WASHINGTON (CNN) – For the moment, at least, things are looking up for the GOP in Virginia.
Republican Bob McDonnell has more than $2 million in the bank to fund his 2009 bid for the Virginia’s governor’s mansion, putting him well ahead of all three of his potential Democratic rivals in the money race, according to fundraising figures released by each of the campaigns.
Thursday was the deadline for each campaign to file year-end finance reports with the Virginia State Board of Elections.
McDonnell raked in $1.6 million during the most recent six-month reporting period, which lasted from June to December, and most of his money came in after election day, when Barack Obama turned Virginia blue on the presidential level for the first time in 44 years.
While the Democrats are facing off in a potentially costly primary battle, McDonnell has already locked up the Republican nomination and is devoting much of his spare time to raising campaign cash. Earlier this month, McDonnell - Virginia's current Attorney General - held a pair of fundraisers with former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
McDonnell now has more than twice as much money on hand as each of the Democrats in the governor’s race, including Terry McAuliffe, the well-connected former DNC chairman who officially entered the race in January and raised about $948,000 since he started collecting checks last fall. McAuliffe reported having about $718,000 on hand.
Despite that relatively modest number, McAuliffe has been in the race for only seven weeks and is expected to out raise and outspend all of the candidates as the campaign progresses.
State senator Creigh Deeds, a Democrat from Bath County, raised about $658,000 since June and ended the year with about $891,000 in the bank, about a quarter of a million more than he had six months ago.
Democrat Brian Moran, the former House delegate from Alexandria, raised roughly $755,000 since June and rustled up more than $2 million over the course of the year, but his campaign spent much of that war chest building their operation and finished 2008 with about $770,000 on hand.
Virginia's Democratic primary is scheduled for June 9.