by Brandon Jarvis

Candidates for governor are already fundraising for the 2025 cycle. Only Democrats have officially announced their candidacy, but Republicans are also working to pad the coffers ahead of a potential run.

While Democrats are fighting for some of the same donors, one Republican fundraised in multiple email blasts on the promise of helping 2023 legislative candidates only to give money to two candidates.

VPAP provided the following totals for fundraising. Unless specified otherwise, the amounts raised happened between Oct. 8 and Dec. 31.

There is a year and a half until the Democratic gubernatorial primary occurs. Still, both Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Henrico) and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney are raising money with the hopes of earning the nomination to take on the Republican candidate — whoever that may be, in 2025.

Spanberger outraised Stoney by more than three times. A large chunk of her money, nearly one-third of it, was a transfer from her congressional account. However, Stoney transferred a slightly larger share of money raised from his own account.

In total, excluding in-kind donations, Spanberger raised $3,365,950 and Stoney raised $726,439.

37% of Stoney’s cash raised for his gubernatorial campaign was transferred from his Better Way PAC. 33% of Spanberger’s cash raised for her gubernatorial campaign was transferred from her congressional account.

Spanberger’s money transferred comes from her federal account, while Stoney’s money comes from his state-level PAC focused on his potential gubernatorial run.

Spanberger’s largest donor besides herself was Reid Hoffman, who donated $250,000. He has no extensive state politics donor history other than giving $300,000 to Win Virginia in 2017.

Her second largest donor was Shannon Hunt-Scott, who donated $125,000. Hunt-Scott has given $102,000 to Democrats in the past, including $5,000 to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s PAC, Common Good.

McAuliffe is backing Stoney for the nomination. They have been close since Stoney served in his administration before being elected mayor of Richmond.

James Kevin Scott also gave Spanberger $125,000. He has no additional history on VPAP of donating to Virginia politicians at the state level.

Another notable donation to Spanberger is $50,000 from Sonjia Smith. She has been one of the largest donors to state-level Democrats in Virginia during recent years.

Stoney’s largest donors besides himself were Basim Mansour and McAuliffe, who each donated $50,000. Mansour has donated to both parties in the past, with Republicans receiving $92,000 and Democrats receiving $69,000. He gave Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC $60,000 over the last two years.

Stoney’s next largest donor was Tom McInerney, who gave him $30,000. McInerney has given nearly $640,000 to Democrats and $242,000 to Republicans, according to VPAP. He gave Spanberger’s gubernatorial campaign $10,000 as well.

In addition to both Democratic candidates, McInerney also gave $25,000 to Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, a potential Republican candidate for governor.

On the Republican side, there are no declared candidates for governor at this time.

However, Lt. Gov. Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares are both considering running to succeed Youngkin.

Sears raised $226,442 in cash to her Winsome PAC. She spent $207,045 during the same time.

Sears sent out a constant barrage of fundraising emails urging supporters to donate so that she could use it to help fund legislative candidates across the commonwealth during the November elections.

However, her report shows that her money was mostly spent on consultants and other expenses. She only donated to two legislative candidates in 2023: $5,000 to failed Senate candidate Juan Pablo Segura and $5,000 to failed Senate candidate Kevin Adams.

One email in September with an invitation to a fundraiser, Sears’ team said the money would be “spent on supporting conservative Senate candidates on the ballot in Virginia this November. The Lt. Governor wants to ensure she is presiding over a Republican Senate this January to push common-sense legislation.”

Another email sent just before election day that was signed by Sears said that if she doesn’t reach her target, she will have to “pull funding from key battleground races with less than one week left in this fight.”

Sears finished the year with $643,357 cash on hand while Republicans lost in key battleground races, giving Democrats a 21-19 majority in the chamber.

Miyares raised $540,333 to his A Safer Virginia PAC. He spent $183,155 during that same time period, but his money went to a long list of legislative candidates. He gave $63,000 in total to 31 different Republican candidates in 2023. He also gave $301,000 to Republican leadership committees.

Neither Miyares nor Sears have officially announced they are running for governor.

Sears is a popular figure, and her profile continues to grow nationally. Miyares was a delegate before becoming attorney general in 2021, and sources close to him say he is seriously considering a run for governor in 2025.

Youngkin is restricted to one consecutive term by the constitution, so he cannot run for reelection.

By vascope