Fund raising here in the 20th District is difficult. After losing thousands of good paying jobs during Senator Reynolds' tenure, the people of the 20th District are enthusiastically supportive of the Jeff Evans campaign. But they must decide which is more important, a small campaign contribution or the kid's bologna sandwiches. Bologna wins almost every time.
Another very important factor to consider is that since well before the era of A.L. Philpott there has never been a strong Republican candidate in this 6 county area, Virgil Goode is the exception, of course, but Virgil became well known as a very conservative Democrat long before he was a Republican. Our locally grown Republicans are not "cheap", they are simply unsure of how to financially support a viable candidate.
The latest VSBE report from each candidate is quite telling. Senator Reynolds raised much more cash, of course. He received many thousands of dollars from wealthy single interest groups throughout the state, even some from outside the state.
The best gauge of a candidate's effectiveness though, is local dollars raised. It's a good method of "keeping score" and a way to determine if the candidate is getting his message out to his potential constituents. On that score Jeff Evans is doing an excellent job, as evidenced by the fact that Jeff Evans' local supporters outperformed Senator Reynolds' by a margin of over two to one, or 201.35%.
Campaign contributions can indicate something else as well, the level of anxiety present in the campaign and it's party backers. During the previous reporting cycle Tim Kaine's Moving Virginia Forward PAC sent Roscoe a $20,000 check. That cycle also saw the Senate Democratic Caucus pay for "opposition research" by S&W Capitol Advisors, an Austin, Texas firm. (Which is yet to be reported as an "in-kind" contribution, by the way). The current report shows the Democratic Party of Virginia putting up the funds to pay for an extremely negative push-poll in the Henry County area. This shows that the Democratic Party is concerned that their incumbent is not up to the challenge of holding his Senate seat, and in typical Democratic Party fashion, the way to solve the problem is to throw other people's money at it.
Throwing money around won't overcome Senator Reynolds' serious shortcomings. After years of neglecting his 20th District constituents, and quite frankly, being a condescending oaf whenever he is forced to spend time with them, Roscoe Reynolds is not well liked in his district. We are not in a major TV market, and voters here know well the bias of the local newspapers, so personal contact is the single best way to get a candidate known out here. Jeff Evans excels at that aspect of campaigning, having spent every available minute attending Rotary Club breakfasts and other such events since October, and it shows in this latest report and his two-to-one fund raising advantage.