Virginia Senate Race: Spending Ranks Ninth in Nation
Campaigns spend money on everything from Facebook ads and steak dinners to polling and mileage reimbursement.
The U.S. Senate race between former Virginia governors Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R) (who is also a former U.S. senator), ranks as the ninth most expensive Senate race in the country in spending, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
So far, the campaigns have spent $3,730,080, according to the center. New York ranks at the top with nearly $15 million in spending. Allen, who has been in the race three months longer than Kaine, has spent $1,901,925. Kaine has spent $1,010,476. (The center also takes into account spending by the other challengers in the race: Julien Modica, Jamie Radtke, Tim Donner, David McCormick, Earl Jackson Sr., Courtney Lynch, and Kevin Chisholm.)
With much of Virginia's attention and campaign contributions going to local and statehouse races until last Tuesday, it's likely the Senate race will begin to heat up and attract more contributions.
The last Senate campaign in Virginia, a match-up in 2008 between former governors Mark Warner (D) and Jim Gilmore (R), saw Warner, after it was all over, spend $12.5 million on the race and win, according to the center. Gilmore spent nearly $3 million.
But spending the most doesn't translate into winning. In Allen's last Senate race, in 2006, running as the incumbent against political newcomer James Webb, Allen spent nearly $17 million to Webb's $8.5 million, center figures show. Webb took that race. Allen is hoping to make a comeback this time around in his race against Kaine.
Kaine Campaign Spending
- Kaine's spending so far has included $133,800 on polling from the Benenson Strategy Group.
- The campaign spent about $8,000 in advertising on Facebook on Sept. 28th. Most Facebook advertising works on a "pay for performance" scenario, with ad buyers paying only for ads that are clicked on by viewers. The third-quarter campaign contribution deadline was Sept. 30.
- The campaign spent about $4,000 on Google advertising the same day (Sept. 28).
- $499 at Unwined, a wine shop in Alexandria, on June 11.
- $598 Palm Restaurant in McLean on Sept. 28
- $1,223, Charlie Palmer Steakhouse catering on July 15
Allen Campaign Spending
- Allen's largest one-time spending amount was a payment of $42,500 in August to Targeted Victory of Arlington, a digital media company that helps GOP campaigns with their online presence, e-mail marketing, etc. The campaign has paid nearly $100,000 to the company.
- More than $10,000 in mileage reimbursement to George Allen and his wife Susan Allen.
- More than $75,000 since February on campaign strategy consulting from Debbie LeHardy, a former finance staffer at the Republican National Committee who was fired last year over expense improprieties.
- The campaign spent nearly $5,000 on a private jet in Santa Barbara on July 1.
Rose Hill donations to Senate candidates
So far, Rose Hill (ZIP codes 22303, 22310, 22315) residents have donated about $9,700 to Allen and only $750 to Kaine, according to the latest figures available from the Federal Election Commission. Those figures are as of Sept. 30, 2011.
In all, both campaigns have raised about $3.5 million each.