Nov. 1, 2011, 9:55 a.m.: This post has been updated to reflect errors included in John Edwards’ campaign reports. The Senate Democratic Caucus donated $115,000 to him this reporting period, in addition to $65,000 previously, making for a total of $180,000, not $105,000 as his report indicates.
The last regular campaign finance reports before next week’s elections were filed today (large donations must be reported within 24 hours), and we’re just starting to sort through the numbers.
But Mike Sluss is reporting a figure that jumped out right away: $202,500: That’s how much the Senate Democratic Caucus has given independent candidate Brandon Bell, who is challenging Sen. Ralph Smith in a rematch from the 2007 Republican primary.
Bell raised $208,700 in cash between Oct. 1 and Oct. 26, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, so the infusion from the Democratic Caucus clearly provided the lion’s share.
Here’s what Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, D-Fairfax County, said about Bell:
“Brandon’s not going to be in our caucus or anything but he has a philosophy that I think reaches reaches a greater number of people than his opponent does,” Saslaw said. “Smith is a pleasant gentleman, but he’s as far to the right as you can get.”
And consider this: The figure contributed to Bell is
nearly double even more than the amount given to 16-year incumbent Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, who is in a hot race to defend his seat against 10-year Del. Dave Nutter, R-Christiansburg. According to Edwards’ report, the Senate Democratic Caucus has given him $105,000 $180,000 for the cycle so far.
So what does it all mean? Did Senate Democrats see something in private polling that made them donate more than $200,000 to an independent
when they’ve given barely half of that to one of their own?
– Mason Adams