Pro-Cuccinelli PAC gets $500,000 donation from New York hedge fund executive

A New York hedge fund titan has kicked in $500,000 to boost the campaign of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II against businessman Terry McAuliffe, the latest sign that the Virginia governor’s race will be a magnet for outside cash.

Robert L. Mercer, the co-chief executive of the East Setauket, N.Y-based hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, gave a half-million dollars last week to Virginia Principles Fund, a newly-formed political action committee. The PAC, based in Chesapeake, has reported no other donors so far.

A message left at the PAC’s contact number had not been returned as of this posting. A spokesman for Mercer declined to comment on the donation. The Virginia Public Access Project, which first noted Mercer’s contribution, reports that “[o]fficials with the PAC told VPAP that its sole purpose is to elect Cuccinelli.”

Mercer has given generously to a wide variety of Republican causes and was one of the biggest GOP donors of the 2012 cycle, giving at least $5.4 million to outside groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mercer’s activities included funding negative ads against Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) via Concerned Taxpayers for America, a super PAC.

McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, has consistently outraised Cuccinelli, so money from outside groups could help even the financial balance of power in the contest.

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