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Saxman: Breaking Down the 1st Quarter Finance Reports

Later today on Virginia FREE Fridays at Noon, I will do a deeper dive on the 1st Quarter Finance Reports. Once again we thank and ask you to support VPAP [1] for their work in providing the information we now get to analyze.

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For now, let’s do a shallow dive into the reports – like WalMart kiddie pool shallow dive.

I look at four to five data sets from the campaigns.

  1. Cash On Hand (COH) Cash is King. Deal with it.
  2. # of Donors under $100. Outside public polling, this is the only objective piece of information that shows popularity of the candidate. If someone will send you money, they will vote for you. (Usually – that does NOT translate over to large donors.)
  3. Total Raised in 1st Quarter. This demonstrates acceleration and current force of the campaign. (force = mass x acceleration)
  4. Loans. This is very important data especially this year given the amounts that Pete Snyder and Glenn Youngkin have loaned to their campaigns for governor. Holy guacamole, Batman!
  5. Out of State donations as a % – I have started tracking this number as a way to see just how strong some campaigns are relative to the others. (It’s fifth on the list for a reason – it’s just a tell at this point.)

This is in order of the most competitive/interesting/consequential campaigns right now.

As a reminder, we are 22 days from the Republican statewide nomination on May 8th and 53 days out of the June 8th primaries for the Democratic candidates. When you see Cash On Hand, that does not include what comes in from April 1st to those dates. It is what was shown on hand as of the end of March and what is available to be spent.

  1. The Republican nomination for Governor. If you don’t think the GOP has a chance of winning the Executive Mansion, you’re not paying attention. If you think that two successful businessmen in Glenn Youngkin and Pete Snyder loan themselves a combined $10.7MM for – as my dad says – “Skittles and Beer” – you have lost your mind. Snyder and Youngkin are serious candidates and, to their credit, tapped into their networks raising a good deal of money outside of their own credit accounts. Snyder has a $1MM donor along with 1700 small dollar donors. Very impressive. Youngkin has more COH – around 800K more – but half the small dollar donors as Snyder. With $3.3MM COH, obviously Youngkin is in the strongest financial position; however, this is a convention and an unassembled one at that. Delegate and former Speaker Kirk Cox posted relatively strong numbers with almost 700K in the 1st Quarter (reminder – sitting legislators cannot raise money during the Regular Session) and had 1742 small dollar donors. But the amount of money he faces is daunting. The BIG surprise of this report was the strength of Sergio de la Pena’s small dollar donors. He posted 2614 donors and leads the Republican field in that category. I wouldn’t be surprised if de la Pena beats out Amanda Chase for 4th. Chase clearly is losing momentum having only raised 113k in the Q1 with less than 200k COH to finish this thing out.
  2. Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor. Clearly Delegate Sam Rasoul has the lead in fundraising COH with 952k, but here’s the thing that interests me the most about the Democratic fundraising overall – they raise so much money from out of state relative to their GOP counterparts that it clouds the crystal ball of betting. Still, Rasoul was #1 in COH and Q1 dollars. Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan had a good quarter relative to her opponents and is third in COH behind Delegate Mark Levine who loaned his campaign half a million. Sean Perryman posted the most small dollar donors of the group at 667 with Levine closely behind at 607. One would have to describe the reports of Delegates Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman as disappointing but they, too, were encumbered by the General Assembly session. Overall, Rasoul retains his #1 ranking in this race but this one is wide open and very competitive. More analysis and a LOT more popcorn later. As ABC college football announcer Keith Jackson famously said “WHOOAAA NELLIE!”
  3. Democratic nomination for Attorney General. I still have this as my Upset Alert and the reports back it up. Delegate Jay Jones, even though his name ID is low, has over $1MM COH and raised half a mil this quarter. Incumbent Mark Herring has a financial advantage at $1.4MM COH and 650k in the Q1; HOWEVER, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, who has appeared twice on the statewide ballot with Herring, (nice shiv) has endorsed Jones. Given that the Northam’s public support is considered, according to Democratic operatives, to be the biggest endorsement get of this cycle, Jones is well positioned for a strong, close finish.
  4. Republican nomination for Lt. Governor. This has been a three way race all along between Delegate Glenn Davis and former delegates Winsome Sears and Tim Hugo. Davis had the early Name ID/organizational lead but Hugo has the financial momentum right now. Sears, on the other hand, posted massive (for Republicans anyway) small dollar donors with 2961 compared to Davis’s 60. Davis also loaned his campaign money – 40K, I think. Hugo has the COH advantage with just over 100k and Sears came in second in Q1 dollars just barely behind Hugo but well ahead of Davis. Hugo and Sears seem to have the acceleration advantage right now – in a convention, however, it’s hard to tell how this all translates with Davis held back by the General Assembly session. This race is a complete toss up three weeks out.
  5. Republican nomination for Attorney General. Delegate Jason Miyares has a solid lead in this race and his force has not diminished. New entrant Jack White posted strong COH numbers but it’s still 1/3rd that of Miyares. Chuck Smith has little COH but posted over 2000 small dollar donors while Leslie Haley finished last in Q1 dollars. Had White gotten in earlier, this could have been a closer race. With Ranked Choice Voting, I just don’t see Miyares losing at this point.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print, but I have to admit waking up this morning and going over the reports made me think of Steve Martin in The Jerk when his character Navin R. Johnson opened the new phone book.


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