Certain local and all statewide candidates who will appear on the Floyd ballot in November are required to file periodic campaign finance reports with the Virginia Department of Elections. The latest disclosures were due Sept. 16, and the reports show the two Republican candidates in statewide races far outraising their Democratic challengers.
Nick Rush, the incumbent House of Delegates member from Virginia’s 7th district, currently has $90,456 cash-on-hand and raised more than $61,000 in the period between July 1, 2019 and August 31, 2019. Unlike his opponent Rhonda Seltz, who reported much more modest fundraising numbers, Rush received many donations—nearly 50% of his 57 reported donations—from PACs, private groups that can aggregate money from several sources and often represent particular business, labor or ideological interests. Rush’s largest PAC donation came from “Betting on Virginia Jobs,” a single-issue group that advocates for legislation allowing casinos in Virginia. The PAC has donated $10,000 to Rush this cycle.
Rush also had several contributions come from outside Virginia—nearly 15% of his total number, and several donations from corporate or pharmaceutical groups, such as Comcast and Pfizer.
Rhonda Seltz, running for the same position in the House of Delegates, couldn’t compete with Rush’s fundraising. The Seltz campaign has only $3,400 cash-on-hand—due to far fewer donations, but also, the nature of the campaign’s contributors. The Seltz campaign reported no out-of-state donations, no donations of more than $1000, and only two political groups donated to the campaign: The Montgomery County Democratic Committee (Seltz’s largest donor at $500) and the Virginia Democratic Women’s Caucus.
In the race for state senate, the Democrat again found herself far outraised and outspent—Flo Ketner has about $16,000 cash-on-hand after this latest filing period, compared to incumbent David Suetterlein’s $96,000. Ketner’s filings show significant PAC support—the WinVa PAC, which supports Virginia Democrats who “live by the state’s founding values—truth, compassion and dignity,” gave seven donations totaling $9,000 this period. Ketner also received $5,000 from the Clean Virginia Fund, and contributions from those two groups alone comprised 86% of Ketner’s total fundraising. However, small-dollar donations from individual contributors outnumbered Ketner’s donations from political organizations.
Sutterlein, a Republican who currently represents Virginia’s 19th senate district, raised an amount comparable to Rush but took far fewer PAC donations. Of Suetterlein’s 70 reported donors, 52 were individuals (74%), and 55 of his donations were less than $1,000. Suetterlien’s largest donation from an organization came from the HCA for Good Government, which represents Hospital Corporation of America employees. Suetterlien donors were almost entirely local—only four of his 70 donations came from outside Virginia.
In the race for the Little River District spot on the Floyd County Board of Supervisors, incumbent representative Linda Devito Kuchenbuch reported $1,804 cash-on-hand, compared with less than $100 for her competitor Tim Sulloway. Kuchenbuch is running as an independent and Sulloway as a Republican, and Kuchenbuch has nearly $1,400 more in her war chest than during the same filing period in 2015, the last time she ran for election, perhaps because the race is competitive.
Candidates for Floyd’s Town Council are exempt from filing disclosures due to the size of the town, but the race is competitive. Three people, two of whom are incumbent members of the Council, are running for two open spots. Councilmen Paul LeMay and Michael Patton will join David Whitaker on the ballot this fall. All three men are running as independents. Councilman Chris Bond is also up for election, unchallenged.