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Ten House races top $1 million mark

Rosalind Helderman

Despite the recession, this year's election cycle had four of the five most expensive delegate races in Virginia history, including a $1.71 million battle between Del. Dave Albo (R) and challenger Greg Werkheiser in Fairfax that gets the award for most expensive ever.

That's according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan tracker of money in politics, which has been doing number crunching on finance reports submitted by campaigns last week.

The second most expensive race in state history was the contest between newly elected Del. Chris Stolle and incumbent Democrat Joe Bouchard in Virginia Beach, who jointly spent $1.53 million on the race.

Other top races included the campaigns between newly elected Republican Del. Barbara Comstock and incumbent Del. Margi Vanderhye ($1.35 million), Republican Del. Tom Rust versus challenger Democrat Stevens Miller ($1.32 million) and Democratic challenger Robin Abbott versus Del. Phil Hamilton ($1.14 million.)

There is a certain amount of inflation that goes on in electoral politics, especially in a state with no campaign finance limits and an increasingly competitive political landscape. Still, given the state of the economy, some might find it surprising to learn there were 10 Virginia races this year that cost most than $1 million.

And check this out: spending on the race for lieutenant governor in this election cycle jumped to $7.58 million from $4.72 million. That's because Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling spent about third more this year than he did when he won election four years ago ($4.2 million as opposed by $3.3 million.) But, even more, it's because Democrat Jody Wagner's spending far outpaced 2005 Democratic challenger Leslie Byrne (Wagner spent $3.38 million to Byrne's $1.14 million).

Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli and Del. Steven Shannon spent quite a bit less on their race than did Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell and state Sen. Creigh Deeds when they clashed for attorney general four years ago. Together, Cuccinelli and Shannon spent $6.43 million while McDonnell and Deeds spent $9.07 million.

It's worth remembering, of course, that McDonnell and Deeds kept fighting over their protracted recount, presumably extending the time they were actively engaged in fundraising and spending weeks beyond what occurred this year.

VPAP will be posting much more data on all the races on their website this afternoon.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  December 7, 2009; 11:21 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Attorney General's Race , Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Jody Wagner , Ken Cuccinelli , Leslie L. Byrne , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , Steve Shannon  
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