GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Virginia Foxx and Kathy Manning have said they are running. Dan Bishop might be. Christian Castelli acts like he is.
Even though members of Congress representing North Carolina don’t have any idea what their electoral districts might look like in 2024, candidates are asserting themselves and – perhaps a bigger indicator – raising money like they intend to be on the ballot.
You may recall that Foxx, the Republican from Banner Elk who represents the 5th District, announced in June on the eve of the North Carolina Republican Convention that, at age 79, she would seek a 10th term.
In an interview with WGHP in June, Manning, a Democrat from Greensboro serving her second term in the 6th District, said she is “planning to run no matter what” about the uncertain shape of her district in the next cycle.
That uncertainty is because of what is expected to happen in the NC General Assembly. The NC Supreme Court in April threw out a previous ruling by the court that said partisan gerrymandering was unconstitutional and gave lawmakers carte blanche to redraw those used in the 2022 election.
Because Republicans control both chambers of the NCGA and Gov. Roy Cooper has no veto power over electoral maps – as if a veto matters any longer – legislators are expected to have a special session sometime this fall to reconfigure the districts in a way that will alter the balance of the state’s current 7-7 congressional split between the parties.
Anderson Clayton, the chair of the state Democratic party, said last week that “I bet they’ve already got those maps drawn and could release them any day. … They should just give us those maps now.”
Alas, the waiting game continues, but that means that those in office and interested in running can raise money – and some of them already are.
Reports filed as of July 14 with the Federal Election Commission show us a couple of interesting things:
Foxx has two Democrats who are planning to challenge her – Clayton said she was planning that effort – and Republican Christian Castelli is keeping his powder dry to run against Manning, as he did in 2022.
Then there is Dan Bishop, the ultra-conservative Republican who represents the 8th District. He is thought to be considering leaving Congress and running for state attorney general. But he also still is raising money.
5th District race
In the 5th District, Kyle Parrish, the Democrat whom Foxx trounced in 2022, continues to have a campaign committee and file reports, albeit with $4,519 on hand – and owing $10,500 – against the $2.695 million that Foxx has available.
But the emerging news in this race is that Chuck Hubbard of Wilkesboro, a former newspaper publisher who lost a run against Republican Jeffrey Elmore for House District 94 in 2022, has formed a committee to run in the 5th District. Although he has made no formal announcement and has no apparent website, he does have a reference on Ballotpedia, and he has loaned his campaign about $10,000 to get going.
In the 6th District
Castelli, a retired military officer and business owner who lives in Southern Pines, lost decisively to Manning last year, getting 44.85% of the vote, but he surely expects the 6th District to become more competitive next time around.
Before the courts intervened and, ultimately, brought in special masters to draw the 2022 congressional maps, the General Assembly had split Guilford County among three congressional districts and “double-bunked” Manning’s residence in a far-flung district that strung across to Caldwell County and included drops of Catawba County where Foxx lives.
Castelli, whose spokesperson hinted late last year that he could be remaining as a candidate, has become increasingly active on social media to challenge Manning’s connections to President Joe Biden and speak traditional GOP positions.
“House Democrats, including my opponent, are protecting the Bidens,” he posted last week on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. “I will be a vote for government accountability and equal justice,”
An even bigger indication of that intent may be the fact that in the last quarter Castelli took in $50,680 in donations and has about $36,123 on hand.
That is far shy of Manning, who took in $71,736 in the quarter and has $583,024 on hand. She also benefitted from nearly $100,000 in contributions from PACs representing teachers’ unions and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The financial reports
From the FEC filings, we know one thing for sure: Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Southern Pines), who represents the 9th District and is a conservative committee chair in the House, has been beating everyone in the fundraising category.
Hudson’s campaign has about $1,893,910 on hand after taking in about $362,002 in the most recent quarter. But more impressive is the $513,700 in contributions from political action committees he has received this year.
About $150,000 of that came from his own PAC, but he also had more than 200 committee donations from companies such as Duke Energy, Reynolds American, Toyota North American, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Walmart, Amazon, Pfizer and Quest Diagnostics. Altria Group, a smoking products PAC, gave him $5,000.
The filings with the FEC also revealed:
- Valerie Foushee of Durham, the rookie Democrat representing the 4th District, took in about $64,294 in the quarter and has more than $109,000 on hand. She, like fellow rookie Democrats Wiley Nickel (D-Cary), Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) and Don Davis (D-Snow Hill), has received several donations from Pelosi’s committee and from her PAC To The Future, which supports young and emerging Democrats.
- Bishop, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, took in $71,736 in the quarter and has more than $1.4 million on hand. This includes about $31,000 in PAC contributions, with donations directly from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and his House Freedom Fund super PAC. He also received $5,000 from the Back To Work super PAC of Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida).
- Foxx’s $223,544 in PAC donations included numerous familiar names, such as United Health, Abbott, Target, Boeing, UPS, Walmart, Home Depot, John Deer, Tractor Supply and Best Buy.