Del. Wren Williams, R-Patrick County, and Del. Marie March, R-Floyd County.

For a full list of candidates running in primaries in Southwest and Southside, see our election guide.

The Blue Ridge Cage Match between two Republican delegates who have previously faced off in court and now face off in a primary isn’t much of a match when it comes to fundraising.

Del. Wren Williams, R-Patrick County, is outraising Del. Marie March, R-Floyd County, at a rate of 6.5 to 1. 

Meanwhile, the Democratic primary between state Sen. Creigh Deeds and Del. Sally Hudson, both of Charlottesville, has become one of the most expensive in the state.

However, the candidate who has raised the most money in the state is former Del. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, who is trying to unseat state Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond. She’s raised $814,612. For context, that’s nearly 17 times more than the best-funded candidate in the three-way Democratic primary in the Roanoke Valley to succeed John Edwards.

Those are the takeaways from the latest round of campaign finance reports that came out this week, which cover April, May and the first eight days of June. As always, we’re indebted to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks money in Virginia politics, for getting all these figures online in a comprehensible way. You can search VPAP’s database for far more data than I can relate here today. 

Before I continue, I should also point out the usual caveats when discussing money in politics: In my experience, the role of money is often overrated. Money is important, to be sure, but it’s not the only thing that’s important. I’ve seen many a well-funded candidate lose. The key thing is for a candidate to have enough money to get their message out, so please don’t look at these figures and assume that the best-funded candidate is always going to win. Money does help shape the playing field, though. With those warnings given, let’s proceed — with emphasis on the races in Southwest and Southside, and some mention of a few key races elsewhere in the state.

House District 47. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
House District 47. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

House District 47: Williams crushes March in fundraising

When it became clear that these two delegates had been drawn into the same district, we all assumed it would be a close race. Maybe voters will make it that way, but it hasn’t been based on fundraising.

For the period, Williams raised $185,871 to March’s $28,641. Perhaps more importantly at this point is the cash on hand. Williams still had $22,682 in the bank, March just $3,543. 

For context, only one other sitting delegate has less cash in hand: Del. Candi King, D-Prince William County, and she’s unopposed. 

March has less cash in hand than Jody Pyles, the Republican challenger to Del. Jason Ballard, R-Giles County, who polled just 10.3% of the vote in a recent mass meeting. Pyles’ report showed him with $4,524. 

She has less money than Jasmine Lipscomb, a Democrat from Danville who hasn’t even been formally nominated for a House seat yet. 

This is curious indeed. 

March’s biggest contributor during the period is herself: Of the $28,641 March raised, more than half — $15,333 — came from herself. In and of itself, that’s not unusual. There are other candidates who donate large amounts to their own campaigns if they can. What’s telling, though, is how little she raised from other sources. By contrast, $5,761 of the $185,871 that Williams raised during this fundraising period came from himself. Williams has had sizeable donations from other Republican legislators: $12,500 from the campaign of House Speaker Todd Gilbert, $10,000 from the campaign of House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore, $7,500 from the campaign of House Appropriations Chairman Barry Knight and smaller amounts from other officeholders. It seems pretty clear who other Republican legislators would like to see win this race.

Senate District 11. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
Senate District 11. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

Senate District 11: Hudson outraises Deeds but Deeds has more cash on hand

This contest is what in olden times we’d have called a barnburner, except there probably aren’t many barns in Charlottesville. This is a classic showdown between a younger, more liberal challenger and a veteran legislator who, if returned, would be no less than the second most senior senator — and could be the most senior, if Louise Lucas of Portsmouth loses her primary.

For the period, Hudson outraised Deeds $599,152 to $516,322, although at the reporting deadline he had more cash on hand: $211,452 for him, $15,111 for her.

Hudson’s biggest donor for the period was the 314 Action Group, a Washington-based political action committee whose goal is to elect more (Democratic) scientists to office. Hudson is an economist. Fun fact: The Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle famously called economics “the dismal science.” Dismal or otherwise, the 314 Action Group contributed $187,792 to Hudson during the period. Another fun fact: The 314 is a reference to the mathematical constant pi, which starts out 3.14 and goes on forever.

Another $106,640 came from Sylvia Sonjia Smith, a well-known Charlottesville donor to liberal causes.

Deeds’ biggest donation was $45,000 from the campaign of state Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax County, who would like to be the next Senate Democratic leader.

