- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 18, 2009

RICHMOND | Republican House of Delegates candidates edged Democrats in fundraising in June and enjoy a substantial advantage in cash on hand entering the fall election stretch run.

Republicans took in nearly $1.56 million from May 28 through June 30, compared to $1.42 million for Democratic House candidates.

The figures come from campaign finance reports filed Wednesday with the State Board of Elections and compiled into a database by the nonpartisan and nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project.

When it comes to cash on hand, Republicans started July with $4.4 million in their bank accounts compared with $2.6 million for Democrats.

With control of the 100-member House at stake in this fall’s elections, both parties have spent about the same amount thus far: $4.9 million by the Republicans, $4.5 million by the Democrats.

The Democrats can take outright control of the House for the first time since 1997 if they can win six seats from the Republican majority this fall.

The fattest account by far belonged not to the House’s handful of top Democratic and Republican leaders but to Delegate Rob Bell, Albemarle Republican. He had slightly more than $582,000 in his campaign account.

Mr. Bell raised the fourth-largest amount of any House candidate for the 34-day filing period, at $74,490.

But Democrat Paul Nichols of Prince William pulled in the most cash for the period at $128,860, with Fairfax County Republican David Albo close behind at $127,787 and Republican Delegate Phil Hamilton of Newport News third at $112,733. Mr. Albo and Mr. Nichols face challengers this fall.

Mr. Albo, who represents a district where 57 percent of the voters supported Democrat Barack Obama for president in the fall, also has been the second-most prolific spender for this year’s House races. His $241,000 is second only to the total for House Minority Leader Ward L. Armstrong of Henry County, who spent much of his $280,000 aiding other Democratic House candidates.

Mr. Hamilton spent nearly $227,000.

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