capitol 063019

The Virginia Capitol, where the General Assembly meets each January.

Incumbent lawmakers in Western Virginia running for re-election to the General Assembly hold the fundraising advantage as they head into final stretch of the election season.

It doesn’t appear that the Del. Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg, will have to spend as much money as he did two years ago when he competed in one of the most expensive races in Virginia to unseat a Republican incumbent. He raked in $135,686 during July and August and has $241,874 in the bank. Republican Forrest Hite raised $13,711 and has $19,239 on hand, according to campaign finance reports.

All 140 seats of the General Assembly are up for election on Nov. 5. Republicans are clinging to slim majorities in the House and Senate.

House Democrats have a $1 million cash-on-hand advantage over House Republicans, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Republicans have the advantage in the Senate with just under a half-million more than Democrats.

Major parties are not targeting seats in Western Virginia, so candidates west of the Blue Ridge Mountains are pulling in smaller donation amounts.

In the House district that includes Rockbridge County, Del. Ronnie Campbell, R-Rockbridge, and Democrat Christian Worth are facing off for the second time in less than a year. Campbell won a special election last year to finish the remainder of U.S. Rep. Ben Cline’s term. Worth raised $28,421 to Campbell’s $16,430, but Campbell holds the cash-on-hand advantage.

Del. Joe McNamara, R-Roanoke County, who also won a special election last year, raised $14,975, while Democrat Darlene Lewis raised $8,098.

Del. Nick Rush, R-Christiansburg, received $63,069, and his Democratic challenger Rhonda Seltz raised $4,187.

Rush’s donations included $10,000 from Betting on Virginia Jobs, a political action committee created by the partners of a proposed casino resort in Bristol. The PAC also donated $8,000 to Will Wampler, a Republican running for a House seat in far Southwest Virginia, and $10,000 to Sen. Ben Chafin, R-Russell.

Wampler raised $24,400, while Democrat Starla Kiser brought in $30,854. However, Wampler has $33,085 in the bank, and Kiser has $30,176 on hand.

Chafin raised $72,159, while independent George McCall reported $48,920, assisted by $30,600 in personal loans.

Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke County, is the only senator in the region facing a challenger from a major party. He raised $31,884 and has $96,046 in the bank. His opponent, Democrat Flo Ketner, raised $13,719 and has $10,983 on hand.

Sens. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, and John Edwards, D-Roanoke, both out-raised their independent challengers.

Deeds raised $82,318, aided by $50,000 from Michael D. Bills, a Charlottesville investor and major Democratic donor who has been putting up his own money to fund candidates who swear off Dominion Energy donations. Independent Elliott Harding raised $20,285.

Edwards raised $32,405, while independent Steve Nelson received $1,100.

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