Campaign spending rose in 2011 Virginia Senate races, plunged in House contests

Spending on state Senate races increased 5 percent this year from 2009, but the cost of House races fell 40 percent — probably because of a lack of competitive elections and a downturn in the economy, according to an analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in politics.

More than $38.6 million was spent on Senate races, and $23.5 million was spent on House races, according to VPAP. (These numbers may increase slightly after candidates file their final reports in mid-January). The election produced many $1 million-plus races.

The top professions to donate money were lawyers, information technology, real estate agents, real estate developers, doctors, alcohol distributors, auto dealers and bankers.

Those that had the biggest increase in giving: coal, hospitals and labor. The biggest decline came from the information technology field, real estate agents and developers. 

There were also many donations from those involved in various single issues.

The top companies and groups that gave money should not surprise anyone who pays attention to Virginia politics: Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, Virginia Dental Association, Dominion, Middle Resolution political action committee, Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, Virginia Association of Realtors, Virginia Bankers Association, Virginia Beer Wholesalers Association, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and Virginia Wine Wholesalers Association.

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