I wrote earlier this week about how the electoral weight of this district will be in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, with about half the early votes so far from the House district that Hudson is leaving to run for the state Senate. It’s safe to say this is a closely contested nomination. VPAP calculates that Hudson is the fourth best funded Senate candidate, Deeds the sixth best funded. There are other districts where more money has been raised, but that’s because one candidate has dominated the fundraising. Here, it’s much closer. We’ll see if the votes match.

The 17th state Senate District. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
The 17th state Senate District. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

Senate District 17: Sadler outraises Brewer

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has backed Del. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk, as she seeks to move to the state Senate, but she’s getting outraised by former NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler of Emporia.

The fundraising gap isn’t that large: He’s raised $294,161 to her $221,190. However, he has a lot more cash on hand as the campaign heads into a metaphorical Turn 3. Sadler’s got $180,077, Brewer has $81,151.

Sadler’s biggest donation is a company his family owns, Slip-In Food Mart, which has given $150,000. He personally donated another $50,000. Brewer’s biggest donors are $20,000 from the Virginia Hospital Shared Services Corp. and $20,000 from the Dominion Energy PAC. (Disclosure: Dominion is one of our donors, but donors have no say in news decisions; see our policy. You can be a donor, too, and also have no say.)

Senate District 4. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
Senate District 4. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

Senate District 4: White-Boyd outraises Priddy and Price

Three candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed John Edwards of Roanoke, and the right to run against state Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County. Two of those three Democrats are members of the Roanoke City Council: Trish White-Boyd and Luke Priddy, the latter of whom has been Edwards’ chief of staff and has his endorsement.

So far, White-Boyd is the most prolific fundraiser: She’s brought in $48,302 compared to $14,258 for Priddy and $1,282 for DeAnthony “DA” Pierce. 

She also has the most cash on hand: $15,933 for White-Boyd, $1,427 for Priddy and $623 for Pierce.

Priddy doesn’t just have Edwards’ endorsement; Edwards is also Priddy’s biggest donor, with $5,000 from Edwards’ campaign committee. White-Boyd’s biggest donation is $8,000 from Emily Kate Copenhaver, in the form of an in-kind contribution.

Whoever wins this primary will have a formidable challenge ahead: Not only does the redrawn district tilt Republican, but Suetterlein begins the fall campaign with $332,964 cash on hand.

The 41st District covers most of Montgomery County (but not Christiansburg), western Roanoke County, and the Bent Mountain area. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

House District 41: Franklin has more than twice as much as Obenshain

Speaking of general elections, let’s take a peek at this district, perhaps the only truly competitive House district west of Richmond this fall. The nominating contests here are done, so this is our first look at the general election. Democrat Lily Franklin is proving to be a strong fundraiser. She raised twice as much during the period as Republican Chris Obenshain, who at the time was in a contest for the Republican nomination. She now has $53,394 cash on hand, while Obenshain reported $25,730.

Her top donor for the period was $15,400 from Aspen Land Development of Blacksburg; his was $5,000 from the campaign of House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore.

House District 39. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
House District 39. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

House District 39: Davis tops Jefferson in fundraising but nearly even in cash on hand

This has been a relatively quiet Republican contest from a statewide perspective, although Franklin County and part of Roanoke County are blooming with campaign signs for the two candidates.

For the period, Will Davis outraised Ron Jefferson by a considerable amount: $49,567 to $18,684. As the campaign nears the end, though, the two candidates have nearly equal amounts of cash on hand for the final push. Davis has $8,457, Jefferson has $6,186.

Davis’ biggest donor has been his Rocky Mount law firm, at $11,470. Jefferson’s biggest donation is $5,000 from Donna Robertson.

House District 50. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.
House District 50. Courtesy of Virginia Supreme Court.

House District 50: Marsden was nearly even with Wright when he dropped out

This remains a curiosity: Last week, Farmville attorney John Marsden withdrew from his challenge to Del. Tommy Wright, R-Lunenburg County, issuing a statement saying that “I cannot in good conscience serve alongside certain individuals who have recently secured the Republican nomination for Delegate in their respective districts.”

The campaign reports show that Marsden had $51,160 cash on hand, not that far behind Wright at $54,855. He seemed to have the means to wage a strong campaign in a district where 54% of the voters are new to Wright. Curious indeed.

