With three months of fundraising into the 2021 election year, finance reports show two local Democrats received more small-donor donations than their Republican opponents.

Democrat Jennifer Kitchen had an ending balance of $46,217 as of March 31, with 46% of her donations in the last 15 months coming from small donors, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Her opponent, Del. Chris Runion, R-Bridgewater, capped the first quarter with an ending balance of $20,936. Nearly 70% of Runion’s donations from the last 15 months came from individuals and businesses.

As of Wednesday, Runion’s campaign finance total is nearly matched by Kitchen’s. Runion has a total of $53,971, while Kitchen has $50,605.

Runion and Kitchen are running for the 25th House of Delegates District, which represents the counties of Augusta, Albemarle and Rockingham.

In the 26th House of Delegates District, Del. Tony Wilt, R-Broadway, is also facing tight fundraising competition from Democrat Bill Helsley.

The district represents Harrisonburg and parts of Rockingham County.

In the first quarter, Wilt had an ending balance of $73,097 as of March 31. Helsley’s ending balance was $48,642, VPAP reports.

In the last 15 months, 59% of Wilt’s donations came from business donors, while 77% of Helsley’s donations came from individuals.

Wilt’s campaign finances totaled $64,633, with Helsley having $58,689 as of Wednesday.

Every quarter, candidates up for election in November must file campaign finance reports with the Virginia Department of Elections, and each quarter reveals whose fundraising effort outweighs their opponent.

All 100 seats in the House of Delegates are on the ballot this November.

The filing deadline for first quarter campaign finance reports was April 15 and included fundraising and expenses between Jan. 1 and March 31.

For candidates challenging incumbents, the first quarter provides a chance to get a head start on fundraising as General Assembly members can’t raise money during an active session.

The 2021 General Assembly session started on Jan. 13 and ended on Feb. 11 before entering into a special session. Members did not formally adjourn until March 1.

Of the other four candidates seeking to represent parts of Rockingham County, Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, had the highest ending balance as of March 31.

Bell went into the first quarter with more than $207,000 already collected and ended the quarter with $231,474. As of Wednesday, Bell has a total of $196,984, VPAP reports.

Bell represents the 58th House of Delegates District, which includes the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene and Rockingham.

Bell is being challenged by Sara Ratcliffe, who ended the first quarter with $4,812. Her total amount raised as of Wednesday is $5,689.

Individual donations in the last 15 months made up 56% of Ratcliffe’s total fundraising and 55% of Bell’s total fundraising.

In the northern parts of Rockingham County, Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Mount Jackson, ended the first quarter with a balance of $166,258 and had $187,545 as of Wednesday. He entered the quarter with $145,239 on hand.

Gilbert, who represents the 15th House of Delegates District, is being challenged by Emily Scott, who raised $0, VPAP reports.

Business donors made up 81% of Gilbert’s donations in the last 15 months, making up a total of $149,000.

Rockingham County is one of several localities with donors putting in more than $172,000 to candidates and campaign committees, with VPAP reporting $220,268 coming out of the area.

Contact Jessica Wetzler at 574-6279 or jwetzler@dnronline.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @wetzler_jessica

(5) comments


It'll take a lot more than a campaign donation advantage for a Democrat to win this House of Delegates seat. Runion got 58% of the vote last time, and he hasn't done anything since then that would indicate he will do any worse next time around.


The Democrat Party is also leading the way with dead voters so there's that.


True Deft. And let's not forget illegal alien voters.


Prince Prodigal, don’t forget Democrats lead in support by racists, child molesters, rapists, thieves, murderers, drug dealers, and other societal predators and parasites.


So what is the point? Liberal progressive democrats get more money from many individual like-minded ideologues? Make sure to re-elect Runion. Send the socialist Kitchen back to her own little utopia.

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