Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described fundraising by Republican candidates for lieutenant governor. Jill Vogel outraised Bryce Reeves by more than $400,000 in 2016, not $200,000.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has amassed the largest campaign war chest of gubernatorial candidates heading into the 2017 election year, while Ed Gillespie continues to lead the Republican field in fundraising.
Northam reported nearly $2.5 million in his campaign accounts at the end of 2016 after raising more than $1.6 million in the second half of the year, according to disclosure forms filed Tuesday. His fundraising from July through December was on par with that of Gillespie, who took in $1.5 million and started 2017 with nearly $2 million cash on hand.
Northam, who has been endorsed by fellow statewide elected officials and nearly every Democrat in the congressional delegation, was uncontested in the primary race until Tom Perriello, a former U.S. House member, announced his candidacy early this month. Perriello does not need to disclose campaign fundraising until April.
The newly released filings include donations and expenses from July 1 to Dec 31.
Gillespie has more money in his campaign account than his three primary challengers combined. The former head of the Republican National Committee, who nearly toppled U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D) in 2014, made an early show of financial strength this week, jetting across Virginia to kick off a five-day campaign tour.
Frank Wagner, a state senator from Virginia Beach, and Corey A. Stewart, the Republican chair of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, each reported about $400,000 on hand, much of which came from prior campaigns for local office.
Stewart, one of the first Republican officials in Virginia to actively support President-elect Donald Trump, is hoping to tap the same energy that propelled Trump to victory by attacking Gillespie for his prolific fundraising.
Some of Gillespie’s top donations include $100,000 from Dwight Schar, founder of home builder NVR, and $100,000 from members of the DeVos family, including the husband of Betsy DeVos. Betsy DeVos is Trump’s pick for education secretary.
Denver Riggleman, a craft distillery owner who entered the Republican field in late December, reported having about $27,000 on hand for his underdog bid.
The Republican Governors Association this month gave $5 million to a political action committee controlled by the association and dedicated to the Virginia governor’s race. The allocation — the largest in Virginia history — illustrates the GOP’s focus on the contest to succeed outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who is term-limited. The only other 2017 governor’s race is in New Jersey.
Here’s a roundup of campaign filings in other Virginia races:
●In the increasingly ugly GOP primary for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (Fauquier) has a slight edge over state Sen. Bryce Reeves (Spotsylvania). Vogel had $586,000 at the start of 2017, compared to Reeves’s $529,000, and she outraised Reeves by more than $400,000 in 2016. Del. Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) lags behind them, with less than $40,000 in his accounts.
●In the Democratic contest for lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax led fellow former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi with $190,000 cash on hand, compared with Rossi’s $61,000. Susan Platt, a former aide to Vice President Biden, entered the race in January.
●Attorney General Mark Herring (D), facing no Democratic competition in his bid for reelection, started the year with more than $1 million available for his bid for a second term. Republican John Adams, a former federal prosecutor, had $277,000, while Virginia Beach lawyer Chuck Smith reported just $3,000. Del. Rob B. Bell (R-Albemarle) has dropped out of the race.