Examining Fundraising Numbers for Virginia's Republican Senate Hopefuls

Jun 6, 2018

From left to right: E.W. Jackson, Nick Freitas and Corey Stewart at a recent debate.
Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

Republicans are about to select their candidate to take on incumbent Senator Tim Kaine. Whichever candidate emerges as the winner next week will face a huge financial challenge.

Campaign finance records show Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart has raised about a quarter of a million dollars in his campaign to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. That’s almost as much money as his two competitors in the race combined.

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says that’s because Stewart has essentially been running a sort of continuous campaign since he narrowly lost the Republican primary for governor last year.

“E.W. Jackson, I don’t think, started the race with anything that even remotely resembled any kind of momentum or energy. And then Nick Freitas came into the race really late, almost as an alternative to Corey Stewart.”

Senator Kaine has no opposition in the primary, and he’s already raised more than a million dollars.

Geoff Skelley at the University of Virginia Center for Politics says it’s noteworthy that none of the Republicans in the race have posted fundraising numbers anywhere close to that.

“The eventual winner of the Republican nomination is probably not going to be a major threat to Tim Kaine in the general election, and we rate the Virginia race as safe Democratic currently in part because of that.”

Skelley says the race has not attracted much statewide polling data, so it’s difficult to predict which Republican might be in the lead heading into the primary next week — other than looking at their fundraising numbers.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.