POLITICS
05/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

McAuliffe Pulls In Big Dough With Help From Hollywood, Clintons And The Donald

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Virginia gubernatorial hopeful and long-time Democratic hand Terry McAuliffe vastly out-raised his primary opponents during the most recently completed fundraising period, pulling in more than four times the amount of his two main competitors.

The more than $4.2 million in contributions should help the former DNC chair finance a broad range of measures to ingratiate himself to citizens of the commonwealth. And aides to McAuliffe note that it makes him uniquely well positioned in a general election format.

"Terry's fundraising this quarter shows that he is the only Democratic candidate with the broad base of support both in Virginia and nationally to compete with [GOP candidate] Bob McDonnell's formidable resources," said spokesperson Elisabeth Smith.

But the gangbuster fundraising effort doesn't come without a cost. Many of the major donors backing McAuliffe's candidacy are big names from the world of Democratic politics, Hollywood, finance and the influential circles surrounding the Clintons -- giving fodder to critics to paint him as a Virginia outsider trying to buy his way into the governor's chair. Among the famous names opening up their wallets include:

$251,000 from Haim Saban - the longtime Clinton backer and media proprietor

$250,000 from Stephen Bing - the major film producer and progressive donor

$100,000 from Robert L. Johnson - founder of BET and another major Clinton backer (Johnson famously alluded to Barack Obama's drug use during the Democratic primary)

$100,000 from Hani Masri - a Palestinian-American businessman and another Clinton confidante

$25,000 from Donald Trump - the Donald

$10,000 from Bill Clinton - the former president

$10,000 from Hassan Nemazee - the multimillionaire Iranian-American investment banker and Clinton confidant

$5,000 from Douglas Band - Bill Clinton's close aide

To be sure, more than half the donations made to the McAuliffe campaign during the past fundraising quarter were under $100 (though those donations constituted only a small portion of the total amount of money raised). And with the national GOP targeting the Virginia governor's chair as a prime state-level pickup, McAuliffe's fundraising effort could -- should he win the nomination -- end up being more of an asset than a liability.

"The national Republican Party has kept its promises to throw the kitchen sink into the Virginia gubernatorial race- contributing over $1 million to McDonnell this quarter and bringing in national Republicans like John McCain and Sarah Palin to fundraise," said Smith. "Terry is the only Democrat who can compete with the Republicans' fundraising and build the statewide grassroots operation that we will need to hold the Governorship and win back the House of Delegates in November."

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