Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) raised $530,000 from major donors for his political action committee over the past four months as he gears up for this fall’s state legislative elections.
The governor has made it his mission to bring the state Senate, which is closely divided, under Democratic control. A veteran fundraiser, McAuliffe is expected to lead the way in gathering the necessary cash through his PAC, Common Good VA.
In his first 15 months in office, however, McAuliffe has not outpaced his predecessor, former governor Robert F. McDonnell (R), in big donations, according to a Virginia Public Access Project comparison. McAuliffe took in $2.1 million in donations over $10,000 through his PAC; McDonnell took in $2.2 million in the same time period.
McAuliffe may have outpaced McDonnell in small donors, as he has before; those numbers will not be released until April 15.
Common Good VA can take unlimited donations, but the money can be spent only on state — not federal — campaigns.
There are several familiar names in the list of donors. The popular novelist David Baldacci, who supported McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign, gave $10,000. John Cohlan, the chief executive of the Margaritaville restaurant and entertainment chain who helped fund McAuliffe’s inauguration, gave $50,000.
The California-based developer behind a Prince William golf communityalso gave $50,000, as did an Illinois contracting company.
McAuliffe is known for his close professional and personal ties to the Clintons as well as their network of wealthy supporters. Michael Halle, a top adviser, recently left McAuliffe’s PAC to head up Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential efforts in Iowa.
Two of McAuliffe’s $25,000 supporters, Wal-Mart and the biotech firm Genentech, are also major donors to the Clinton Foundation. Nathan Landow, a real estate developer who raised more than $600,000 for Bill Clinton’s campaigns, gave $10,000. So did Peter O’Keefe, a longtime McAuliffe friend and business associate who worked at the Democratic National Committee and was on Clinton’s White House staff. John Boland, a close friend who did business with McAuliffe in the 1990s, also gave $10,000, as did Sudhakar V. Shenoy, who was involved in McAuliffe’s electric car venture, GreenTech Automotive, as chairman of the board of Gulf Coast Funds Management.
The Democratic Governors Association also shipped $30,000 to McAuliffe’s committee coffers. Hospitals, credit unions, resort developers and beer distributors chipped in as well.
Republicans hold two more seats in the state Senate than Democrats. Although the governor has been touting a healthy working relationship with his political opponents — including in fundraising appeals for his PAC — he has also promised to fight them aggressively this fall.