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Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Legislators scramble to raise campaign cash as session approaches

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

The smell of the impending legislative session is in the air in Richmond.

And what does an upcoming session smell like? Bacon, eggs and heavy appetizers.

Virginia law requires lawmakers to suspend fundraising during the legislative session. And that means that it's possible to eat your way through the week in these final pre-session fundraisers, particularly since it's an election year. Provided you're willing to cough up some moolah for your favorite senator's or delegate's reelection campaign, that is.

The biggies will be the annual session-eve events hosted by House Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax). To the certain relief of the town's lobbyists, the events aren't being held head-to-head. Saslaw's shindig is the evening of Jan. 10, at Bank, a restaurant near the Capitol. The invitation says hosts include Alpha Natural Resources, Dominion Virginia, Troutman Sanders and the Virginia Bankers Association. And those are just the $10,000 donors.

Howell's event, which includes other Republican delegates, takes place Tuesday evening at the Jefferson Hotel.

Looking for a party between now and then?

Here's a mere sampling of the mad dash fundraisng this week.

If breakfast is your thing, you could meet up with any of the following: Del. John O'Bannon (R-Henrico) at the SunTrust building in Richmond on Tuesday; Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) or Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond) at the Bull and Bear Club on Wednesday; Del. Watkins Abbitt Jr. (I-Appomattox) at the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association on Thursday; Del. Sal Iaquinto (R-Virginia Beach) at the Bull and Bear Club on Thursday; Sen. George Barker (D-Fairfax), Sen. John Miller (D-Newport News) and Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke), all at the Bull and Bear Club on Friday; Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) at the Commonwealth Club on Friday; or Del. Brenda Pogge (R-York) at the Bull and Bear Club on Jan. 10.

Feel more like a luncheon? You might be interested in joining Republican House Caucus chairman Del. Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax) at the Tobacco Company on Jan. 10.

What about a little evening reception or dinner? Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) hosts a private dinner on Thursday. Del. Scott Garrett (R-Lynchburg) holds an evening reception at Kemper Consulting on Monday. And House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R) hosts an event on Jan. 10 at the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association.

Can't make any of those events? No worries, delegates and senators would still be happy to accept your donation today --- as they have reiterated in repeated e-mails that have been flooding supporters' inboxes in the last week or so, leading up to a Dec. 31 fundraising deadline.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | January 3, 2011; 12:50 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate, William Howell  
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