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Democratic Senate candidate Cheri Beasley (WGHP)
Democratic Senate candidate Cheri Beasley (WGHP)

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – We are seeing the cash flow into North Carolina’s races for seats in the U.S. Senate and Congress – with a promise of a lot more to come.

The quarterly election contribution filings were released Friday by the Federal Election Commission, and they showed that the hotly contested U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Republican Richard Burr has generated more than $20 million in contributions – and that doesn’t even include super PACs such as Club For Growth, which has promised to spend $14 million in support of Republican Ted Budd. That cash flows directly from the PAC and not to the campaign.

Then comes word in a report from Politico that a similar super PAC tied to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) plans to spend $141 million in Senate races across the country. That includes roughly $27 million in the race for North Carolina.

Ted Budd (Courtesy of US Congress)
Ted Budd (Courtesy of US Congress)

Politico says a similar PAC controlled by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) plans to spend $106 million in Arizona, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania. There was no mention of North Carolina.

But maybe some of that is because the presumptive Democratic nominee, former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, is doing OK on her own, having generated nearly $8.597 million overall and having $5,139,088 cash on hand that she likely can save for the General Election.

Beasley had announced earlier this month that she had taken in $3,664,881 in the first quarter of the year, which is more than the top four Republican candidates generated in total. Beasley pointed this out in a release this weekend after the GOP figures had been revealed.

Pat McCrory, then-governor of North Carolina, holds a news conference with fellow members of the Republican Governors Association at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce February 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Pat McCrory (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former Gov. Pat McCrory had the best quarter among Republicans, with $1,129,777 in contributions. 13th District Rep. Budd (R-Advance), who has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement and all that super PAC promise, generated $1,125,369. Budd has slightly more contributions overall, but McCrory reports more cash on hand.

With 10 days before early voting begins on April 28, Budd has assumed double-digit leads over McCrory in polling for the primary – Primary Election Day is May 17 – and that shows in the fundraising among the rest of the 14 Republicans on the ballot.

Mark Walker (Courtesy of US Congress)
Mark Walker (Courtesy of US Congress)

Former Rep Mark Walker of Greensboro, who on more than one occasion has declined encouragement to leave the race, is polling at about 8%. But Marjorie Eastman, a war veteran, author and political newcomer, is generating funds for a campaign that has generated even less support (1.5%-3%).

She reported $371,760 in first-quarter contributions – more than Walker’s $104,699 – but $160,000 of that was a campaign loan she guaranteed. Overall she has nearly $800,000 in contributions, about half as much as Walker.

Congressional races

All those candidates for Senate have been fundraising for months and even years, but the races for Congress in many cases have taken on new focuses because the maps for those electoral districts weren’t solidified until the state Supreme Court approved a lower-court-drawn map just before filing resumed on Feb. 24. Some candidates have changed districts, and others dropped out.

The FEC’s report shows that incumbent candidates are well-positioned to defend themselves – a few in a primary but most in the General Election – and that challengers in both parties are playing catch-up in those races. If a district is open – as in the 1st, 4th, 13th and 14th – contributions are more widely spread and, in some cases, are falling to candidates who might not have been considered among front-runners for other reasons.

Incumbents Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) in the 6th, Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) in the 5th, Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) in the 8th and Richard Hudson (R-Concord) in the 9th are well-funded for November.

Manning and her challengers

Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) (Courtesy of US House of Representatives)
Rep. Kathy Manning (Courtesy of US House of Representatives)

Manning, unchallenged in the primary as she seeks her second term, reports having taken in $367,688 in the first quarter and having $1,236,184 cash on hand. But Republicans are targeting this race this year as a potential flip because the district now includes Rockingham County (a GOP stronghold), almost all of Caswell County and less of Forsyth County (where Winston-Salem is a Democratic stronghold).

Still among the seven Republicans who have filed to challenge Manning, only Christian Castelli, who doesn’t live in the district, has generated anything close to substantial donations, reporting $204,497 in receipts and about $144,621 cash on hand. Castelli, a retired military officer and business owner who lives in Southern Pines and lists his campaign office as in Asheboro, had filed for Congress under the maps originally approved by the General Assembly. He switched districts in February, and he reported $58,475 in contributions for the quarter, although roughly a third of that ($19,000) came from a loan he personally guaranteed.

Two other GOP candidates also have loaned money to their campaigns. Mary Ann Contogiannis, a plastic surgeon from Greensboro, loaned $10,000 of the $14,740 her campaign has reported. Marvin Boguslawski, a former corporate executive from Jamestown, loaned $5,000 of the $7,825 his campaign has reported.

Lee Haywood, a small business owner and longtime Republican Party official from Summerfield, reported $27,807 in the quarter and $48,062 overall. Gerald Austin, a retired law enforcement officer from Oak Ridge, reported no donations in the quarter but $4,848 overall.

