GOP Senate candidate Daniel Gade, of Virginia, took in a $2.5 million fundraising haul in the third quarter of 2020, a seven-figure improvement over earlier totals and the first time he has raised more than incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, who raised $2.2 million.
News of the campaign’s new fortunes comes with just two weeks until Election Day, and as Warner has generally outspent and outraised Gade throughout the race.
“This race is going to shock the establishment on both sides,” the Iraq War veteran said Tuesday night.
Virginia’s Senate race has cost far less than other contests with better-funded challengers.
In Arizona, the race between GOP incumbent Sen. Martha McSally and Democrat and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly has shattered state records with regular hauls in the tens of millions of dollars.
Kelly raised about $39 million in the third quarter and McSally countered with $23 million, and outside groups have spent tens of millions more.
Gade, who last week described his Virginia race as a “sleeper” campaign, said he expects the race to not only be closer than expected, but winnable.
Campaign ads favorable to Warner have cost more than $5 million so far, according to the Virginia Public Access Project – compared to $1.3 million in pro-Gade spending.
But Gade’s camp began advertising in earnest in early September, and has reported steady results ever since.
“The surge in donations is because Virginians are backing our grassroots campaign and see this is a competitive race,” Gade said. “Money’s coming in, polls are tightening and we are going to win in November.”
The Republican candidate didn’t claim his party’s nomination until the GOP primary on June 23.
Before that, Warner raised $1.8 million in the first quarter of this year, while Gade took in roughly $220,000, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
The incumbent still has an overall cash advantage -- having raised roughly 10 times as much as Gade before the third-quarter numbers were announced.