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Campaign funds from outside Virginia

Published On: Sep 20 2013 04:22:31 PM CDT
Campaign funds from outside Virginia
BRISTOL, Va. -

Virginia's gubernatorial candidates have raised more than $33 million in large donations, but much of the cash isn't local.

The Virginia Public Access Project tracks campaign donations. It shows most of the money raised by Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe is not from of Virginia.

We dug through public access reports and found more than $20 million comes from donors outside of the state.

The reports show that among the donations amounting to more than $100, 61 percent of Cuccinelli's money and 73 percent of McAuliffe's money is not from Virginia.

Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis is the only one making most of his money in-state.

Political action groups, energy companies and labor unions are among top donors to the McAuliffe and Cuccinelli campaigns.

These companies aren't all in Virginia. Among Cuccinelli's top five donors are Pennsylvania-based Consol Energy Incorporated and Ohio-based Murray Energy Corporation, according to the reports. Both companies donated about $80,000.

McAuliffe's top five donors include the NextGen Climate Action group from California, and the Laborers' International Union of North America from Washington D.C.

"I think we're looking atthe new normal here," said Dr. Joseph Lane, the Political Science Chair at Emory & Henry College. "The last 14 or 15 years gubernatorial campaigns have become much more nationalized."

This is because of a nationally polarized political climate, he told us, and the lack of campaign donation limits in Virginia.

The companies with vested interests in either the Democratic or Republican party agendas "are going to want to win the races they can win and are going to be more than willing to spend money to win those races wherever those races happen to be," said Lane.

We asked both campaigns why these donations are important and why they look for outside donations.

"Terry is grateful for the support he has received for his campaign from Virginians from all across the Commonwealth because of his bipartisan approach to creating jobs and strengthening the economy," said Rachel Thomas, McAuliffe's campaign spokesperson. "Ken Cuccinelli, on the other hand, has proven once again his personal interests come first."

Since our story aired, McAuliffe's Press Secretary, Josh Schwerin, has told us they have raised a higher percentage of funds within Virginia, if donations less than $100 are included.

Donors who give less than $100 are not required to provide personal information, including address, so they are not used in Virginia Public Access Project totals for where campaign money comes from.

The Cuccinelli campaign also responded to our questions. "Unlike Terry McAuliffe, Ken Cuccinelli has broad financial and grassroots support across the Commonwealth," said Anna Nix, Cuccinelli's spokesperson."That support is based on the fact that Ken is the only candidate in the race who's spent his life fighting for Virginians and who has a substantive, positive vision for the future."

Neither campaign was able to tell us why there weren't more donations from within Virginia.

The money probably won't be used to target Southwest Virginia voters, said Dr. Lane of Emory & Henry.

The money will be spent mostly in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, he said.