Oliver North was a very controversial figure as he was involved in the Iran-Contra Affair, a scandal during Ronald Reagan's presidency. Marshall Coleman attempted to seize the middle ground between Robb and North. Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia endorsed Marshall Coleman. On the eve of the election, former first lady Nancy Reagan told a reporter that North had lied to her husband when discussing Iran-Contra with the former president, effectively eviscerating him. North's candidacy was documented in the 1996 film A Perfect Candidate.
In his failed bid to unseat Robb, North raised $20.3 million in a single year through nationwide direct mail solicitations, telemarketing, fundraising events, and contributions from major donors. About $16 million of that amount was from direct mail alone. This was the biggest accumulation of direct mail funds for a statewide campaign to that date, and it made North the top direct mail political fundraiser in the country in 1994.
Douglas Wilder, the first black Governor of Virginia, who served from 1990-1994, originally entered the Senate race as an independent before dropping out.