Virginia’s Democratic legislative candidates have been found to have a fundraising edge over their Republican counterparts, thanks in part to donations from a George Soros-linked political action committee. The fundraising lead comes as the traditionally conservative state elected a Republican governor for the first time since 2009, and both parties see new opportunities to win additional seats in the legislature. Candidates for the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates raised over $20 million from April 1 to June 8, with Democrats taking in around $14 million, according to non-partisan tracker of money in politics, Virginia Public Access Project.
Soros-Linked Political Action Committee Shells Out Major Cash in Northern Virginia Races
The Justice and Public Safety PAC, funded by billionaire and liberal political donor George Soros, provided a large amount of the cash. Some of the biggest fundraising totals came from northern Virginia where the political action committee has shelled out significant sums for races for prosecutor. It supports incumbents in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties, many of whom were elected four years ago with a focus on criminal justice reform. The biggest beneficiary of Justice and Public Safety PAC’s cash is Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, who raised $437,775. Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano took $208,468, including a donation from the committee, while Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj, who is seeking re-election, raised $163,838, without receiving any funds from Soros.
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Democrats Lead Fundraising Efforts in the State’s Legislature
According to Virginia Public Access Project, Democratic candidates also led the state’s legislature fundraising efforts. They ended with more cash on hand than their Republican counterparts. Democrats had a cash advantage of about $2 million in the Senate and $400,000 for state House races. All the ten largest fundraisers for the legislature were Democratic candidates, partly because Democrats have more than twice as many Senate nomination contests to be settled next week than Republicans.
Democrats Seek To Unseat Seasoned Incumbents
The fundraising haul is not entirely good news for Virginia’s Democrats, as it indicates in-fighting within the party, with lucrative candidates aiming to oust seasoned incumbents. The state’s campaign finance law allows unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, and special interest groups.
With Virginia’s primary election scheduled for Tuesday, June 20, 2023, the fundraising edge by Virginia’s Democratic legislative candidates sets an interesting precedent for the coming election. The fact that they lead in fundraising efforts amplifies how much of a red-leaning state has. However, the in-fighting and bids by lucrative candidates looking to unseat seasoned incumbents could indicate uncertainty amongst the party. Nonetheless, it’s all up to voters come election day.