Soros's New PAC Drops $625,000 on Virginia Democrats Ahead of Pivotal Elections

Millions in out-of-state money floods Virginia

George Soros / Getty Images
October 23, 2019

A new political action committee launched by liberal billionaire George Soros has donated $625,000 to the campaigns of more than a dozen statewide Democrats in Virginia ahead of next month's elections, according to recent campaign finance reports.

The Democracy PAC donated to 16 Democratic incumbents and new candidates last month. The donations ranged from $25,000 to $75,000 per campaign, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Six of the campaigns are for the state Senate and nine of the races for the House of Delegates.

This flood of money, from Soros and others, reflects what is widely perceived as a bellwether election for Democrats eager to retake power nationwide in 2020. Republicans currently hold a one-seat advantage in the state's 40-seat Senate and a 3-seat majority in its 100-member House of Delegates.

Del. Cheryl Turpin, who is running for reelection, is one of the four Democrats who received a $75,000 donation from Soros's PAC. Last month, she took to Twitter to urge her followers to pitch in to help her campaign keep its "grassroots momentum going."

While Turpin does have hundreds of donations under $100, her campaign has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from liberal special interest groups and billionaires outside of Virginia. Records show that Turpin's campaign has received $125,000 from Michael Bills, the founder of the Charlottesville-based investment firm Bluestem Asset Management LLC, and his wife; $58,850 from 314 Action, a liberal dark money group; $25,000 from The Way Ahead PAC of disgraced Governor Ralph Northam (D.); $23,740 from Priorities USA Action, a liberal super PAC; and $14,302 from NextGen Climate Action, the environmental group founded by Democratic presidential candidate and billionaire Tom Steyer, who also donated $10,000 to Turpin's campaign.

Soros's PAC was established in early January to serve as a major supporter of the eventual Democratic presidential nominee. The billionaire, who told the Washington Post last year he didn't want to divide the Democrat Party by meddling in the primaries, has deposited $5.1 million into the PAC as of June 30, according to its semi-annual filings.

Democracy PAC is not the only group Soros has funded this year in Virginia. Earlier this year, he poured over $1 million into his Justice & Public Safety PAC,  which funds local races across the country with the goal of making the criminal justice system more progressive. Soros's money was then pushed into the coffers of local Virginia prosecutor races to prop up liberal candidates during their primaries. Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, a candidate for Arlington County commonwealth's attorney, received over $618,000; Steve Descano, a Fairfax County commonwealth's attorney candidate, received over $462,000. Both candidates won their primaries.

Soros is not the only out-of-state billionaire betting big in Virginia statewide races. Donald Sussman, a billionaire hedge-fund manager, donated $100,000 to Win Virginia PAC, which is aimed at helping Democrats minimize Republican control in Virginia's House of Delegates and Senate. The PAC has donated over $872,000 to Democrats in 2019. Jim Simons, the chairman of a Manhattan hedge fund and a multibillionaire, made a single donation of $150,000 to the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus on Oct. 11, making him one of their top individual donors this cycle. The caucus has given over $1.5 million to Democrats in 2019 alone.

NextGen America, the nonprofit founded by Steyer, also spent $1 million in Virginia to register a minimum of 12,000 young voters. Steyer personally invested $110,000 from his own funds for these efforts, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Outside liberal groups are also flooding Virginia Democrats with cash. Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the nation's largest gun control groups, announced that it was launching a $550,000 digital ad buy targeting 15 Republican-held House and Senate districts across the state.

Planned Parenthood Virginia, another major player across the state during this cycle, is also receiving Soros funding. Aside from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund donating $507,500 to Planned Parenthood Virginia's committee, the only other six-figure donation to PPV is from Soros's PAC, which donated $350,000 last month. Planned Parenthood Virginia has in turn donated over $445,000 to Democrats so far this cycle.

Virginia's statewide elections will be held on Nov. 5.