In his mission to become Virginia’s Governor for a second time, Terry McAuliffe announced on Monday that he raised $6.1 million in 2020. $4.5 million of that came in during the most recent reporting period, which includes 1,000+ donations in the first 24-hours after announcing his candidacy in December, according to his campaign.
The former Governor ended the year with $5.5 million cash on hand coming from over 9,000 donors. The campaign stated in their announcement that he received donations from all of Virginia’s 133 cities and counties and that 90% of the donations were less than $100.
McAuliffe is the first Virginia gubernatorial candidate to announce fundraising numbers after the period ended at midnight on New Years Day. The deadline for all candidates to report their numbers is January 15.
While he did not officially enter the race until early-December, McAuliffe is expected to be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. The reasons for this include his widely-known ability to fundraise, name recognition after already winning statewide in 2013, and the number of candidates facing him in the primary dividing the vote against him.
McAuliffe is in a field of Democratic candidates that includes State Senator Jennifer McClellan from Richmond, Former Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy from Prince William County, Delegate Lee Carter from Manassas, and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.
“Ultimately running for Governor is an immense task in Virginia,” said Dr. Stephen Farnsworth, Professor and Director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington. “In the House of Delegates, you might be well known to 1/100th of the Commonwealth’s electorate.”
McClellan, Carter, and Fairfax’s days will soon be packed full of legislative work as the General Assembly convenes on January 13 limiting their ability to fundraise and campaign for at least 30 days. Carroll Foy took a proactive step in December and resigned her seat in the House of Delegates to focus solely on the campaign, providing just enough time for a special election in her district to take place before the legislative session begins.
“There is a huge ramping up that is required for any candidate,” said Dr. Farnsworth. “It seems to me that Delegate Carroll Foy did what needs to be done to maximize her chances in the primary.”
A recent internal poll that was released from the McClellan campaign shows McAuliffe with a large lead over the rest of the field, providing quantitative evidence that he is the frontrunner.
“The reality is that these candidates are facing an uphill struggle,” said Dr. Farnsworth.
The Democratic primary is scheduled to take place on June 8th.
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