Manassas Journal Messenger | Colgan, Mabie turn to top officials in fund-raising efforts

The fund-raising power of Virginia’s top elected officials will play a major part in the 29th Senate race between Sen. Charles J. Colgan and Dave C. Mabie.

Gov. Mark R. Warner attended a Colgan fund-raiser at the Foxchase Manor in the Manassas area on Thursday, where more than 200 people sampled foods from area restaurants and listened to speeches cheering on Colgan.

Attorney General Jerry Kilgore will attend a fund-raiser for Mabie at the Juniper Hall mansion in Haymarket in early September, with tickets from $100 to $1,500. Mabie made that announcement at a Monday breakfast fund-raiser with guest Senate Majority Leader Walter A. Stosch, R-12th District.

Colgan will host his second annual golf tournament at Heritage Hunt Golf Club in late September, with tickets from $100 to $3,500.

Colgan said he did not know how much his Thursday event raised, but two months ago Warner attended one that brought in $75,000 for Sen. Linda T. “Toddy” Puller, D-36th District.

Neither side is giving estimates for the race, but both appear ready to spend whatever it takes to win.

“This is clearly a race that is very important to the governor. I think the governor will do anything Sen. Colgan wants him to do,” said Mame Reiley, director of Warner’s political action committee.

“The Colgan race is a top priority for us,” said Virginia Republican Party spokesman Shawn Smith.

As of June 30, Colgan had $50,850 in the bank. Mabie had only $3,269 after spending $12,044 to defeat Bob FitzSimmonds in a May convention by 12 votes out of more than 800 cast.

Colgan, 76, has the most seniority of any state senator with 28 years in office. He is good friends with Mabie, a factor that led Mabie to delay his decision to seek the Republican nomination until late last year.

Mabie on Monday promised five terms, 20 years of service, and said he is in the race to win. “It is now or never because I cannot go back to another convention where I promised I would win.”

Republicans do not dispute Colgan’s contributions to Prince William and Manassas, but the “issue is whether they desire to have someone in the majority party. By having served myself in the minority, I know it’s harder to get things done,” Stosch said.

Colgan questioned that: “You can’t be the number one in seniority and not be more effective than a freshman. That’s just not going to happen.”

Warner played up the partnership of Colgan and Delegate Harry J. Parrish, R-50th District. Parrish attended Colgan’s fund-raiser but said he was out of town Monday for Mabie’s breakfast.

“This is a team,” Warner said of Colgan and Parrish. “There is no other jurisdiction in the state, 135 communities, that has this experience and know-how.”

Mabie made roads the issue at his breakfast. Holding a sign that read “Fix our roads,” he said he holds it up along major routes and gets honks from drivers stuck in traffic. He said he would do anything, even raise taxes if it came to that, to widen roads like Va. 28 and Interstate 66 and fix the I-66/U.S. 29 interchange.

“I am not going to let our people strangle in this traffic while we do absolutely nothing about it,” he said. “I will do anything.”

Such an openness goes against Republicans in Richmond, Warner said.

“The debate in the commonwealth has ended up deteriorating into who can simply say ‘No’ the loudest,” Warner said. “Not an exchange of good ideas, not an exchange of where we want to get to … Chuck Colgan has never been a man that’s been about no. He’s been a man about how we solve the problems.”

Republicans have dared Warner to release his tax restructuring plan before November, saying he will use it to raise taxes, but Warner has said the partisan posturing is not helping the debate.

Colgan said his record shows he can deliver: $175 million to widen Va. 234 and beginning this year a $40-million widening of I-66.

“Others will tell you what they’ll do, we can tell you what we’ve done and we’ll continue to do,” Colgan said.

For Democrats, Reiley said Warner’s political action committee has contributed $200,000 to state races so far. In the spring he held a fund-raiser in Tysons Corner that brought in $1 million. She says around 24 races are now being targeted and that number will go down to 10 as November approaches.

“He’s really taking a close look at the races and putting money where it will really help,” she said.

Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.

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