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After years of bipartisan giving, Dominion Energy leans into Democratic control

Dominion Energy office on Hydraulic Road in Charlottesville
Dominion Energy office on Hydraulic Road in Charlottesville(WVIR)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 3:26 PM EDT
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Dominion Energy’s political giving in Virginia has surged into the millions this year, and Democrats are the biggest beneficiaries, with donations totaling more than $1.8 million so far this cycle, according to campaign finance records compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project.

Republicans, meanwhile, have received just over $1 million from the influential electric utility, the records show.

The figures represent a substantial increase over past donations — which for two decades have typically hovered in the $300,000-per-year range — and a break from the company’s old approach of generally giving similar amounts of money to Republicans and Democrats, especially in gubernatorial election years.

The shift comes even as the vast majority of Democrats running for office this year have pledged to reject Dominion’s donations, prompting the company to go to lengths to direct money to candidates who have publicly said they would not solicit or accept the energy utility’s contributions.

The most high-profile example came last week, when campaign finance disclosures showed Dominion contributed at least $250,000 to a PAC supporting Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, who said earlier this year that he wouldn’t take the company’s contributions. The donation triggered a vocal backlash from Republicans upon learning it was used in an effort to suppress GOP turnout in rural areas by running ads questioning Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin’s support of gun rights.

Unless the company changes course in the final days of the race, this will be the first gubernatorial election since at least 1997 that the utility won’t have made substantial contributions to both major party candidates for governor, according to records compiled by VPAP.

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.(Virginia Mercury)

The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.

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