- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

UPDATED:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds had his most successful campaign finance period to date, outraising his opponent by bringing in $3.5 million during the last reporting period.

Republican challenger Robert F. McDonnell brought in nearly $3 million during the fundraising period, which ran from July 1 to Aug. 31.

The campaigns announced their fundraising totals hours before the State Board of Elections’ evening report deadline.

In the previous period, Mr. Deeds outraised Mr. McDonnell nearly 2-to-1, bringing in about $3.4 million compared with Mr. McDonnell’s $1.8 million.



Mr. McDonnell retains his cash-on-hand advantage with $5.8 million in the coffers while the Deeds campaign reported that it has $4.4 million.

Since the Deeds campaign commenced, it has spent $5.3 million, nearly $2 million of which was spent during this past period.

“Over the last weeks, we’ve seen a surge of grass-roots support for Creigh Deeds,” campaign manager Joe Abbey said in announcing the numbers. “Virginians know that there’s a stark choice in this election between moving Virginia forward with Creigh Deeds and moving backwards with Bob McDonnell.” Mr. Deeds raised more money during the fundraising period ending Aug. 31 than either Democratic or Republican candidate raised in 2005 or 2001.

The Deeds campaign was able to attract 2,284 new donors during the period, giving it a total of 3,453 donors. The McDonnell campaign had 4,946 new donors and a total of 6,239 donors during the period.

Mr. McDonnell’s campaign manager, Phil Cox, touted the Republican’s higher number of donors when announcing the figures.

“With a significant advantage in our cash on hand and nearly 2,500 more donors than our opponent, we have great momentum and are in a strong position for the final 50 days of this campaign,” Mr. Cox said. “The fact that we have nearly 2,500 more donors than Creigh Deeds is reflective of the grass-roots energy we have seen building throughout our campaign. It is clear that Virginians are rallying behind Bob’s positive message of new jobs and more opportunities. They continue to demonstrate this through their continued contributions, phone banking, and door-knocking.”

It is still unclear what impact The Washington Post’s publication in late August of Mr. McDonnell’s graduate school thesis — parts of which he since has repudiated and in which he said homosexuality, working women and abortion were detrimental to traditional American families — had on the fundraising figures.

National Democrats boasted that the number was strong but hinted it doesn’t include the full impact of money that poured in following stories about Mr. McDonnell’s thesis. A Democratic official said the party’s base and donors have been excited since the story broke.

As just one of two governor’s races in the country this election cycle, the national parties have committed noticeable resources to the Virginia candidates.

On Tuesday, the Republican National Committee announced that it sent another $400,000 to the McDonnell campaign and will commit more than $7 million to win the governor’s race.

Katie Wright, a spokeswoman for the RNC, sent around a note to reporters Tuesday afternoon before the McDonnell campaign released its numbers, noting that the party is fully behind Mr. McDonnell’s campaign.

“The RNC is fully committed to ensuring that the campaign has the resources necessary to elect Bob McDonnell to [be the] next governor of Virginia,” she said.

The McDonnell campaign said it had only brought in $350,000 from national groups last period.

Earlier this month, the Democratic National Committee announced that it will give $5 million to the Deeds campaign.

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