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

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Candidates find gaps remain in fundraising; B1

By Garren Shipley
Daily Staff Writer

The money race for the 10th District House of Representatives election is getting closer, but the cash gap between Virginia’s two U.S. Senate candidates is still wide.

Candidates for federal office in the Nov. 7 election were required to file reports on Friday detailing how much money their campaigns have received, where it’s coming from and where it’s going.

The 10th District race between Republican incumbent Rep. Frank Wolf and Democratic challenger Judy Feder is getting closer, based on fundraising totals from May 25 to June 30.

As of June 30, 13-term incumbent Wolf had raised some $872,000 during the election cycle, while Feder reported $605,000.

But Feder actually out-raised Wolf by more than $35,000 in the five weeks covered by the latest report — a sign of growing strength, according to the Feder camp, even though Wolf maintains the fiscal upper hand.

“Americans have a powerful desire for change, and I have the resources to let Virginians know that they have a choice in November,” Feder says in a statement announcing her fundraising totals.

One major factor in Feder’s fundraising has been ActBlue, a Web site focused on helping Democratic candidates raise money via the Internet. The site allows Web users all over the country to donate to candidates online, either at the main site or through links on other pages.

Feder’s team has made solid use of the new technology, raking more than $205,000 from just over 700 donations, according to the site.

But Wolf’s campaign is quick to point out that most of Feder’s donations — including those from the Internet — have come from outside the 10th District, while Wolf’s support is homegrown.

While a detailed breakdown of donors to each campaign wasn’t immediately available Friday, some 83 percent of Feder’s cash was coming from out of state as of the last report, while 81 percent of Wolf’s donors live in Virginia.

Feder’s out-of-state donors may want her to win, but only people who live in the 10th District can actually vote for her, said Wolf campaign spokesman Woody Patrick.

Wolf’s own efforts are well ahead of where they were two years ago, when Wolf was challenged by James Socas, “a wealth self-funder,” Patrick said. Wolf still has a cash lead of $175,000 over his challenger — and the campaign isn’t concerned by Feder’s May-June fundraising.

But “our campaign takes every challenger seriously,” he added.

Neither campaign has started spending serious money yet. Feder’s team spent $39,000 during the reporting period, while Wolf’s campaign laid out just under $68,000.

Feder is the dean of Georgetown University’s public policy institute. The 10th District takes in much of Northern Virginia, stretching from Frederick County eastward to Loudoun County and on to Fairfax County, where it takes in key cities like Manassas and McLean.

On the Senate side, the money race remains a race in name only.

U.S. Sen. George Allen, the Republican incumbent, retains a commanding lead over Democratic challenger James Webb.

Webb, a former GOP secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, raked in more than a half-million dollars this reporting period and cracked the $1 million mark for this election cycle campaign.

But Allen raised $40,000 more than Webb and already was sitting on a multimillion-dollar lead.

As of June 30, Allen’s campaign had a $6.6 million war chest — after a $1.5 million television advertising buy — compared to Webb’s $424,000.

Webb’s campaign spent $373,000, primarily before the June 13 Democratic primary.