaving him with $2.7 million on hand.

For the campaign to date, Mr. Deeds’ committees have raised about $6.2 million compared with $10.6 million for Mr. McDonnell.

Not that either Mr. McDonnell or Mr. Deeds will want for cash.

Virginia and New Jersey both elect governors this year, and both are nationally important early voter referendums on President Obama and the Democratic Congress. The national parties have already given generously to both sides.

In Virginia, the rematch of the 2005 attorney general’s race that Mr. McDonnell won by 360 votes over Mr. Deeds out of nearly 2 million cast - the closest statewide election in Virginia history - is seen by both parties as a must-win grudge match.

After historic losses last fall, including the first Democratic presidential victory in Virginia in 44 years, the GOP is desperate for Mr. McDonnell to stop the bleeding in a state where Republican dominance was total just eight years ago.

Major GOP figures are prepared to help Mr. McDonnell campaign and raise cash. Uncontested for his nomination, Mr. McDonnell has already taken in nearly $3.5 million this year from national GOP organizations.

Democrats are equally resolved to hold on to the governor’s office for a third term in a row. Incumbent Tim Kaine, barred by Virginia’s one-of-a-kind ban on consecutive terms for governors, heads the Democratic National Committee and has access to millions of dollars he can route back home to keep his seat in Democratic hands.

Mr. Obama is at Mr. Deeds’ disposal, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected in Richmond for a Deeds fundraiser on Thursday.

Already, the Democratic Governors Association has spent $3 million on a Virginia political action committee, Common Sense Virginia, that stalked and bedeviled Mr. McDonnell into June with the heaviest run of televised attack ads yet.

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