Thursday, July 16, 2009

Virginia gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds’ roughly $3.4 million in campaign contributions last month were made by donors that included big businesses like Altria and Verizon, who sat on the sidelines until the Democratic primary was decided.

The state senator and his Republican rival, Robert F. McDonnell, filed campaign finance reports for the period from May 28-June 20 with the state elections board Wednesday.

Mr. Deeds, apparently bolstered by his decisive victory in the Democratic primary on June 9, outraised Mr. McDonnell by nearly two to one, drawing about $3.4 million compared to $1.8 million for Mr. McDonnell.

Of the money raised by Mr. Deeds, $500,000 came from the Democratic Governors Association, while another $500,000 came from the Democratic National Committee, according to donations listed on the Virginia Public Access Project Web site,

Additionally, the Verizon Good Government Club of Virginia gave $50,000 and Altria Client Services Inc. gave $25,000.

The Virginia governor’s race — one of two gubernatorial contests this year — has attracted nationwide attention in what became a battleground state in last year’s presidential election.

Mr. Deeds also reported a $500,000 contribution from the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees and $100,000 from Barbara J. Fried of the Virginia-based Fried Companies Inc. Ms. Fried had previously given $100,000 to Brian J. Moran, who lost the Democratic nomination to Mr. Deeds.

Sen. Mark Warner also contributed $25,000 to Mr. Deeds.

Mr. McDonnell’s biggest donations were $50,000, from Joseph Luter III, head of Smithfield Packing Company, and Richard Gilliam, of coal company Cumberland Resources Management.

Mr. McDonnell also received $25,000 from the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus and $10,000 from the 7th District Republican Committee.

While Mr. McDonnell raised less than Mr. Deeds since the primary, he retains a significant cash advantage, with $4.9 million to spend. That total is about the same as what he had on hand when he filed his last report in the first week of June.

Mr. McDonnell also raised more money than Mr. Deeds through small donations of $100 or less. Mr. Deeds, who was the recipient of a fundraising e-mail from President Obama, raised only $69,726 in small donations while Mr. McDonnell, who aggressively used Facebook and Twitter to raise funds, brought in $98,583.

Mr. Deeds has about $2.7 million remaining after spending $1.2 million in June.

Both parties claimed victory, with McDonnell campaign manager Phil Cox saying the totals put them “in a strong financial position to carry our positive message of new jobs and more opportunities to every region of the state.”

The Deeds campaign pointed out that Mr. Deeds in the monthlong reporting period almost doubled what he had raised in his campaign to date.

“The key to winning this campaign will be to show who has the best plan to keep Virginia moving forward, and this month has shown that we are well on our way to having the financial resources to do that,” Mr. Deeds said.

A poll released last week showed Mr. McDonnell leading Mr. Deeds 49 percent to 43 percent.

The poll of 617 likely voters was conducted by nonpartisan Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling between June 30 and July 2 and has a margin of error of four percentage points.

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