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Votes

Follow the Money

Howell, Hunt and the $800,000 State Senate seat hangs in the balance.

Less than a week before Election Day, and the candidates for the 32nd State Senate seat have collectively raised more than $800,000.

Each candidate has raised more than $400,000, a feat not equaled in the state this year, according to State Board of Election reports. Already the third most expensive race in Virginia this year, neither three-term incumbent Sen. Janet Howell, a Democrat from Reston, nor her Republican opponent Dave Hunt, of Great Falls, show any signs of letting up on their money raising machines before Nov. 4.

In the Oct. 15 filing, the last official reporting period before the election, the incumbent Howell raised $56,815 in the month of September. Meanwhile, her opponent, a first-time candidate, raised just over $29,000. In the prior reporting period, Hunt, thanks in large part to donations from his family and his company, out-raised Howell, by a little more than $4,000.

The bulk of Howell's September fundraising success came in high-dollar donations from local real estate developers, defense contractors, trial lawyers and political action committees (PACs), groups that have helped fuel incumbent Howell’s bid to return to Richmond, according to the most recent campaign finance reports released on Oct. 15. According to VPAP, the Virginia Public Access Project, 71 percent of Howell's donations were $500 or larger.

Hunt, meanwhile, has continued to pour his own money, and money from his family and family's companies into the race. To date, Hunt and his company, Landon & Stark Associates have contributed well more than $257,000 to his campaign. In addition, Hunt has received tens of thousands of dollars from his family and his siblings companies. The $257,000 figure includes two separate $50,000 donations by Hunt that came in after the Oct. 15 filing deadline. Between Oct. 23 and Nov. 4, General Assembly candidates must report all contributions greater than $500, within 24 hours. Since Oct. 23, Hunt has contributed $100,000 additional dollars to his campaign to unseat Howell.

For her part, Howell raised another $12,600 since the last filing deadline, the bulk of which came in the form of a $10,000 check from Gov. Mark Warner's (D) One Virginia PAC. With $30,000 in the bank, Warner was Howell's biggest financial supporter during the election cycle.

With six days to go before Election Day, the two candidates have raised more than $826,000, with Howell having brought in $415,257 to Hunt’s $411,238.