Democrat Tim Kaine out-raised his chief Republican rival in the race for Virginia's open U.S. Senate seat, a contest that already ranks as one of the priciest in the country.
Kaine took in more than $1.2 million between April 1 and May 23, his campaign announced Thursday. That's nearly half a million more than the $750,000 Republican George Allen raised.
Kaine, a former governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee under President Obama, also announced he was making a $2.5 million advertising buy for the fall campaign, the most significant media purchase to date by a Virginia candidate.
"Virginians have enthusiastically received Gov. Kaine's forward-focused, Virginia-based strategies for creating jobs and strengthening our economy, as well as his message and record of working together to find common ground," Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said. "We look forward to continuing to contrast Gov. Kaine's optimistic vision for our country's future with the failed approach offered by the Republicans in this race."
Kaine's ad buy means that Allen -- who still must win a four-way primary on June 12 -- now has more money in the bank.
Allen, a former governor trying to reclaim what had been his Senate seat, has $2.75 million on hand. Kaine has $2.5 million.
Kaine, who has no primary opposition, has been out-raising Allen since entering the race last April. Kaine reported contributions of $8.6 million since early 2011. Allen raised $5 million in that time.
Before Thursday's disclosure deadline, the Virginia Senate race was listed as the sixth most expensive in the country, according to campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets.org. Beyond what Kaine and Allen are raising, outside groups are expected to spend millions on the race.
Allen's campaign conceded Kaine's fundraising edge but attributed it to his ties to Obama, who won Virginia four years ago, but whose popularity there has declined since then.
"There is little doubt Chairman Kaine will continue to be rewarded for his loyalty to President Obama's agenda," Allen spokeswoman Katie Wright said. "We are confident we will have the resources necessary to get out our message and continue to build the infrastructure needed to win in Virginia."
Allen's three primary opponents -- Tea Party activist Jamie Radtke, Del. Bob Marshall of Manassas and Chesapeake pastor E.W. Jackson -- have raised just $800,000 between them.