Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney has raised $2.7 million in Virginia so far in donations of at least $200—more than any other candidate.
President Obama came closest, raising $2.2 million, according to federal election data and the Virginia Public Access Project. The close totals foreshadow an intensive season of fundraising and spending ahead of the November election.
Four years ago, Mr. Obama won Virginia in part by outspending John McCain, especially in the Northern Virginia media market. Political scientist Bob Hollsworth says it will be critical for Romney to raise enough money to stay competitive in Virginia. Outside spending will also play a big roll in wooing voters this November.
“So my sense is that the Romney campaign will not only raise a significant amount for the candidate personally, but that the super PACs that are not officially affiliated with the campaign are going to raise a ton of money. At the end of the day my sense is that a good portion of those dollars are going to be spent in Virginia as well. Virginia is going to be one of the five, six, or seven battleground states in this campaign. And for financial expenditures, we’ll be pretty close to what you might consider political ground zero,” said Holsworth.
Presidential campaign spending will also affect Virginia’s competitive U.S. Senate race. Hollsworth says heavy spending by Romney would help out the Republican primary-winner who faces Democrat Tim Kaine.
-by Amanda Iacone