If anyone doubts whether the Republican path to a state Senate majority goes through Southwest and Southside Virginia, just follow the money.
Specifically, Gov. Bob McDonnell’s money.
The governor’s political action committee has made generous contributions to the Republicans who are trying to unseat veteran Democrats John Edwards of Roanoke and Roscoe Reynolds of Henry County. The contributions are disclosed in second-quarter reports that legislative candidates and political committees have filed with the state Board of Elections.
McDonnell’s PAC has nearly $3 million in the bank and he plans to use some of those resources to help his party regain control of the Senate. Democrats hold a slim 22-18 majority and Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling holds the tie-breaking vote in the chamber.
McDonnell’s Opportunity Virginia committee gave $40,000 to Republican Dave Nutter of Christiansburg, who has given up a safe seat in the House of Delegates to challenge Edwards. That’s more than McDonnell gave to any state Senate candidate in this period, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
Nutter rolled over about $31,000 from his House campaign account and had $95,262 in the bank at the end of June, according to VPAP.
Edwards raised $31,332 between April 1 and June 30 and had $91,257 on hand at the close of the period.
McDonnell’s PAC gave $25,000 to Republican Bill Stanley of Franklin County, a first-year senator who moved into a different district to take on Reynolds.
Stanley raised more than $100,000 during the quarter and had $79,193 on hand at the end of June. Stanley also received a $25,000 contribution from fellow Republican Steve Newman of Lynchburg, the chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus.
Reynolds raised more than $128,000, including a $50,000 infusion from the Senate Democratic Caucus.
McDonnell’s committee also gave $25,000 to Republican Bill Carrico of Grayson County, who is leaving the House and running for the Senate seat being vacated by William Wampler, R-Bristol.
As mentioned earlier this week, McDonnell’s PAC also gave $50,000 to the Southside Victory Fund, a committee set up to help Del. Charles Poindexter, R-Franklin County. Poindexter faces a fight with House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong, D-Henry County, who decided to move after his district was carved up in the reapportionment process.
Armstrong raised more than $142,000 in the second quarter and has more than $238,000 on hand. Poindexter reported having $22,267 in his campaign account. The Southside Victory Fund has more than $104,000.