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More on All-Important Business Support

Amy Gardner

On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that Democrat R. Creigh Deeds is struggling to make the sale with Virginia business leaders. One detail in that story worth fleshing out is how Deeds and McDonnell have done in the area of campaign contributions.

Thanks as always to David Poole and the Virginia Public Access Project for their outstanding compilation of donor data and a big assist on this analysis in particular.

We started with a baseline of all those donors who have given to both Democrat Mark R. Warner and Republican Tom Davis, two politicians with a long history of popularity with the state's business community, particularly the high-tech corridor of Northern Virginia. We then looked at how those donors performed through Election Day in 2005 -- and how they're behaving so far this year. Here's what we found:

*In 2005, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine won the race with a decided lead over Republican Jerry W. Kilgore in donations from this group, with $417,193 collected by Election Day compared with $285,042. We excluded some Richmond-based lobbying giants that give to everyone. We also excluded after-election "make-up" money.

*This year, Republican Robert F. McDonnell has closed the gap, with $93,170 collected as of Aug. 30 compared with Deeds's $114,110. That's a decidedly poor showing for Deeds, if viewed as a trend line compared with 2005 and 2001. Some examples of Kaine givers who are now giving to McDonnell: AOL ($20,670; zero for Deeds) and ReedSmith ($5,000; zero for Deeds).

*One asterisk: Note how much less money has flowed so far. Is it a measure of the economic times or a lack of excitement for both candidates this year? Is it a combination of both? Does that mean McDonnell is struggling to make the sale too? Some examples of business leaders who are Warner-Davis givers and contributed to either Kaine or Kilgore (or both) in '05 but are sitting it out so far: AIG, CGI-AMS, Oracle Corp., Bristol-Myers Squibb and developer Milton Peterson.

*A second asterisk: With six weeks to go until Election Day, there's still time for some of these donors to come off the bench.

By Amy Gardner  |  September 20, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Amy Gardner , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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