In Virginia governor’s race, Democratic primary takes toll on Northam’s war chest

Ralph Northam’s decisive win in Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary in June took a big toll on his war chest, leaving him with just $1.75 million on hand — about half as much as Republican candidate Ed Gillespie’s $3.2 million, according to campaign finance numbers released Monday.

Northam, the state’s lieutenant governor, raised nearly $2 million in June, bringing the total amassed for his bid to $9.4 million.

But his hard-fought primary that month against former congressman Tom Perriello consumed all but $1.75 million of the haul, according to campaign finance records.

Northam beat Perriello by nearly 12 points.

Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman and adviser to President George W. Bush, raised $1.8 million in June, bringing his total over the campaign cycle to about $6.7 million.

Gillespie spent about $3.5 million through June 30, a period that includes the two weeks following the June 13 primary, while Northam spent $7.7 million.

Polls and political analysts suggested Gillespie would easily beat Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart, who ran as a President Trump-style provocateur, and state Sen. Frank W. Wagner (Virginia Beach), whose promise to raise taxes for transportation never got traction.

But Stewart nearly upset Gillespie, finishing just 1.2 points behind him.

The close call has caused senior Republicans from the White House on down to question Gillespie’s campaign strategy and team.

But there was a silver lining to underestimating Stewart: Gillespie still had $3.2 million in the bank as of June 30.

Both sides released campaign finance totals Monday ahead of a midnight filing deadline. They did not release information about donors or other details that will be included in the full reports they must file with state elections officials.