The biggest spender of the four primary candidates in the off-year Virgina governor race is gone, but that doesn’t mean the money’s going to dry up. Creigh Deeds won a three-way battle for the Democratic nomination, and will face Republican Robert McDonnell in November. Deeds trailed rivals Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran for much of the race, but won by a very comfortable margin.
McAuliffe was the money man – a former chair of the DNC and a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton with prodigious fundraising chops, he spent early and often in the primary, hoping to make up for his lack of roots in Virginia. Moran came out attacking. Eventually, McAuliffe was seen as an outsider and Moran as negative, leaving a clear path for Deeds.
McDonnell did not face significant opposition, but found himself also under attack, as the national Democratic governors association spent money during the campaign to make sure all the negative advertising was not directed exclusively at Democrats.
Statewide campaigns in Virginia aren’t cheap. In particular, candidates wishing to reach residents of increasingly critical Northern Virginia have to buy in expensiveWashington DC. Other markets run the gamut in size, starting with Norfolk-Newport News and working down to Richmond, Roanoke-Lynchburg, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.
RBR/TVBR observation: Although the absence of McAuliffe in the stretch run may result in total spending that will come in at a lower figure than it might have, this race is still likely to attract cash. It’s an off year and there isn’t much competition with the cash of political junkies with itchy trigger fingers on their wallets.
And it’s already started –the Washington Post says Democrats have already committed $3M to attack McDonnell. And election day is still four and a half months away. Stay tuned.