Arlington Now: April 23, 2019

Arlington’s Delegate Candidates Drop Dominion Energy Money

Arlington Now

Arlington’s representatives in the Virginia House of Delegates have made good on promises to eschew Dominion Energy money, according to recent campaign finance reports.

Arlington’s six candidates for the House of Delegates shared financial reports indicating their campaigns took in no money from the utility company this year. However, most candidates are still relying on contributions from advocacy and labor groups, political action committees, and businesses, as opposed to running campaigns based only around individual contributions.

Copies of the campaign finance reports filed in April and shared by the Virginia Public Access Project indicate longtime donors, like the Virginia Trials Lawyers Political Action Committee (PAC), continue to chip in big chunks of cash to campaigns. The PAC contributed a combined $3,500 to the four incumbent delegates between January and March this year.

So far Democrats in the House of Delegates have out-raised their Republican colleagues, as all 100 seats are up for grabs this election and the possibility of a Democratic majority in the legislature remains on the horizon.

The two candidates currently challenging Arlington’s Delegates reported fewer funds raised than the incumbents. Candidate J.D. Spain, Sr., who is challenging Alfonso Lopez, raised the most of all newcomers on the block with $18,556, largely from his own coffers.

All candidates are scheduled to file another round of finance reports on June 3, days before the June 11 primary election.

The primary will decide which of each party’s candidates for office progresses to the general election on November 5. Virginia residents must register to vote at least 30 days before the primary to be eligible to cast their vote, and can check the location of their polls here.

Below are more details from each Delegates’ April campaign finance filings.

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D)

Lopez has raised by far the most money and also holds the largest war chest of any Delegate candidate in the running. He is currently being challenged by Democratic candidate J.D. Spain, Sr.

Lopez raised $50,924 between January 1 and March 31, according to reports, and spent $12,037. This leaves his campaign with $102,280 on hand after starting with $63,394 back in January.

Lopez’s biggest donor this cycle was Charlottesville investor Michael D. Bills who pledged to counter Dominion Energy with his campaign contributions this year and gave $10,000 to the sitting Delegate’s campaign.

“I believe that swearing off Dominion donations over a year ago just helped cement to my supporters that no money will ever influence me on a single piece of legislation, vote, decision, or opinion,” said Lopez today (Monday). “I have consistently voted against every Dominion Energy bill, and plan to do so as long as they continue to refuse to make renewable energy a major focus for Virginia.”

He added that he believed he had raised the most because he had “delivered real progressive results and the people of northern Virginia.”
Other notable investments to Lopez’s campaign came from the Virginia House Democrats Caucus ($5,000), and the Clean Virginia Fund ($5,000).

Lopez also accepted money from three alcohol groups: Virginia Wine Wholesalers PAC ($3,000), Virginia Beverage Association PAC ($2,000), and the Virginia Imports Ltd. ($500).

The delegate’s campaign for re-election has been endorsed by several unions, the Virginia Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education, and the Arlington Professional Firefighters & Paramedics Association — the latter of which donated $1,000 to his campaign.

Candidate J.D. Spain, Jr. (D)

Lopez’s Democratic challenger in the primary elections is J.D. Spain, Jr., a former Marine and head of the local NAACP chapter who faced him in debate last Wednesday night.

In last week’s filings, Spain reported contributing tens of thousands of his own money into the campaign: $8,200 in loans, $12,259 in cash, and $4,134 in “in-kind” contributions, which usually refers to value of things like equipment and services donated to a campaign.

“I understand that monetary support is really important for a campaign,” Spain told ARLnow. “But being a first-time candidate it’s really tough to raise money. It’s especially hard for a military veteran because we don’t have large networks with donors.”

He added that he loaned himself money to pay staff, and is “proud” of the small donations he received from individuals. His biggest was $500 from James Younger, his neighbor and Arlington’s former Deputy Police Chief.

In total, Spain reported fundraising $18,556 since January when he kicked off his campaign with zero dollars. After spending $12,192, the candidate for Delegate reportedly has $6,364 left on hand.

Spain’s campaign does not yet have any endorsements.

Del. Mark Levine (D)

Levine currently faces no challengers in the Democratic primary. He does face a challenger in the general election from Republican candidate Michael Clinkscale.

Levine reported $18,837 in campaign funds by the end of March, up from $13,369 in January. The delegate narrowly edged out Rip Sullivan as the second highest fundraiser among his colleagues, raising $15,363 since January, and spending $9,894.

His top campaign donors were the Virginia Trials Lawyers PAC ($1,000) and an individual, Anthony Postert ($1,000) who he said he has no relation with but has been an “earlier supporter” of his campaign. Levine also collected $100 from Walker Real Estate LLC.

One hundred and five individuals donated to his campaign, with the majority of them giving $100 or less.

“Maybe it’s why I have fewer dollars in my bank account, but I think it’s the number of the individual donors that’s what I’m proud of,” Levin said today (Monday.)

Levine also accepted $250 from the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association and $500 from the Baltimore Washington Construction & Public Employees Laborers PAC.

He told ARLnow that he had been endorsed by several unions, the The Virginia Education Association, The Victory Fund, and NARAL.

Candidate Michael Clinkscale (R)

Clinkscale is a Republican candidate who announced his campaign challenging Levine in February, according to his campaign website. Clinkscale is a lawyer and ran a campaign for Alexandria City Council last year before losing in the 2018 general election.

Clinkscale reported his campaign started with $150 in January, and took in no contributions between then and the end of March. After spending $49, his campaign reportedly has $100 left to spend.

As of today (Monday), Clinkscale’s campaign has garnered no announced endorsements.

Del. Rip Sullivan (D)

Sullivan has been fundraising for two causes during his campaign for reelection this year and currently faces no challengers to his bid for re-election yet this year.

Last week, Sullivan reported that his campaign had a pot of $61,891 as of March 31, up from $15,243 this winter. His committee for re-election raised $15,243 since then, spending $8,965 at the same time.

Sullivan’s biggest donor was the Democratic Party of Virginia which gave $6,364 to his campaign. His second highest contribution ($2,000) came from Charlottesville investor Michael D. Bills.

Highway operator Transurban donated $250 to his campaign, and County Board member Matt de Ferranti also chipped in $50.

Sullivan also filed finance reports for his political action committee (PAC) Blue Dominion which he formed in 2016 to elect more Democrats to the House.

This year, Blue Dominion more than doubled its funds between January and March. In January, the PAC started with $7,213, and fundraised $8,920 to finish off March with $15,830 after spending $302.

The delegate has netted several endorsements including the Sun Gazette, Planned Parenthood, NARAL’s Virginia chapter, and NOVABIZPAC, Virginia REALTORS PAC.

Del. Patrick Hope (D)

Hope currently faces no challengers to his campaign for re-election this year. His campaign as of March 31 had $25,794 in available funds, down from $29,339 In January. The Delegate raised $7,850 during the period, and spent $11,395.

Hope’s top donor, the Virginia Trial Lawyers PAC, gave $1,000 to his campaign.

Other notable donors to Hope’s campaign this time around include highway toll operator Transurban which donated $250, and Clerk of the Court Paul Ferguson, who donated $200.

Hope, like the other five candidates running for Delegate, did not report any Dominion Energy contributions during this fundraising period.

The delegate has been endorsed by the Virginia Education Association.