Terry McAuliffe is benefiting from a late surge in campaign donations as national Democrats ensure that he prevails in the important Virginia Governor’s race on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the McAuliffe campaign reported it had received over $500,000 in donations from labor unions to the state party. On the same day, however, the Cuccinelli campaign reported donations of just $12,000.
This snapshot of donations, at a time that campaigns have to report all large donations within a day, shows the overwhelming case advantage McAuliffe has enjoyed throughout the campaign. His overall haul of $36 million is almost double the amount raised by Republican Cuccinelli. In the closing days of the race, McAuliffe has been able to outspend Cuccinelli by four-to-one on the airwaves.
McAuliffe holds a steady lead in the polls. The late infusion of cash into McAuliffe’s campaign, however, shows the Democrats still hold some worry the lead could slip away on Election Day. Virginia’s off-year elections have dramatically lower turnout than Presidential years. The electorate also tends to be older and more conservative, giving hope to the Cuccinelli campaign that he can close the gap and still win.
Both candidates have high negative ratings, fueled by a barrage of attack ads from both camps. This phenomenon is likely to drive turnout even lower than it otherwise would be, as neither candidate generates much enthusiasm among voters.
For over 30 years, the winner of the Virginia’s governor race has been from the party not controlling the White House. The late surge of Democrat cash is hoping to reverse that.