Q2 Fundraising Reports Round-Up

By mid-Spring of any election cycle, national pundits and organizations will categorize races as “competitive” or “non-competitive,” putting an unforgiving spotlight on the former and pushing interest away from the latter. In lieu of solid polling data, fundraising reports are one of the few tangible metrics election observers have to go on.

With that in mind, here is a round-up of the open seats and most competitive races in Virginia. All numbers reflect the full quarter (4/1/18 – 6/30/18), except Tim Kaine’s report; for most instances, this meant combining pre-primary and post-primary reports. Full reports are available at the Federal Election Commission data site.

United States Senate

Corey Stewart:

$477K raised Q2
$1.08M raised cycle-to-date
$76K cash on hand (after debt)

Tim Kaine:
(4/1 – 5/23 only)

$838K raised Q2
$11.2M raised cycle-to-date
$1.1M cash on hand

Tim Kaine’s last five weeks of reporting aren’t available, but it hardly matters. Kaine, as you would except of a former VP candidate, is raising over a million a quarter to his own campaign committee, and this doesn’t include joint fundraising committees in his name, like the Kaine Victory Fund, which raised another $1.3M this quarter. As of mid-May, Kaine’s own committee had over a million cash on hand, and has raised over $11M since the beginning of the cycle. All of this suggests Tim Kaine is looking past 2018 and is at least considering a run for President in 2020.

Corey Stewart, meanwhile, raised a respectable almost half-million in Q2, but the competitive primary from which he emerged required most of his resources. After debts, Stewart has less than $100K cash on hand. He’s raised over a million for the cycle so far, so this history suggests Stewart will be able to get the resources he needs to run a statewide race.

VA-01

Rob Wittman:

$255K raised Q2
$1.125M raised cycle-to-date
$1.078M cash on hand

Vangie Williams:

$58K raised Q2
$94K raised cycle-to-date
$26K cash on hand (after debt)

Rob Wittman is sitting on over a million, and is raising good money for his re-election. It is encouraging that he’s taking the race seriously; while few have this race on the radar, some national pundits have suggested a blue tsunami would put races like this at risk for Republicans.

Even if that were the case, Vangie Williams is not raising money at the clip necessary to be the type of candidate who takes advantage of such an opportunity. With less than $100K raised for the entire cycle and only a quarter of that remaining on hand, Williams has a long road ahead of her to be able to afford campaign basics in a sprawling district that includes parts of Hampton Roads, Richmond metro area, and Northern Virginia.

VA-02

Scott Taylor:

$601K raised Q2
$2.584M raised cycle-to-date
$1.007M cash on hand

Elaine Luria:

$633K raised Q2
$1.007M raised cycle-to-date
$814K cash on hand (after debt)

Like Wittman, Scott Taylor is also sitting on over a million. After a resounding victory for re-nomination, Taylor is raising money at an impressive clip and has over $2.5M in this cycle so far. He’ll have to keep that up, however, because Elaine Luria is benefiting from this district’s reputation as a swing district and Taylor’s status as a freshman incumbent. Luria actually outraised Taylor this quarter, and though she’s far behind in cycle-to-date numbers, her cash on hand is only a few hundred thousand less than the incumbent’s. As a result, there’s no clear money advantage for Taylor here evidenced by the Q2 reports (though, as always, Q3 will be more telling).

One of the possible advantages for Taylor is a simple matter of numbers: Democrats need around 25 seats to flip the House, and are looking to invest heavily in around 50 seats to make that happen. VA-02 isn’t one of the 50-most competitive districts right now, and Luria might not get the same level of support from national Democrats, whereas protecting incumbents like Taylor will be a priority for the NRCC.

VA-05

Denver Riggleman:
(from 6/8/18 – 6/30/18)

$217K raised Q2
$217K raised cycle-to-date
$207K cash on hand

Leslie Cockburn:

$581K raised Q2
$1.284M raised cycle-to-date
$483K cash on hand (after debt)

Scott Garrett’s late decision to not seek re-election would’ve put any nominee behind the eight ball. Riggleman didn’t file his statement of organization until June 8th, giving him only 3 weeks to raise funds. He made the most of them, bringing in over $200K and barely spending any of it.

However, it doesn’t help that the Democrat nominee, Leslie Cockburn, has proven to be a prodigious fundraiser so far, bringing in over $1.2M this cycle. The good news is her high burn rate puts Riggleman at just a few hundred thousand behind her in cash on hand. If Riggleman can keep the fundraising pace up, he’ll be well-suited to cut into or even flip her financial advantage.

VA-06

Ben Cline:

$173K raised Q2
$393K raised cycle-to-date
$27K cash on hand

Jennifer Lewis:

$53K raised Q2
$53K raised cycle-to-date
$34K cash on hand (after debt)

Like Riggleman, Ben Cline is a first-time federal candidate and the nominee in what is widely considered to be a safe Republican district. As such, his fundraising is solid, with around $400K raised for the cycle so far. The high burn rate is troubling, however, and he’s left with only $27K in the bank. That’s actually less than his unheralded challenger, who has $34K (even after considering debts). Normally trailing an opponent in cash-on-hand is a troubling sign for a candidate, but Lewis has only raised $50K for the cycle so far, and given Cline is likely to end up in Washington, I’d expect his fundraising to pick up between now and November (and beyond).

It’s worth noting that one of the commonly recited advantages for having a convention rather than a primary is that it requires less funds and therefore leaves candidates better off for the general election. Cline’s cash-on-hand after winning the nomination at a highly-contested convention severely undercuts that argument.

VA-07

Dave Brat:

$445K raised Q2
$1.274M raised cycle-to-date
$917K cash on hand

Abigail Spanberger:

$624K raised Q2
$1.346M raised cycle-to-date
$465K cash on hand (after debt)

One of the open secrets in Virginia politics is that even after ousting Minority Leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 primary, Dave Brat has never been a consistent fundraiser. The numbers posted here are roughly in-line with Rob Wittman; that is to say, what you would hope from an incumbent in a safe GOP district. The problem is that the 7th District isn’t a safe GOP district. Most pundits put this race as a toss-up in November; one analysis considers it one of the most likely districts to flip.

Fundraising has never been a big deal considering Brat’s past opponents. But it leaves the door open in a potential wave year for a candidate like Spanberger, who has not only outraised Dave Brat this quarter, but has outraised the incumbent Congressman for the entire cycle to date. While Brat carried over a cash-on-hand advantage that’s roughly double hers at present, the competitiveness of this district will mean that money will flow in on both sides. Advantage: neither. And an incumbent who doesn’t have a financial advantage should always be nervous.

VA-10

Barbara Comstock:

$898K raised Q2
$3.535M raised cycle-to-date
$1.717M cash on hand

Jennifer Wexton:

$917K raised Q2
$1.842M raised cycle-to-date
$720K cash on hand (after debt)

The 10th is one of the marquee house races in the nation, let alone Virginia, and the numbers here show it. Both candidates raised near a million this quarter alone (and both outraised Tim Kaine). The challenger, Wexton, has raised more this cycle than some U.S. Senate candidates in the country, and Comstock has doubled that. Comstock is sitting on a warchest of $1.7M, and that right now is her biggest advantage, as it puts her a million ahead of the challenger. I would expect the Q3 numbers to blow these numbers out of the water.