Candidates seeking reelection to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and other local offices have gotten off to a strong start raising campaign funds for the Nov. 3 election.
The board incumbents — all of whom are Republicans — had received more contributions than their opponents as of June 30, when the last reporting period ended. Some had gained an advantage by amassing sizable campaign funds during their years in office, according to reports made available through the Virginia Public Access Project and the Loudoun voter registration office.
In two of the most heated races, Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York and Sheriff Michael L. Chapman both held sizable fundraising advantages over their opponents.
York, a Republican who is running as an independent, took in $81,816 in cash and in-kind contributions over the 12-month period that ended June 30. This exceeded the total received by his three opponents combined: $41,049 for Republican Charles L. King, $29,628 for Democrat Phyllis Randall and $197 for independent Thomas Bellanca.
York has reported receiving contributions during each year of his current term, including $36,919 in the last six months of 2014, before his plans for this year’s election were clear.
Like York, Chapman amassed substantial campaign funding during his term as sheriff. He entered 2015 with $51,222 in his coffers, and he received $17,831 in contributions in the first six months of this year.
Democrat Brian Allman reported that as of June 30, he had self-financed his campaign for sheriff and received no outside contributions. According to his campaign finance reports, he had lent his campaign $25,450. Former sheriff Stephen O. Simpson, running as an independent, reported receiving $3,667 in campaign contributions.
In the district races for the Board of Supervisors, all Republican incumbents held fundraising advantages over their opponents. Republicans had also raised more money in two of the three districts with open seats, where the incumbents are not seeking reelection.
In the Blue Ridge District, Republican Tony Buffington Jr. has raised more than independent Richard Jimmerson by a factor of ten, $44,677 to $4,229. In the Broad Run District, Republican Ron Meyer has outpaced Democrat Al Nevarez, $62,084 to $26,908. Nevarez’s total included a $20,602 loan he made to his campaign.
In the race for supervisor from the Leesburg District, however, Leesburg Mayor Kristen C. Umstattd, a Democrat, had a fundraising advantage of $22,536 to Republican Will Estrada’s $10,722.
Republicans also hold all the constitutional offices in Loudoun, and all are seeking reelection. Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary M. Clemens reported having $61,130 in campaign funds as of June 30, compared with $1,281 for Democratic challenger Eileen Tagg-Murdock.
Treasurer H. Roger Zurn Jr. and Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman had slightly more cash on hand than their respective opponents, Evan Macbeth and Robert J. Ohneiser. Commissioner of the Revenue Robert S. Wertz Jr. is unopposed in his bid for reelection.
Campaign funds help candidates boost their name recognition through mailers, yard signs and other means, said Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science and international affairs at the University of Mary Washington.
“In politics, people will pretty consistently vote for the name they know over the name they don’t,” Farnsworth said.
Name recognition is particularly important “in a place like Loudoun, where a lot of people may not have a long history with the politics of the county,” Farnsworth said. “A lot of politicians, even incumbent officeholders, have to reintroduce themselves.”
Barnes is a freelance writer.