The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Candidates spending the big bucks; A1

This year’s gubernatorial campaign fundraising has set a new record

By Garren Shipley
(Daily Staff Writer)

The 2005 gubernatorial race is now the most expensive on record.

Republican Jerry Kilgore and Democrat Tim Kaine dumped millions of dollars into media buys in the second half of October, all but emptying out their massive, record-breaking war chests in a dash to Election Day.

This year’s race for the governor’s mansion bests the mark set in 2001 by Gov. Mark R. Warner and Mark Early by $3.7 million with less than two weeks to go, according to figures from the Virginia State Board of Elections.

Collectively Kaine, Kilgore and independent candidate state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., R-Winchester, had raised $37.9 million as of Oct. 26, with more money flowing in.

Kilgore’s campaign is on a pace to break the individual fundraising record set by Warner. At the end of the reporting period, Kilgore’s campaign had raised $19 million.

Warner raised a total of $20.2 million, including $4.7 million from his own pocket.

Kaine isn’t far behind. Warner’s 2001 running mate had $17.6 million in contributions to his name as of the last week of October.

Neither campaign showed any signs of slowing its fundraising during the last pre-election reporting period, either.

Kaine raked in another $3 million, Kilgore $4.4 million. Spending, however, reached what appears to be a peak.

Both men have spent the vast majority of their funds during the October reporting period on broadcast advertising.

Kilgore paid out some $5.9 million to Texas-based Scott Howell and Company, in addition to more than $3.7 million paid out to the media consulting and production group previously.

Democrat Kaine paid out even more this period, some $7.89 million during the first 26 days of October, primarily to Media Strategies and Research of Fairfax. Camp Kaine had previously paid $3.4 million to the firm for ad production and media buys.

As a result, both party-backed campaigns have largely depleted their war chests.

Kaine had a little over $700,000 left on hand as of last week, Kilgore a tick under $900,000. Both still have more on hand than Potts, who took in another $57,600 in October.

His campaign also spent a substantial sum on media, but orders of magnitude less than the GOP and Democratic tickets — $23,961 went to Minnesota-based North Woods Advertising, the advertising firm behind former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura’s successful bid.

Further down the ticket, the numbers are much more modest, but the patterns are similar, although some contenders finished the period much closer to zero than their opponents.

Lieutenant governor candidates Republican Bill Bolling and Democrat Leslie Byrne have largely burned through their war chests, spending about $600,000 each.

Bolling has a little more than $200,000 left, while Byrne has about $60,000.

Republican attorney general candidate Bob McDonnell raised more than $1.18 million during the period, but spent more than $1.9 million, leaving some $87,000 for the final push.

The campaign also reported after the filing deadline that it had received an in-kind donation of some $800,000 for media buys from the Republican State Leadership Committee.

McDonnell’s opponent, Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, spent about $1 million in October and finished with $526,000 on hand.

All candidates are required to report donations larger than $1,000 from now until the election within 24 hours of receipt.

Election Day is Tuesday.