|Delegate Bob Thomas was among the Republican members in the General Assembly to vote for Medicaid expansion in 2018 –– and he’s attracted a primary challenger because of it. Former Stafford County Supervisor Paul Milde announced his run for the Republican nomination in HD-28 against Thomas nearly one year ago.
Since then, the two have spent more on Facebook advertising than any other individual Republican campaign in Virginia. They’ve been spending since May, but the Facebook ad archive will only allow us to see week-by-week breakdowns since October.
The two campaigns have mirrored each other in messaging and their ads seem…eerily similar.
Thomas’s district is a toss-up too. He was first elected to the General Assembly by a margin of only 82 votes in 2017, and Senator Tim Kaine won 54.9% of the vote there in 2018. His former opponent Josh Cole is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Cole has only invested $180 in Facebook advertising so far, but, since he doesn’t have primary opponent, he’s been able to dedicate each one of his ads to fundraising for the general election.
According to the last filing on Dec. 31, 2018, Thomas has $26,787 on hand compared to Milde’s $12,900. Regardless of who wins the primary, their war chests already look significantly drained compared to the other House incumbents in competitive districts. On the other hand, Cole only had $10,091 cash on hand as of December, but he’s been fundraising more aggressively now that the midterms are over –– we counted four fundraising events on his Facebook page since January.