The media has a fixation on how much money a candidate collects from Virginia residents as compared to outside of the state. The unstated assumption is that the candidate who receives more campaign donations from within their state is the true Virginian, more in touch, and better liked.
This is a silly premise since it does not take into account the localized concentrations in wealth in certain localities or the added motivation from donors that derive their livelihood from the “business” of government: a public sector job, government procurement, lobbying, or the making of laws and running elections. Furthermore, Congressional elections have national impact like the senior Senator from Nevada who degrades my life. Nevertheless, we will play along to correct the perception.
If you go to the fec.gov site and download the Itemized Individual Contributions data , you will get the following results:
Kaine has collected more dollars from Virginia, but proportionally speaking, that is relative to his own base, he receives 46% from Virginia while Allen receives 61% from Virginia. So next time you see these in/out of state data tossed around, you can evaluate the statistics from this perspective. So now the media can safely report that, case closed, George Allen is the real Virginian and move on to actually reporting some facts about both men’s records as governor as opposed to retweeting their press releases or cut and pasting the occasional blurb from the latest poll.
But while we are on the topic of money, let’s dispel one of Tim Kaine’s complaints: evil “secret money”. The amounts in the chart tables also contain contributions from organizations called aggregators. It’s like a PayPal for politicians. Admittedly, the Democrats are more effective in using aggregators to collect money on a national scale for their key candidates such as ActBlue, which funnels money to Kaine. Democrats always have the edge when it comes to centralization.
The point is that these aggregators do not report the person who is contributing, which is exactly Kaine’s complaint about Karl Rove et al. Here’s a sample of what the Kaine campaign provides to the FEC:
And the totals are not trivial:
- ActBlue Virginia: $528,004
- League Of Conservation Voters Action Fund: $74,135
Of course those amounts are not on the same scale of Crossroads GPS ad dollars, but I’m sure Tim Kaine would agree that it’s the principle that matters. The Republicans do not have an aggregator similar to ActBlue involved in this race.
So to summarize, if you consider Kaine’s total dollars, he gets proportionally more of his dollars from outside of Virginia. And when you look at transfers from other political organizations and politicians, Kaine also receives a nice chunk from California, New York, DC, and Harry Reid-type Democrats. His ability to draw outside funds should be no surprise since he was the chief DNC fundraiser for two years. In addition, Senate Democrats want to keep their leadership roles and Tim Kaine is one of their key investments.
Cross-posted on DefeatTimKaine.com
 A couple of points on the data: the detail records are manually created in Congress and then handed to the FEC. They will tell you that this data always contains errors and never equal the summary numbers which the campaigns submit first. Also, if you use data from vpap.org bear in mind that exclude receipts under $200, which ignores approximately 6000 small donations.