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House Call: Slicin' and Dicin' the Sept. 15 Reports

Amy Gardner

Hello, politicos! Welcome to this week's installment of House Call, in which we take a quick look at the state of money in various House races.

Last week, we talked of three incumbent Democrats in Northern Virginia being targeted by Republicans. This week, we know that two of these Democrats still squarely hold the financial advantage.

The conventional wisdom this fall is that, as a result of the economic downturn and concern about a variety of federal issues such as health care reform, Republicans have an opportunity even in Northern Virginia this year to pick up seats in the House of Delegates. The latest reports, however, show that it's always hard to overcome the financial advantage of being an incumbent.

And what does this mean for you and me? Mail. Lots of it.

Democrat Chuck Caputo in the 67th District in western Fairfax and eastern Loudoun wrapped up summer with $104,000 on hand after raising $44,000 in July and August, according to the always fabulous Virginia Public Access Project. Caputo's opponent, Republican Jim LeMunyon, reported $51,000 on hand. LeMunyon raised $40,000 in July and August, but more than half was a personal loan from himself.

Take a short hop west to the 32nd District in Ashburn and Sterling, and Democrat David Poisson reports $110,000 on hand on Aug. 31, after raising $44,000 in July and August. Poisson's opponent, Tag Greason, reports $36,000 on hand after raising $39,000.

Only in the meandering 34th District in McLean and Great Falls is the Democrat losing the money wars. Democrat Margi Vanderhye closed the summer with $133,000 on hand after raising $55,000. Vanderhye's Republican opponent, Barbara Comstock, a seasoned Washington operative with lots of fundraising contacts, had $158,000 in the bank after raising $60,000 in July and August.

Anthony Bedell, chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, said it's important to note that the gap between most Republican candidates and Democratic incumbents is less than $50,000. It's a figure easily overcome with the help of state party help -- help that's sure to come as Nov. 3 draws near.

Some other interesting tidbits:

*There's no surprise in the fact that House Speaker Bill Howell raised the most money, $167,000 in July and August. What is interesting is that No. 2 on the list is beleaguered Republican Phil Hamilton of Newport News's 93rd District, who is still navigating a controversy over a part-time job he got at ODU after securing a half-million-dollar state appropriation for the school. Hamilton raised $137,000. Hamilton is also an impressive No. 4 in cash on hand, with $207,000 in the bank; his opponent, Democrat Robin Abbott, has a not-shabby $108,000 on hand.

*Del. Rob Bell of the 58th District (Charlottesville and surrounds) takes the top prize for cash on hand, with a stunning $570,000 in the bank as of Aug. 31. Bell faces Democrat Cynthia Neff, who had $84,000. No. 2 on the list is Howell, with $305,000 despite no major-party opposition. Expect that money to flow to other campaigns in the next reports. Three is Democrat Shannon Valentine of Lynchburg with $226,000; Valentine faces Republican Scott Garrett, who reported $32,000 in the bank.

*Other top earners in July and August: Democrat Greg Werkheiser, who raised $114,000 in his bid to unseat Republican Dave Albo ($54,000) in the 42nd District. Republican Tom Rust of Herndon raised $99,000; Rust is being challenged by Loudoun County supervisor Stevens Miller ($50,000). Democrat Mark Keam, who is seeking the open 35th District seat in Fairfax County (currently held by Democratic AG nominee Steve Shannon), has raised $91,000; Keam is facing former Fairfax GOP chair Jim Hyland ($37,000).

*House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong is surprisingly low on the list (12th) for a man who wants to be speaker but first must win the majority. Armstrong brought in $78,000, though it should be noted that his political committee, A Strong Majority PAC, had $403,000 at the end of June.

*Two Democrats vying for open seats in Nova -- Luke Torian in Republican Jeff Frederick's 57th District in Prince William and Scott Surovell in Democrat Kris Amundson's 44th District in the Mount Vernon area -- made the top 10 this period, with $87,000 and $86,000 raised, respectively. Torian faces Republican Rafael Lopez (who raised $16,000); Surovell faces Republican Jay McConville ($43,000).

By Amy Gardner  |  September 23, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Amy Gardner , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009  
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Where is Del Dave Albo's "South County?"

In VA Del Dave Albo's campaign for re-election, he talks up his West Springfield childhood roots and claims to be a resident of "South County."

While Del Albo has passed traffic laws in Richmond that have enriched his statewide traffic law firm, Albo & Oblon, LLP -- a clear conflict of interest -- he has become, in fact, the homeowner of estate property in Fairfax Station.

Theana Kastens
Fairfax Station

Posted by: thkastens | September 23, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Very strange thing ~ this Werkheiser guy who's running against Albo is RUNNING AGAINST RAISING TAXES

Now what kind of Democrat is that? Certainly not a very pure one, and the folks around here DEMAND purity of purpose in Democrats.

If Werkheiser doesn't back off that "don't raise taxes" thing he's going to go down to record defeat.

Posted by: muawiyah | September 24, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

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