Big Money in House of Delegates Races

Big Money in House of Delegates Races

Spending $300,000 for a $17,640 job ...

The 35 candidates in Fairfax County running for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates have raised more than $4 million in campaign contributions during this election cycle, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a non-partisan campaign finance organization.

Democrats overall have raised more than Republicans, with a total of $2.3 million compared with the GOP's total of $1.7 million. Libertarian candidates have brought in nearly $18,000, while most Independent Green Party candidates have not yet filed their campaign finance reports.

Out of the 17 House of Delegates seats in Fairfax County, 12 are contested. Five races, however, are especially expensive.

The 42nd District seat, covering Springfield, Lorton and Mason Neck, currently held by Del. Dave Albo (R), 43, an attorney specializing in DWI law, is being contested by Democrat Greg Werkheiser, a 31-year-old attorney from Springfield. With less than two months before the Nov. 8 election, it is already the most expensive House campaign in Virginia history. Albo has collected $330,000, while Werkheiser has raised $322,000, according to campaign finance reports.

The race to replace outgoing Del. Chap Petersen (D) in the 37th District, which is primarily the City of Fairfax, has brought in more than $423,000, with Republican John Mason raising $216,000 and Democrat David Bulova raising $204,000. Mason, 70, was the mayor of the City of Fairfax for 12 years, while Bulova, 36, has served since 1993 on the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.

The race to fill the 41st District seat, comprised primarily of Lake Braddock and Burke, was left open by retiring Del. Jim Dillard (R). This two-candidate race is also competitive, with at least $362,000 pouring into the candidates' campaign coffers. Republican Michael Golden, a 31-year-old appellate attorney who has raised $165,000, is trailing behind Democrat David Marsden, 57, a former Dillard aide, who has raised $197,000.

A three-way race in the 67th District, located in western Fairfax County and including Chantilly and part of Fairfax, became an open seat after incumbent Del. Gary Reese (R) was defeated in the June 14 primary. As of Aug. 29, the race has brought in at least $319,536. Republican Chris Craddock, a 27-year-old youth pastor who beat Reese, has raised $174,500, compared to Democrat Chuck Caputo's fund-raising total of $139,400. Caputo, 67, is a former Defense Department employee who served on the Fairfax County School Board from 1980 to 1985. Chuck Eby, 49, who is running as a Libertarian and is employed as a defense contractor, has raised $5,600.

Del. Stephen Shannon (D-35), who represents the Oakton and Vienna area, is locked in the final big money race — which has seen an influx of nearly $400,000 in campaign contributions. Shannon, 34, a one-term incumbent, has a sizable fundraising lead, with $296,000, over his opponent, Republican Jim Hyland, a 44-year-old attorney from Vienna, who has raised $91,000.

With political observers predicting that a few of these contested seats might change party hands, the Nov. 8 election could slightly shift the make-up of the House of Delegates. Currently, there are 60 Republicans, 38 Democrats and two Independents serving in the House. All 100 seats are up for election on Nov. 8. Delegates serve two-year terms.