McAuliffe hauls in $5 million for Virginia governor race

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Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe raised more than $5 million in the first three months of 2013, his campaign said Friday.

Among his contributions is a $100,000 check from former President Bill Clinton. McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, was Clinton's top fundraiser during the 1990s and remains close to the Clintons.

First quarter totals were not yet available for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, McAuliffe's Republican opponent in the Virginia race. Cuccinelli was at a disadvantage for much of the quarter ending March 31 because state law barred him from fundraising during the General Assembly's 45-day session.

Of the $5.1 million raised, 72 percent was from Virginia donors and three quarters of those were less than $100, the campaign noted, boosting its case that McAuliffe has grassroots support in a state where many perceive him to be a carpetbagger with few ties to the state.

Last year, McAuliffe hauled in $1.2 million in December alone after officially entering the race in November. That was slightly more than the $1.1 million Cuccinelli reported for all of the second half of 2012.

During the first three months of this year, McAuliffe held fundraisers with major donors in New York, Florida and Louisiana that featured Clinton as a guest. Cuccinelli hosted two donor events with Gov. Bob McDonnell in January and another in March with Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Virginia Beach.

In his successful 2009 campaign, McDonnell raised $23 million and his opponent, Democratic Sen. Creigh Deeds of Charlottesville, brought in $17 million. The Virginia race is one of just two governor races this year - the other is New Jersey - and that lack of competition means both candidates are likely to attract millions of dollars in outside funding from their parties and interest groups.

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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