Early fundraising in the fierce Virginia U.S. Senate race finds former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) leading his probable Republican opponent George Allen, a former governor and senator, by more than $1 million.
"The numbers confirm our suspicions – Virginia is going to have a very expensive and competitive Senate race," said Geoff Skelley of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Mark Rozell, a George Mason University professor and Virginia political observer said, "Kaine's lead is impressive, but both candidates are succeeding at raising the necessary sums that will make them competitive. I suspect this fund-raising gap will put pressure on GOP-leaning contributors to step up their efforts for Allen and the gap will become less over time."
The Virginia race is expected to be one of the marquee senate races in the U.S. Virginia is one of about a dozen battleground states in the 2012 presidential election.
The race has no incumbent- Democratic Sen. Jim Webb decided against running for reelection and pits two former governors against each other.
Allen lost the seat to Webb in 2006.
Kaine's contributors: 34 percent are Virginia residents and 38 percent live out of the state.
Small donations make up 10 percent of Allen's funds and 17 percent of Kaine's.
"Allen has received a greater percentage of his contributions from PACs than Kaine (13 percent vs. 7 percent) while Kaine has received more from individual contributors and from small donors. But Allen has received more money from Virginia donors than Kaine, so I’m sure the Allen team will be pleased about that fact," Skelley said.
Kaine is scheduled to appear with Vice President Joe Biden on May 24, at a fundraiser/reception in McLean.
Has there been very much Super PAC spending in this race?
The recent Crossroads GPS ad buy attacking Kaine was for $275,000 in the Washington, Richmond, and Charlottesville TV markets. But now Majority PAC, a Democratic-aligned Super PAC, has launched an ad criticizing Allen’s gubernatorial tenure. While the amount of the buy is undisclosed, according to Roll Call, it was “six-figures” for a one week buy. The final amount of outside spending for this race will undoubtedly be in the millions, Skelley said.
Prof. Rozell, "Democrats are intensely aware of how important this state's campaigns will be to the party's fortunes in national politics. The presidential race will pour enormous resources into Virginia. The Senate race is considered one of the most competitive in the nation."
The Virginia senate race the sixth most expensive Senate race in the U.S. with $13.6 million raised so far. Massachusetts leads.
Virginia U.S. Senate Race by the Numbers*
George Allen (R) - Total raised: $6.1 million
- Virginia individuals (who gave more than $200): 48 percent of all donations
- Out of state individuals: 24 percent
- Small individual donations: 10 percent
- Other: 18 percent
Tim Kaine (D) - Total raised: $7.4 million
- Virginia individuals: 34 percent
- Out of state individuals: 38 percent
- Small individual donations: 17 percent
- Other: 11 percent