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Beyer Rakes in Campaign Cash in Democratic Primary

Fundraising numbers reveal former lieutenant governor has significant edge.

Note: at press time, campaign documents from candidate Satish Korpe were unavailable.

Note: at press time, campaign documents from candidate Satish Korpe were unavailable. Source: Federal Election Commission

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Campaign finance documents released this week show Don Beyer well ahead of his competitors in the race for cash, giving the former lieutenant governor a significant edge over the nine other Democrats in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8). Beyer raised almost $770,000, more than twice as much as any other candidate in the race. Documents show Beyer, who owns several car dealerships in Virginia, donated $5,200 to his campaign.

"The conventional wisdom is that Beyer is leading, and certainly the fundraising numbers contribute to that conventional wisdom," said Kyle Kondik, political analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics. "But whether that's actually going to be the case at the end of the day, who knows?"

Lavern Chatman, who is a former president of the Urban League of Northern Virginia, came in second place in the race for campaign cash. Earlier this month, Chatman held a fundraising event at the Crystal Gateway Marriot with Oprah Winfrey.

Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille raised the third highest total of campaign cash, building on his experience raising significant amounts of money to fund campaigns for mayor even when he faced little or no opposition.

"The other two people who have raised significant amounts of money or who have significant amounts of money seem to have them from a single source, either they've loaned it to themselves or they've had an Oprah Winfrey level high-profile fundraiser," said Quentin Kidd, professor at Christopher Newport University. "But I bet his [Beyer’s] donor base is larger than anybody else, and that really speaks to the level of support that people are giving you."

Aside from Beyer, the candidate with the most cash on hand heading into the June 10 primary is radio personality Mark Levine. Campaign finance records show that Levine loaned his campaign $250,000, leaving him with almost $300,000 heading into the second quarter. That give him a significant war chest that most of the other candidates don't have.

"He's putting his neck on the line," said Kondick. "It's possible that if he loans his campaign, that he may never get it back."