I tend to be a believer in “following the money” to understand where a politician (or anyone, really) is coming from, at least to a degree. It certainly doesn’t tell you everything, but it’s an interesting angle to look into. With that in mind, here are the top donors to the Virginia Democratic and GOP candidates for governor, LG and AG from April 1 through June 1, per VPAP.
Ralph Northam (D): Biggest contribution by far was $223,000 from his own “Stronger Together PAC.” Leading donors to that PAC include Dominion Energy ($48,456), Anthem ($45,250), car title lender “LoanMax” ($30,000), Altria ($20,000), Verizon ($20,000), McGuireWoods – aka, Virginia’s “shadow government” ($16,168), etc. Other big donors to Northam were the Baltimore Washington Construction & Public Employees ($70,000), Michael D. Bills ($50,000), Medical Facilities of America ($25,000)…
Tom Perriello (D): Big donations ($300,000 total) from George Soros; also $300,000 from Trust Asset Management Chairman Donald Sussman; $100,000 from Quantitative Investment Management CEO Jaffray Woodriff; $50,000 from Berkshire Hathaway investment manager Ted Weschler; $35,000 from Carpenters Legislative Program of Greater Pennsylvania; $10,000 from International Union of Painters and Allied Trades…
Ed Gillespie (R) : Peterson Companies (property management company) executives Milton Peterson and Jon Peterson gave $50,000 each; Emerson Electric gave $25,000; Dallas-based tax services firm Ryan, LLC – check out – gave $25,000; the one and only Koch Industries gave $10,000; Altria gave $10,000; Ken Cuccinelli’s old pal Consol Energy gave $10,000; etc. Blech.
Corey Stewart (R): Raised a pathetic amount of money, especially given that his largest donor was…himself ($90k out of $155k).
Frank Wagner (R): Raised even less than Corey Stewart, of which $10k came from Altria and $15k from Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance PAC.
Justin Fairfax (D): Strategic Resources Inc. CEO Rose McElrath-Slade gave $50k; Gary McCollum gave $10k; as did Mark A. Moore.
Susan Platt (D): $10k from Trust Asset Management Chairman Donald Sussman, also a big donor to Tom Perriello; $10k from Sheet Metal Workers’ Poltical Action League; $5k from James A. Lawrence; $2,500 from Emily’s List Federal Fund.
Gene Rossi (D): Only raised around $31k in cash contributions over $100, of which $1,000 each came from Geoffrey Malloy and Loren Hershey…
Jill Vogel (R): Half of her contributions over $100 came from William B. Holtzman ($150k), her father; $25k came from Richard Gilliam – former coal company executive and major Ken Cuccinelli donor (’nuff said); $10,000 from Altria; $10,000 from Valley Proteins President Gerald Smith, Jr.
Bryce Reeves (R): $40k from himself; $25k from GOPAC Election Fund; $25k from Silver Eagle Distributors President/CEO John Nau III; $10k from Altria…
Glenn Davis (R): Raised relatively little money, of which $5k came from Bruce Thompson; $2.5k from Paradigm; and $2.5k from Jeannemarie Davis.
Mark Herring (D): $760k came from his One Commonwealth PAC (top donors to that include Mark Herring for Attorney General, Leonard Bennett, Karen Schaufeld, Ronald Abramson, AFSCME, Facebook, McGuireWoods, Altria, Consumer Litigation Associates); $500k from DAGA (Democratic Attorneys General Association) VA 2017; $25k from the Sheet Metal Workers’ Political Action League; $25k from attorney David Boies…
John Adams (R): $10k from our pals the Koch Brothers; $10k from attorney William Burck; $10k from Terrence Bagley of McGuireWoods; $5k from the Virginia Auto Dealers Association; etc.
What does all this tell us (if anything)? On the Democratic gubernatorial side, it looks like Tom Perriello was largely boxed out of big Virginia contributions (presumably by Gov. McAuliffe et al), so he went more national, to liberal mega-billionaire George Soros first and foremost. As for Ralph Northam, I can’t say that I’m a fan of many of his donors – Dominion, Altria, Anthem, McGuireWoods, etc. – whether they’re from Virginia or not. As for the Republican gubernatorial candidates, Ed Gillespie is heavily corporate, as one would expect from “Enron Ed”; Corey Stewart was basically a complete #FAIL, as usual (I mean, the guy got fired from the friggin’ TRUMP campaign, for god’s sake!); and Frank Wagner appears to be a non-factor. On the Republican LG side, Jill Vogel is heavily financed by her own wealthy father, while Bryce Reeves is funded by himself and by right-wing donors and Glenn Davis is basically a non-factor. On the Democratic LG side, nothing in particular is really jumping out at me, to be honest. And on the AG side, John Adams has the mix of donors one would expect, pretty much, while Mark Herring draws heavily from the Democratic Attorneys General Association and organized labor.