September 19, 2007
Usually at this time of year, it's the Republican Senate hopefuls who have the most money in the bank, but not this year.
Analysts say the message this sends is Democrats are putting up a fight.
Arin Sime isn't a democratic or GOP candidate, but he knows the importance of campaign contributions. He's running for the Senate for the first time as a third party candidate in the 24th district.
“It's just a necessary evil of politics. You have to be able to get the message out to people and the most effective way to do that is with direct mail, radio advertising, and TV advertising and that sort of thing, but that costs a lot of money,” said Sime.
A lot of money is exactly what the major parties have raised. Democrats banked $1.85 million in the past two months with Republicans slightly falling behind with just $1.7 million.
While it's a change from the norm, analysts say don't confuse collecting dollars with collecting votes.
“I think the message is that democrats are putting forward more candidates, more challengers to go after republican incumbents,” said Matt Smyth, UVa Center for Politics.
In fact, when you look at all Republican candidates running across the state they actually have more total money than the Democrats.
However, many state races are essentially uncontested. It's the races that are up for grabs where Democrats are putting their money, and it's coming from a number of different sources.
“Candidates spend their time on the phone with individual donors, also at events where they meet with potential corporate sponsors, so it's really a combination at this point of both individuals and corporate groups or political action committees,” said Smyth.
Democrats believe a number of factors have favored them in raising money. Such as, open Republican Senate seats, demographic changes, and the unpopularity of our president along with some moral mishaps within the GOP that has caught the national spot light.
Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are leading the state in campaign contributions.