GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – The dollars keep rolling in at a faster rate than the votes.
Early votes in North Carolina – both in-person and by mail – were to have surpassed 1 million statewide on Friday – and maybe 4 million will be before all are counted – but that’s a far cry less than the millions of dollars that the candidates for the U.S. Senate and House have raked in just since Oct. 1.
Candidates were required to file their final, 2-weeks-before-election-day reports with the Federal Elections Commission. What those reports, released mostly on Thursday, showed was that Democrat Cheri Beasley had another $4.9 million in her bank account, and Republican Ted Budd had added just less than $1.5 million.
Beasley, a former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and Budd, a gun-shop owner from Advance who has represented the 13th Congressional District since 2016, have reported almost $47 million in donations in their ever-so-tight race to replace retiring Republican Richard Burr.
And based on their filings, Beasley has more than $3 million to spend on her campaign, and Budd has nearly $1.2 million. Except for 48-hour updates required to note individual donors, these are the last reports before Nov. 8, when the General Election will be held.
Both also are supported by super political action committees, whose larger investments in ad buys are not part of this report.
Libertarian Shannon Bray, a Department of Defense employee from Apex, and Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh, a retired State Department employee from Wake Forest, also are on the ballot. Bray has not filed an FEC report, and Hoh showed about $160,000 in total contributions, including nearly $16,000 since the end of the second quarter.
“Twelve days before the election, it’s clear that no amount of bad-faith campaigning and cozying up to special interests can hide the fact that Congressman Budd is a wildly out-of-step, corrupt, and extremist politician who has lost the support of North Carolinians,” Travis Brimm, campaign manager for Beasley, said in a statement released by the campaign. “We’ll continue spending the next 12 days working to meet voters where they are, get out the vote, and remind North Carolinians all across the state of Congressman Budd’s dangerous record of rewriting the rules to help himself and his corporate donors at our expense.”
Budd’s campaign did not make a formal release about its report.
“Voters care about who is going to stop skyrocketing inflation and violent crime, not FEC reports. Cheri Beasley has been soft on crime and has embraced Joe Biden's bad economic policies, and that’s why Ted Budd wins on Election Day,” Jonathan Felts, Budd’s senior adviser, told WGHP in an email.
House candidates raise cash
Meanwhile, the cash is not only flowing to candidates for Senate. Those running for Congress – even those in races with only minimal opposition, continue to get strong financial support.
In the 4th Congressional District, which includes Alamance County, Republican Courtney Geels, a newcomer from Durham, has raised more money in October than her Democratic opponent, state Sen. Valerie Foushee, in their race to replace retiring Rep. David Price (D-Durham).
Geels raised $61,663 to Foushee’s $57,475 since Oct. 1, but Foushee has a near 3-to-1 overall donation edge and, with $170,447 cash on hand, about twice as much as Geels left to spend.
Meanwhile, in the 6th District, incumbent Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) added $152,528, and in the 5th District, incumbent Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) added $102,865.
Manning, seeking a second term, now has raised more than $2.9 million and has more than $800,000 on hand in her race against Republican Christian Castelli of Southern Pines and Libertarian Thomas Walcott of Greensboro.
Castelli added more than $72,000 and has about $79,000 cash on hand. Walcott has yet to file a financial report.
Foxx, who is seeking her 10th term in the House, has more than $2.6 million on hand after having raised more than $2 million in this cycle.
Including Foxx, there are three other districts serving the Piedmont Triad that are represented by Republican incumbents with strong fundraising leads:
- 5th District: Foxx’s opponent, Democrat Kyle Parrish, added only $1,860 and has about $10,000 on hand.
- 8th District: Scott Huffman, the Democrat challenging incumbent Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte), added only $3,913 and has $13,082 on hand. Bishop, meanwhile, added about $31,000 and has more than $1.2 million on hand.
- 9th District: Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Moore County) added just less than $1 million, has raised nearly $3 million and has more than $1.5 million on hand in his race against state Sen. Ben Clark, who added $2,847 and has about $3,000 to spend.
In-person voting began on Oct. 20, and the daily rates have trended higher than 2018, when about 53% of registered voters turned out. The 1 millionth vote was anticipated to be cast on Friday.
Of the more than 925,000 that had been recorded as of Friday morning, 39.4% were by registered Democrats, 31.2% by Republicans and 29% but those registered as unaffiliated.
A sampling from the Triad showed nearly 43,000 votes in Guilford County, more than 34,500 in Forsyth County, nearly 12,000 in Randolph County and nearly 9,000 in Rockingham County.