Three weeks before election day, Virginia’s GOP candidate for governor and ex-Carlyle Group co-CEO Glenn Youngkin has narrowed the gap with his Democratic opponent, former governor Terry McAuliffe: Recent polling averages put McAuliffe ahead of his Republican rival by just 2.9%, within the poll’s margin of error. But in the fundraising race, McAuliffe has racked up donations from several billionaires on his way to a $44.5 million haul, ahead of Youngkin’s $42.3 million. McAuliffe also has more than twice as much cash on hand, with $7.8 million left in the bank compared to $3.5 million for Youngkin, according to public filings.
McAuliffe has raised more than $1.2 million from at least ten billionaires so far, compared to Youngkin’s haul of $280,000 from seven billionaires and their spouses. Because Youngkin has loaned $16.5 million to his own campaign, the two have similar fundraising totals—but McAuliffe has been more successful at gathering external cash.
Nearly 40% of the cash Youngkin has raised came from his own fortune. In addition to the loans to his campaign, he’s contributed $1 million to Virginia Wins PAC, a political action committee he established in March. Forbes estimates Glenn Youngkin has a net worth of more than $440 million, largely thanks to his roughly 2% stake in Carlyle, which he left in September 2020 to run for office. That means he’s spent about 4% of his fortune over the ten months of the campaign so far.
For more on Glenn Youngkin’s net worth, read this story:
While McAuliffe—who already served one term as the state’s governor, from 2014 to 2018—isn’t nearly as wealthy as Youngkin, he’s been able to count on a number of deep-pocketed donors who have provided much-needed support. Over the most recent campaign filing period starting on September 1 and ending on September 30, McAuliffe received donations from two billionaires—$100,000 apiece from London-based U.S. investor Ron Burkle and Chicago-based gambling and real estate tycoon Neil Bluhm. Bluhm and a spokesperson for Burkle did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The $1.2 million McAuliffe has raised from billionaires since January makes up about 3% of his overall funding. Youngkin received the support of only one billionaire or billionaire spouse in the latest filing period: Linda McMahon—the former head of the Small Business Administration under Donald Trump, and the wife of World Wrestling Entertainment’s billionaire chairman Vincent McMahon—who donated $10,000. That brought Youngkin’s overall donations from billionaires and spouses to $280,000, less than 1% of his total haul. (He did receive contributions from two notable Republicans: former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler and Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump administration’s short-lived communications director, who each gave $10,000.)
Both candidates have also sought funding through outside political action committees, or PACs. Youngkin’s Virginia Wins PAC has collected just over $1 million in donations—nearly all of it from $1 million in contributions by Youngkin himself. Common Good Virginia, a PAC set up by McAuliffe in 2014 when he was governor, raised nearly $400,000 in 2021, with no donations from billionaires.
McAuliffe still has time to tap his rolodex for more ultra-wealthy donors he’s raised money from in the past: Several billionaires, including Hyatt hotels heir and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder and former Estée Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder, made five- or six-figure donations to Common Good between 2014 and 2015. With the two candidates separated by a few percentage points in the polls and less than $2 million in the fundraising race, any extra support could be crucial in the closing weeks of the campaign ahead of the November 2 election.