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Cockburn leads Riggleman in fundraising for Fifth District Congressional race

Riggleman was nominated only five months before the election, putting him at a disadvantage

While both candidates have raised over $200,000 since Riggleman was nominated, Cockburn has raised a lesser share from non-individual donors.
While both candidates have raised over $200,000 since Riggleman was nominated, Cockburn has raised a lesser share from non-individual donors.

Democratic candidate for the Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District Leslie Cockburn has raised over $1 million for her campaign since she declared her candidacy last July, according to federal campaign finance reports filed this week. Her Republican opponent, veteran and businessman Denver Riggleman, has raised over $200,000 — though he only was nominated in a party convention early last month.

Even adjusting for Riggleman’s late nomination, Cockburn — who raised $295,000 between June 4 and June 30 — has a slight fundraising edge, though Sabato’s Crystal Ball Associate Editor Geoffrey Skelley says it may not make a significant difference. 

“Leslie Cockburn had a good fundraising quarter and is in a position to make VA-05 quite competitive despite its Republican lean,” Skelley said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “However, the good news for the GOP is that Denver Riggleman put together a solid one month of fundraising. If he can keep that up going forward, he will avoid facing much of a resource deficit in the contest. VA-05 remains a Leans Republican race.”

Election analysts frequently look to campaign finance reports to predict election results. Before incumbent Republican Tom Garrett announced his retirement in May, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said the race against a then-unnamed Democratic challenger was only “lean” Republican, in part because Garrett had just $142,000 in campaign cash on hand. 

On the reporting deadline of June 30, Riggleman had nearly $208,000 on hand, while Cockburn had over twice that — approximately $482,000.

While only 6 percent of Cockburn’s receipts were composed of political action committees in the last reporting period — April 1 through June 30 — over 25 percent of Riggleman’s contributions were given by PACs.

Riggleman’s largest non-individual donors include the House Freedom Fund — a PAC supporting potential members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — Koch Industries’ PAC and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Prosperity Action PAC. For Cockburn, who pledged to reject all corporate PAC money, her campaign’s non-individual donors include the Congressional Progressive Caucus and EMILY’s List, a group dedicated to helping women run for office. 


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