Terry McAuliffe banked roughly $1.1 million in less than a month after formally entering the race for Virginia governor, narrowly beating what Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) took in over a six-month period in their neck-and-neck contest.
McAuliffe, the lone Democratic candidate running for the commonwealth’s top job in 2013, officially started raising money Dec. 5. He finished December with approximately $1 million in the bank.
Cuccinelli’s, who has the Republican nomination sewn up, has been running for much longer but was not able to beat McAuliffe in the latest fundraising report. Cuccinelli had just under $1.2 million on hand as of Dec. 31. Cuccinelli has now raised a total of $2 million for the election cycle and spent $818,000
In separate statements, each campaign touted the level of “grassroots support” enjoyed by their respective candidates. McAuliffe’s camp noted he received more than 1,400 donations while Cuccinelli’s team said he surpassed 4,300 donations. Roughly 70 percent of the donations to both men were for less than $100, though the raw totals suggest Cuccinelli’s average donation was much smaller than McAuliffe’s.
Fundraising has always been seen as one of McAuliffe’s biggest strengths. As the former Democratic National Committee chairman and a close friend of former President Bill Clinton, McAuliffe has extensive contacts around the country who can help him raise cash.
McAuliffe also has considerable personal wealth, though money is no guarantee of success. He came in a distant second in the 2009 Democratic gubernatorial primary despite outraising both of his opponents, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (Bath) and Brian Moran.
Cuccinelli, meanwhile, is seeking to attract fundraising support from some of the business interests and Republican establishement donors who backed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling before he dropped out of the gubernatorial race. Bolling, who is now mulling an independent run for governor, easily outraised Cuccinelli in the first six months of 2012.