Now let’s take a look at some of the races elsewhere in the state:

Senate District 13: Democrats have lined up behind Aird in a bid to oust Morrissey from this Richmond-Petersburg district. She’s raised more than any other candidate in the state: $814,612 to his $97,595. In fact, she has more cash in hand than he’s raised altogether during the whole period. Aird has $100,821 left to Morrissey’s $7,473. She’s since widened that gap. By law, candidates must quickly report donations of $1,000 or more after the filing deadline; that’s done so that voters are aware of any last-minute big infusion of cash. On Tuesday, Aird reported donations totalling $49,200.

Senate District 18: State Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, has a big money advantage over state Sen. Lionel Spruill, D-Chesapeake, as they head into the final days. Their overall fundraising has been virtually even but Spruill has already spent his while Lucas has far more cash on hand: She has $678,246 left in the bank, he has $81,892.

Senate District 12: State Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield County, is last by every measure in her three-way race for the Republican nomination, both in fundraising and cash on hand. The one thing in her favor is the prospect that challengers Tina Ramirez and former state Sen. Glen Sturtevant will split the vote. (For Republicans who don’t like the polarizing Chase, this is a case where ranked-choice voting would have helped.) Ramirez led the fundraising for the period, but Sturtevant has the most cash on hand. Republicans are less inclined than Democrats to vote early, so cash on hand may matter more in a Republican primary than a Democratic one. Sturtevant has $112,882, Ramirez $31,911, Chase $19,199.

Senate District 33: This open-seat Northern Virginia district features two former Democratic delegates, both of whom have run unsuccessfully statewide, trying to get back into office. Hala Ayala was the party’s candidate for lieutenant governor in 2021. Jennifer Carroll Foy finished second in the party’s 2021 primary for governor. Foy is the clear leader in terms of money. She’s raised more than twice as much as Ayala — $770,790 to $331,346 — and has more cash on hand, too. Foy has most of her money still left: $430,041 to $95,461 for Ayala. Foy is the second biggest fundraiser in the state, behind only Aird. If she wins, we might well see her trying to run statewide again someday. Of note: She’s a Virginia Military Institute graduate.

Ayala has since closed the gap some. On Tuesday, Ayala reported $71,000 in donations.

Meanwhile, here are four Democratic primaries in Northern Virginia we’ve been monitoring. All feature incumbents facing strong challenges.

Senate District 29: Del. Elizabeth Guzman outraised state Sen. Jeremy McPike by a small margin for the period but McPike has far more cash on hand: $205,261 to $51,428.

Senate District 35: Challenger Heidi Drauschak swamped state Sen. David Marsden in fundraising for the period. She took in $540,533 to his $140,195. That haul made Drauschak the fifth biggest fundraiser in the state for the period, and the biggest fundraiser among first-time candidates. Marsden leads slightly, though, in cash on hand: $86,656 to $79,724. 

Senate District 36:  All districts are of statewide importance but this one more than others, because the incumbent, George Barker, is co-chair of the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee. He’s outraised his challenger, Stella Pekarsky, $667,083 to $419,968. He also has more cash left to spend, although the spread’s not impressive: $210,991 to $180,687. He may need every penny of that. Thanks to redistricting, Barker finds himself in a district where 93% of the voters are new to him. In fact, Pekarsky, a member of the Fairfax County School Board, has faced more voters in this district than he has. Barker is a low-profile legislator — Pekarsky vows to be more “vocal” — but by definition, the co-chair of Senate Finance is a powerful figure. If he falls, that would reverberate across the state. On Tuesday, she reported another $1,785.

Senate District 37: Sen. Chap Peterson outraised challenger Saddam Salim by $175,975 to $101,584 but has a bigger advantage in terms of money in the bank left to spend: $246,652 to $36,753. On Tuesday, Petersen reported another $12,500 and Salim reported $1,000 more.

Finally, a quick look at fundraising in some of the primaries for local offices:

  • Michael Galliher, one of two candidates for the Republican nomination for clerk of court in Roanoke County, has raised more money than any other clerk candidate in the state. He’s raised $25,890; Rhonda Perdue, the incumbent since Steve McGraw retired earlier this year, has raised $1,550.
  • The most expensive supervisor primary in this part of the state is for the Republican nomination for the Valley District seat in Botetourt County. Challenger Robert Young has slightly outraised incumbent Mac Scothorn, $14,450 to $13,154.

Whether you’re intrigued or incensed by all this money spent on politics, let me remind you of two things. It takes money for VPAP to assemble all this data and it takes money for us to report about this and everything else. I won’t advise you which party or candidate to donate to, but if you’d like to donate to us, you can do that here.

Yancey is editor of Cardinal News. His opinions are his own. You can reach him at