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Virginia Developers Spending Big Money On Governor's Race

Virginia will elect a new governor Tuesday to replace the outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and many of the commonwealth's most well-known real estate developers are dishing out big bucks to support their preferred candidate. 

Ed Gillespie Ralph Northam
The Virginia gubernatorial candidates, Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam

The race between Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam has been a contentious one, with millions of dollars spent on advertising. Northam has led in the polls through much of the campaign, but the race has tightened in recent weeks, with the Democrat now holding a 3.6 percentage point lead, according to Real Clear Politics' polling average

Northam has served as Virginia's lieutenant governor since 2014. Born in Nassawadox, Virginia, he is a U.S. Army veteran and has spent much of his career working as a physician.

Gillespie, born in New Jersey, is the former head of the Republican National Committee. He served in George W. Bush's White House and worked on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. He has spent much of his career as a lobbyist, founding the lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates in 2000.

Dozens of Virginia real estate developers have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to both campaigns. Bisnow took a look at campaign finance filings, through the Virginia Public Access Project, to see who some of the region's top developers support. 

Milt Peterson
Milt Peterson and Jon Peterson

Gillespie Supporters: 

Milt and Jon Peterson: The principals of one of the region's largest development companies, Peterson Cos., Milt and Jon Peterson have collectively given over $100K to Gillespie. Each one gave the Republican a $50K contribution on June 1 and then Milt Peterson gave another $5,602 in July. Peterson has a massive development pipeline in Loudoun County, where it is working on mixed-use projects at Commonwealth Center, Avonlea and Compass Creek. The company is headquartered in Fairfax County.

Edward St. John: The chairman and founder of St. John Properties, Edward St. John contributed $50K to Gillespie's campaign in February. Most of the Baltimore-based company's major projects are in Maryland, but it does own four properties in Loudoun County. 

Hilton Worldwide: While many of the real estate industry contributors made personal donations, McLean-based Hilton Worldwide as a company gave over $30K to Gillespie. 

Steven Johnson: The founder and president of Bristol-based Johnson Commercial Development contributed $25K to Gillespie's campaign. 

Robert Pence: The head of the Pence Group, a Reston-based developer with properties in Reston, Sterling, Stafford and Chantilly, Robert Pence contributed $25K to Gillespie. 

Chris Roth: The president of Trammell Crow's eastern U.S. operations gave $25K to Gillespie in June. 

W. Taylor Franklin: The co-founder and chief operating officer of The Franklin Johnston Group, a Virginia Beach-based development company with projects throughout the state, W. Taylor Franklin has contributed $20,500 to Gillespie.

Theodore Georgelas: The CEO of Georgelas Group, a McLean-based developer with several properties in Fairfax County and Tyson, Theodore Georgelas has given $20K to Gillespie over the last two years. 

Bill Marriott: The executive chairman of Bethesda-based hospitality giant Marriott International, who is currently being sued by his son, contributed $5K to Gillespie's campaign. 

Monday Properties Tim Helming
Monday Properties President Tim Helmig at Bisnow's State of Arlington and Alexandria event in December

Northam Supporters: 

Weinstein Properties leadership: The Glen Allen-based property manager Weinstein Properties has several commercial and retail holdings in the Richmond area. Four of its executives, Marcus Weinstein, Allison Weinstein, Carole Weinstein and Ivan Jecklin, have personally contributed a total of $85K to Northam's campaign. 

Barbara Fried: The head of Fried Cos., a Crozet-based development company that has completed several projects in Fairfax and Loudon counties, Barbara Fried has contributed $51K to Northam's campaign. 

Albert Dwoskin: The founder and CEO of A.J. Dwoskin & Associates, a Fairfax-based development and management company with properties throughout Northern Virginia, Albert Dwoskin has given roughly $22,500 to Northam's campaign for governor, and gave more than $10K to his 2013 campaign for lieutenant governor. 

Frank "Buddy" Gadams: The founder of Norfolk-based Marathon Development Group has contributed $32K to Northam's campaign. 

Armada Hoffler Properties: The Virginia Beach-based development company with more than three dozen properties throughout the region has contributed $30K to Northam's gubernatorial campaign. 

Hunter Craig: The president of Charlottesville-based Hunter E. Craig Co. has contributed $25K to Northam's campaign. 

Timothy Helmig: The managing partner of Rosslyn-based Monday Properties, Timothy Helmig personally gave $17,756 to Northam's campaign. Monday Properties is one of the dominant office landlords in Rosslyn and earlier this year landed Nestlé to move its U.S. HQ to 1812 North Moore, occupying more than 250K SF. Helmig worked with Gov. Terry McAuliffe to lure the company, and Virginia gave $10M in economic incentives to Nestlé. 

Richard Hausler: The co-founder and CEO of Insight Property Group, Richard Hausler has given $12,500 to Northam's gubernatorial campaign. Based in Arlington, Insight has multifamily properties in Fairfax County, Stafford County, Alexandria, Falls Church, Arlington and Woodbridge.