Youngkin, a former Carlyle Group executive who secured the GOP nomination in a May 8 convention, raised $8.3 million between April and May — $6.5 million of that in a loan from himself, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, which posted the latest fundraising reports Wednesday. (VPAP does not count funds transferred between multiple committees for a single candidate, to avoid counting some donations twice.)
The former private equity chief and political newcomer, whose net worth is estimated to exceed $300 million, separately lent his campaign $5.5 million earlier this year. His campaign headed into June with $4.4 million on hand.
That was enough to edge out McAuliffe, one of five Democrats seeking his party’s gubernatorial nomination in Tuesday’s primary.
A record-smashing national Democratic fundraiser before he served as governor from 2014 to 2018, McAuliffe has raised nearly $15 million overall, $2.9 million of that over the past two months. Although also wealthy, McAuliffe has not personally given or lent money to his campaign, which had $3.3 million in the bank.
The other Democrats competing in the statewide primary are Del. Lee J. Carter (Manassas), Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, former delegate Jennifer D. Carroll Foy and state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan (Richmond). All are seeking to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam (D), whom the state constitution bars from serving back-to-back terms.
Virginia is one of two states that picks its governor the year after a presidential race, along with New Jersey — although California could be in the mix this year given the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).
As a longtime swing state, Virginia’s results are typically seen as an early referendum on the president and a bellwether for the midterm elections that follow a year later. For that reason, the governor’s race typically draws tremendous national attention — and money.
Youngkin’s nomination is expected to intensify fundraising on both sides, and not just because of his enormous personal wealth and a willingness to self-fund. Some national Republican donors have said they would have sat out the race if one of the more stylistically Trumpian candidates had won the nomination.
Youngkin courted the Trump voters he needed to secure the nod, in part by refusing until after the convention to say if he believed President Biden had been legitimately elected and by playing up a plan to ensure “election integrity” in a state former president Donald Trump lost by 10 points.
Youngkin has played up some kitchen-table issues since then, reminiscent of the “Bob’s for Jobs” approach that former governor Robert F. McDonnell successfully rode to the Executive Mansion in 2009 — the last time Virginia Republicans won statewide. But Youngkin also has waded into culture wars, decrying “cancel culture” and championing the cause of a Loudoun County teacher recently placed on paid leave for refusing to address transgender students by their chosen names and pronouns.
“The reality is that both candidates will be very well-funded because, for good or for ill, Virginia is seen as a leading political indicator for the midterm elections and both parties want bragging rights,” University of Mary Washington political scientist Stephen Farnsworth said.
Big money will be especially key for Republicans, who saw their losses mount as Trump drove off suburban moderates, Farnsworth said.
“No doubt about it, Youngkin will need a decent amount of money because he has two tasks to do: He has to introduce himself and he has to try to rebrand the Republican Party in a way that’s more appealing to a Virginia electorate that is less Republican than it used to be,” he said.
After McAuliffe, Carroll Foy led the Democrats in fundraising. She collected a total of $4.8 million, about $1 million of that over the past two months. She had about $282,000 on hand heading into June.
McClellan kept pace with Carroll Foy over the past two months, raising slightly more than $1 million. Overall, she had raised $2.9 million. She had about $60,000 in cash.
Fairfax was far behind every other contender, raising just over $4,000 in April and May — less than third-party candidate Princess Blanding took in over that period. Fairfax, who has raised about $331,000 so far, had about $12,000 on hand, plus $8,000 in his lieutenant governor’s campaign account.
Blanding launched her independent bid after her brother Marcus-David Peters was killed by Richmond police while experiencing a mental health crisis in 2018. She raised just over $19,000, $5,000 of that over the past two months. She had about $13,000 on hand.
In the race for lieutenant governor, Republican nominee Winsome E. Sears raised $518,000 overall, $327,000 of that in the past two months. A former delegate from Norfolk who now lives in Winchester, Sears had about $133,000 on hand.
Among the Democrats running for the position, Del. Sam Rasoul (Roanoke) raised about $1.9 million overall, $547,000 of that in April and May. He had about $146,000 on hand between his two campaign accounts, one for delegate and the other for the lieutenant governor’s race.
Del. Mark H. Levine (D-Alexandria) outraised Rasoul over the past two months, collecting about $664,000. He raised $1.4 million overall and had about $57,000 on hand between his two accounts.
Del. Hala S. Ayala (Prince William) has raised just over $1 million overall, $478,000 of that in April and May. She had about $79,000 on hand between her two accounts. Ayala’s contributions included $100,000 from the politically powerful Dominion Energy political action committee, which drew some criticism from other Democrats. The Clean Virginia environmental group, founded by Charlottesville hedge fund manager Michael Bills, noted that Ayala had promised to refrain from accepting Dominion money in a recent questionnaire. The group planned to attack her in a digital ad buy in the final days before the primary.
In a statement, Ayala’s campaign said she will not be influenced by Dominion if elected.
“Virginia voters need to know that I will always fight for Virginian families,” the statement read.
Norfolk City Council member Andria P. McClellan, no relation to the gubernatorial candidate, has raised $923,000, $250,000 of that over the past two months. She had about $39,000 on hand.
Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman raised $410,000 overall, with just under $100,000 in April and May. He had about $60,000 on hand.
Arlington County businessman Xavier Warren raised a total of $281,000, $122,000 of that in the most recent fundraising period. He had $26,000 on hand.
In the race for attorney general, Republican nominee Del. Jason Miyares (Virginia Beach) had raised $692,000 overall, $213,000 of that in April and May. He had $282,000 on hand.
Incumbent Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D), who is seeking a third four-year term, had raised more than $2.8 million overall, $1.3 million of that in April and May. He had $270,000 on hand.
Herring faces a primary challenge Tuesday from Del. Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones (D-Norfolk). Jones has raised $1.9 million overall, $715,000 of that over the past two months. He had $225,000 on hand.
Antonio Olivo contributed to this report.