Democrats' Funding Edge Promises to Spice Up Fall

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 10, 2007

RICHMOND - If money really could buy an election, Virginia Democrats would be cruising toward a landslide this fall.

According to campaign finance reports, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and House and Senate Democrats are far outpacing Republicans in the hunt for campaign cash that can be used to influence the Nov. 6 election, when the seats of all 140 delegates and state senators are up for election.

Kaine is leading the way. He has raised $2.4 million since taking office in 2006, including $365,000 in the first three months of this year.

Virginia law forbids Kaine from seeking a consecutive term, so much of the money he has raised will be spent this year to help Democrats pick up the four state Senate seats and 11 House of Delegates seats needed to reclaim the majority in the General Assembly.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks money in state politics, Kaine has scored some big checks this year to help in the effort.

Sheila C. Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, donated $50,000 to Kaine's political action committee at the end of March.

Kaine also received $25,000 checks this year from:

  • Christopher D. Little, a Democratic activist from McDowell.
  • Michael D. Mills, a Charlottesville investment banker.

  • Sonjia S. Smith, a frequent contributor to Democratic causes from Charlottesville.
  • Boyd Tinsley, a violinist for the Dave Matthews Band.
  • John O. Wynne, former chief executive of Landmark Communications, which owns the Virginian-Pilot newspaper and the Weather Channel.

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