Out of State Money, Endorsements Fuel Campaigns of Democrats Turpin and Fowler in Virginia Beach
The races in House Districts 21 (Ron Villanueva) and 85 (Rocky Holcomb) are almost certain to be the closest ones in Virginia Beach on Tuesday.
In the 21st, incumbent Ron Villanueva faces Democrat challenger Kelly Fowler. Fowler, who has no prior experience as a candidate or as an elected official, is running a fairly predictable liberal campaign. Her campaign website states that she supports an assault weapons ban, Medicaid expansion, and so on.
Fowler also boasts endorsements from actors Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers) and Jason George, both of whom appeared in videos by People for the American Way to show their support. Of course, neither of them resides in the 21st House District, or in Virginia Beach, or even in the Commonwealth, so what do they have to lose?
Meanwhile, Villanueva is endorsed by the likes of the Virginia Beach FOP, the Chesapeake FOP, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, and so on. That is to say, Ron Villanueva is endorsed by groups that are made up of people who are actually going to be in Hampton Roads after Election Day, unlike Kelly Fowler’s famous friends.
When it comes to fundraising, Fowler and her 85th District counterpart Cheryl Turpin both seem to enjoy looking beyond Virginia’s borders for donations. Indeed, 23 percent of Fowler’s funds have come from other states and another 13 percent has come from Washington, DC. What’s more, a mere $28,383 of Fowler’s $318,182 worth of in-state donations has come from Virginia Beach. Compare that to the $95,931 Fowler has received from New York. Does Mrs. Fowler seek to represent the interests of The Beach or The Big Apple?
Cheryl Turpin, in a rematch of January’s special election which she narrowly lost to incumbent Del. Rocky Holcomb, has raised over $575,000. Of that more than half a million in campaign donations, however, a paltry $8,080 has come from the city she’s running to represent in the 85th District. In fact, roughly 1/4 of her total contributions came from out of state.
Holcomb, a Captain in the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office who served in the United States Marine Corps, has taken in roughly $66,000 in Virginia Beach, and was just endorsed by the Virginian Pilot along with fellow Virginia Beach Republicans Jason Miyares and Glenn Davis.
The 21st District is always competitive, and the 85th will be one to watch with its influx of out-of-state money from liberal groups and individuals seeking to buy a seat in Richmond despite facing none of the consequences should they succeed in doing so. We will soon find out if the voters make the right call.