By Erich Wagner (Courtesy photo)
To say that former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer got his congressional campaign off on the right foot would be an understatement.
The Alexandria Democrat took in $668,498 in contributions between January and March and has nearly $450,000 on hand, putting him head and shoulders above other candidates in the crowded field to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8).
Mayor Bill Euille ranked second, raising more than $213,000 in donations with $174,000 on hand, while former Northern Virginia Urban League President Lavern Chapman announced receiving more than $200,000. State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30) revealed Wednesday that he received more than $178,000 in contributions.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) raised $186,000 and has nearly $139,000 on hand, while Del. Charnielle Herring (D-46) surprised a few insiders by reporting $121,000 in donations, less than expected. Also competing for the Democratic nomination in the June 10 primary are Alexandria Planning Commissioner Derek Hyra, businessman Satish Korpe, radio show host Mark Levine and former U.S. Air Force pilot Bruce Shuttleworth. Delegates Alfonso Lopez and Mark Sickles dropped out of the race in recent weeks, and businesswoman Nancy Najarian did not make the primary ballot. She is challenging that decision.
Geoff Skelley, a veteran analyst with the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said Beyer’s massive war chest is a huge advantage, and suggests he could afford television ads where others cannot.
“That could be helpful, especially in a low-turnout election, just to get more name recognition,” Skelley said. “[But] in a race like this it’s kind of difficult to get a read on it. It’s been a while since he’s been in the political mix.”
On the Republican side, Alexandria Army veteran Dennis Bartow, Marine Corps veteran and political consultant Micah Edmond and former Texas state lawmaker Paul Haring have thrown their hats in for consideration in the party’s convention process.
Army veteran Jeffrey Carson is running as the lone Libertarian candidate.
Skelley said that with initial campaign filings on the books, voters could see many candidates drop out in the coming weeks. But even if only five of the major candidates remain in the race until June, the winner could sail to the general election by winning over as little as a quarter of Democratic voters.
“With Beyer being listed first on the ballot and his monetary advantage, if there is a favorite, it would be him,” he said. “But given you still have so many candidates and the vote can be split in so many ways, it’s still a very unpredictable environment.”