Democrat Terry McAuliffe raised more money in one month than Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, his likely Republican opponent in the Virginia governor's race, raised in half a year.
McAuliffe, who launched his bid after the presidential election in November, announced Tuesday that he netted $1.15 million in December alone.
Cuccinelli raised $1.07 million from last July through the end of 2012, putting him behind his Democratic rival at a time when Virginia law prevents Cuccinelli -- and all state constitutional officers -- from raising any more money for the next 45 days, while the General Assembly is in session. McAuliffe can keep raising money.
"It's clear that voters want a governor looking for mainstream ideas to grow the economy and make the commonwealth more attractive to business instead of wasting time on divisive ideological battles," said McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin.
Cuccinelli, who raised $1 million in the first half of 2012, still has more cash on hand than McAuliffe -- $1.2 million compared with $1 million. Cuccinelli also tops McAuliffe in the number of donors and contributions under $100, typically a measure of grassroots support.
About 4,300 people contributed to Cuccinelli's campaign, three times as many as contributed to McAuliffe's, who was criticized during his 2009 bid for governor for his reliance on deep-pocketed out-of-state contributors.
"My campaigns have always relied on local Virginians to propel us to victory," Cuccinelli said. "My campaign for governor is no exception."
Both candidates are far off the pace that Gov. Bob McDonnell set four years ago, when the Republican raised $2.1 million in the second half of 2008 and began the 2009 race with $2 million in the bank.
This year's fundraising is expected to pick up dramatically. McDonnell's campaign eventually raised $23 million, and his Democratic opponent, Sen. Creigh Deeds, tallied $17 million. McAuliffe spent $8.3 million in his 2009 bid for the Democratic nomination, more than any of his opponents, and still lost to Deeds.
Virginia last year had one of the most expensive U.S. Senate races in the country, with much of that spending driven by independent, outside groups. And those groups are likely to be spending in 2013 as well, given that only Virginia and New Jersey have gubernatorial races this year.
Cuccinelli was the only candidate to file candidacy papers with the Republican Party of Virginia before Monday's deadline, though he has been viewed as the likely GOP nominee since Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling dropped out of the race. McAuliffe could face a challenger in the Democratic primary in June, but so far is running unopposed.