by Brandon Jarvis

The gubernatorial campaign for Jennifer Carroll Foy announced on Tuesday that she raised $1.8 million between January and March of 2021 — leaving her with $2.3 million cash on hand. 

Carroll Foy is still facing an uphill battle for the Democratic nomination going up against former Governor Terry McAuliffe, state Senator Jennifer McClellan, Delegate Lee Carter and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

McAuliffe announced an enormous fundraising haul at the end of 2020, raising more than $6 million prior to the Dec. 31 deadline. Additionally, McAuliffe showed a strong lead in the only public polls with Carroll Foy and McClellan in a statistical tie for second. Fairfax and Carter were not far behind them. 

Carroll Foy is a former state delegate that was first elected in 2017 to represent part of Prince William County. She was part of the blue wave that helped 14 other Democrats flip Republican-held districts in the House of Delegates. That wave continued to crash into 2019 and gave the Democrats control of both chambers in the General Assembly.

Then, in a historic year for Virginia, even prior to COVID-19, Democrats passed hundreds of pieces of legislation aimed at gun control, criminal justice reform, COVID-19 relief, and other progressive promises. Democrats have mostly delivered on their campaign promises to their base, legislatively, in the last two years.

Now Carroll Foy wants more. 

Virginia state legislators are not allowed to fundraise during the General Assembly session in which takes place in January and February during election years. This block puts a strain on the statewide candidates that are also legislators. 

So Carroll Foy resigned her seat in the House of Delegates at the end of 2020 so that she could focus full time on fundraising and campaigning for governor. Resigning from her seat removed that fundraising block that was in place in January and February — in turn allowing her to continue to raise the funds necessary to try and compete with McAuliffe. 

“Let’s be honest,” her campaign said in a statement at the time. “The way our political system is set up enables people like Terry McAullife – rich political insiders with strong ties to the special interests – to run for higher office. Jennifer didn’t choose fancy, high paying jobs that raked in millions to pad her own pockets. She chose to fight for working people as a public defender, magistrate judge and a foster mom.”

$1.8 million in the first quarter for Carroll Foy is a lot of money for a gubernatorial candidate in the first quarter of the year. At least $500,000 of that comes from Michael Bills, a billionaire hedge fund manager that has spent millions of dollars to gain access and influence within Virginia politics. The PAC that he funds, Clean Virginia, announced their endorsement of Carroll Foy Monday in Virginia Mercury and stated that they gave her an additional $500K on top of the $100K they had already donated to the campaign.

“Her sweeping anti-corruption and climate plans and track record — including never taking a dime from Dominion Energy — align with Clean Virginia’s goals and mission,” Clean Virginia’s executive director Brennan Gilmore said to Virginia Mercury. “We believe she is the best candidate in this critical race to determine the Commonwealth’s future and are ready to fight hard for her to be our next governor.”

Carroll Foy is the only Democratic candidate so far to release fundraising totals for the first quarter of this year. The reports are due by April 15 and the nominee will be chosen in a primary election on June 8.


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