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Virginia's 9th District

Flaccavento may give Griffith a run for his money

Incumbent has outraised challenger by almost $200K, but Democrat on top with individual donors

When it comes to overall money raised in Virginia’s 9th District congressional race, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith leads Democratic challenger Anthony Flaccavento by almost $200,000, but Flaccavento comes out on top when it comes to individual donors.

Overall, nearly 97 percent of money raised by Flaccavento came from individual donors. And of the itemized individual contributions, 69 percent came from donors in Virginia.

The latest campaign contribution data from the Federal Election Commission released Sept. 30 shows that Griffith, R-Salem, has raised a total of $1,013,640, while Flaccavento, a farmer from Abingdon, has raised $819,486.

That amount is the most raised by any candidate who has run against Griffith since the incumbent took the seat in the 2010 midterm elections. This includes Flaccavento’s first run against Griffith in 2012.

Though Flaccavento lost, he raised about $900,000 less than Griffith that year. But fundraising for this year’s midterms has been different in many ways.

In 2012, a little more than half of the $1.4 million Griffith received in contributions were from individual donors, while 46 percent came from political action committees or PACs. However, in the 2018 race, about $577,000, or 57 percent, came from PACs. Contributions from individuals account for about 42 percent of all money the incumbent has raised this year.

Flaccavento raised $480,091 during his 2012 campaign. But from June to September 2018 alone, his campaign raised more than half a million dollars. During the same period, Griffith raised less than a quarter of a million dollars. Very little of Flaccavento’s money comes from PACs, political party committees, or other non-individual donors.

Flaccavento has also stayed true to his pledge to receive no money from corporate PACs, but he has received money from some non-corporate PACs, such as WinDEM, which is a federally registered PAC. However, Thomas Ambrosini, director of communications for WinDEM, said the organization makes no contributions as an organization and instead acts as a bundler for individual donations to campaigns. Flaccavento’s campaign shared documents with the Bristol Herald Courier disclosing who the bundled donors were, which confirmed WinDEM’s statement. Flaccavento also received $5,000 from the Common Ground PAC, a leadership PAC sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

The FEC’s campaign contribution data yields some other interesting insights into the race. Retirees and attorneys contributed the most to both candidates’ campaigns. However, the other professions that contributed the most are markedly different between the two candidates. The professions that donated the most to Griffith were company presidents, executives, CEOs, pharmacists and homemakers, while the professions that donated the most to Flaccavento were professors, physicians, farmers, the unemployed and artists.

276-645-2412 | lgreiss@bristolnews.com | Twitter: @Leif_Greiss

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