McAuliffe has fundraising lead in Virginia governor’s race

The USS Mason, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, glides past a news conference as former Gov. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, at podium speaks, at Waterside in Norfolk, Va., Thursday, April 8, 2021. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, second from left, endorsed McAuliffe for governor. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
The USS Mason, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, glides past a news conference as former Gov. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, at podium speaks, at Waterside in Norfolk, Va., Thursday, April 8, 2021. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, second from left, endorsed McAuliffe for governor. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

RICHMOND, Va. – Democratic former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has a commanding lead in fundraising as he seeks another term in the governor’s mansion, according to campaign finance reports filed this week.

McAuliffe reported raising $4.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks money in politics. He ended the period with $8.5 million cash on hand, more than the rest of his four primary opponents combined.

In the seven-way GOP nomination contest, wealthy businessmen Pete Snyder and Glenn Youngkin easily led the pack in fundraising, having each loaned themselves more than $5 million.

Youngkin, the former co-chief executive of The Carlyle Group, a Washington-based private equity giant, had a slight edge in cash on hand: about $3.3 million to entrepreneur and investor Snyder’s nearly $2.6 million.

Republicans have opted to pick their nominee at an unassembled convention next month; Democrats will winnow their field in a primary in June.

Former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy posted the second-highest fundraising haul on the Democratic side, raising more than $1.8 million and ending the quarter with more than $2.3 million cash on hand.

In an email Friday, her campaign wrote that the latest fundraising numbers show the other Democratic candidates in the race -- state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Del. Lee Carter and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax - “do not have the resources to compete in Virginia, which includes one of the nation’s most expensive media markets.”

The McClellan and Carter campaigns pushed back at that characterization. Both candidates were prohibited from fundraising during part of the quarter when the General Assembly was in session.