Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, will report raising more than $580,000 in the first quarter of 2021, starting a pivotal election year with over $1.75 million on hand — a record amount for a speaker at this point in a campaign cycle, according to her office.
The governor’s race may get top billing this year, but the battle for control of the House also has major ramifications for what the next governor will or won’t be able to do.
Even if Democrats continue their decade-long winning streak in statewide races, Republicans could severely limit what the next Democratic governor could accomplish by retaking a House majority that could block progressive priorities.
As speaker, it’s Filler-Corn’s job to stop that from happening, partly by raising money through her leadership PAC that can be used to help vulnerable Democratic incumbents.
“This incredible show of support is a clear sign that House Democrats have the energy and momentum needed to effectively communicate their record to voters, as well as defend and expand their majority,” said Filler-Corn’s spokesman Tyler Javonillo.
At the same point in 2019, former House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, reported raising a combined $350,000 between his leadership PAC, the House Republican Campaign Committee and individual campaign account, with a total of about $1.3 million on hand, according to state records.
After the first quarter of 2017, former GOP Speaker Bill Howell’s leadership PAC reported raising almost $260,000, with nearly $784,000 on hand.
Democrats gained ground in both those cycles, flipping control in 2019 and enabling Filler-Corn to become the first woman elected speaker in the House’s 400-year history.
Fundraising in the first quarter is limited by the ban on in-session donations, but lawmakers had about a month to raise money by the March 31 reporting deadline. Full reports are due April 15.
Many of Filler-Corn’s top donations for the quarter came from organized labor, with a $50,000 donation from the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, $30,000 from United Food and & Commercial Workers Local 400, and $25,000 from the Baltimore Washington Construction & Public Employees Laborers PAC.
She also took in $15,000 from the Virginia Bankers Association and $10,000 from Amazon, which just defeated a major union drive at a warehouse in Alabama.