Laura Pichardo, an accountant from Pelham, and Bill Schuch, a corporate security expert from Greensboro, have not filed reports with the FEC.

Meanwhile in the 4th District

This district, which includes Alamance County and a smidgen of Caswell from the Triad, has no incumbent because Rep. David Price (D-Durham) is retiring. There are eight Democrats and two Republicans that are seeking what is considered a safe Democratic seat.

Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam is outpacing state Sen. Valerie Foushee among Democrats. Allam took in $370,008 in the quarter (and more than $676,000 overall), which was slightly better than Foushee’s $320,014/$483,090. Then there is latecomer Clay Aiken, the former “American Idol” contestant and previous candidate for Congress, who joined the race and took in $444,689 in the first quarter. He has more than $333,000 cash on hand.

The five other Democrats all trail significantly, but the Republican side is convoluted in FEC records. The two top fundraisers in the report are two men no longer on the ballot: former congressional candidate Alan Swain ($269,018 in total donations) and state Rep. John Szoka ($183,363). Both pulled out after these maps were redrawn.

That leaves newcomer Courtney Geels, a nurse from Hillsborough, who has raised $84,420 ($34,553 in the quarter), and Robert Thomas of Durham, who has taken in only $715 overall and $15 in the quarter.

Other disclosure tidbits

  • Incumbent Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) has a primary opponent in the 5th Congressional District, which includes Alleghany, Davie, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes, Yadkin and most of Forsyth County, among others, but the fundraising isn’t close. Foxx generated $295,229 in the first quarter and has nearly $2.835 million cash on hand, and Michael Ackerman of Banner Elk has taken in about $25,000, but only $707 in the first quarter. Kyle Parrish of Cary, the Democrat who will face the winner in November, has not filed an FEC report.
  • Bishop, who decided to run in some of the counties he currently represents, has generated nearly $1.322 million in the 8th District, which includes Davidson and Montgomery counties among others. His only opponent is Scott Huffman, a Democrat from Harrisburg, who has generated nearly $58,000, with $13,815 in the first quarter.
  • Because district realignment split his home county (Cabarrus) between the 12th District (where Democrat Alma Adams holds forth) and the 8th, Hudson skipped all the way east to the 9th District, which includes Randolph County. He took in $382,706 in the first quarter and has nearly $1.377 million cash in hand. None of the three Republicans challenging him – Mike Andriani of Fayetteville, Jen Bucardo of Asheboro and Francisco Rios of Charlotte – reported contributions in the first quarter. There was no FEC report in the 9th District for state Sen. Ben Clark, an NC A&T grad from Fayetteville, who is the only Democrat in the race.
  • In the high-profile race in the open 13th District, which is handicapped as a toss-up and has 13 candidates, newcomer Kelly Daughtry, an attorney from Clayton, is leading the GOP fund-raising race with more than $2.4 million, almost all of it in the first quarter ($2,266,461). That’s nearly $1.5 million more than another Republican newcomer, Bo Hines of Winston-Salem, who has been looking for a district and has the endorsements of Trump and controversial Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville). Hines, a native of Gaston County, has generated nearly $940,000 but has only $189,261 cash on hand (compared to Daughtry’s $1.164 million). Kent Keirsey, a former Army officer and business owner from Chapel Hill, has done better, with $602,457 in donations and $479,923 cash on hand, and pastor Chad Slotta of Cary has taken in $396,946 and has $335,064 cash on hand. A surprise: Former Rep. Renee Ellmers has reported only $20,698 in donations, about half of it in the first quarter.
  • Cawthorn, facing a significant challenge in the 11th District, has generated nearly $3.545 million, including $658,744 in the first quarter, when he was hit with various controversies because of volatile comments, traffic stops and an impending divorce. But he has only $242,304 cash on hand, which is less than Republicans Bruce O’Connell and Chuck Edwards and Democrat Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who are challenging him in the 15-person field.
  • Tobias LaGrone, a minister and therapist from Greensboro, is among the 11 Democrats in that U.S. Senate race. He has taken in $6,706 and has about $2,186 cash on hand. Kenneth Harper Jr. of Archdale has taken in $25,192, fifth among Republicans, and Charles Kenneth Moss of Randleman, who is on the GOP ballot, did not have an FEC filing.

The candidates

US Senate

Democrats (11): Greg Antoine of Fayetteville, Cheri Beasley of Raleigh, Chrelle Booker of Tryon, James L. Carr Jr. of Harrisburg, Robert Colon of Wilmington, Alyssia Rose-Katherine Hammond of Raleigh, Lov Johnson of Charlotte, Tobias LaGrone of Greensboro, B.K. Maginnis of Charlotte, Rett Newton of Beaufort and Marcus Williams of Lumberton.

Republicans (14): Jen Banwart of Fuquay Varina, Lee Brian of Clayton, Leonard Bryant of Fayetteville, Drew Bulecza of Lincolnton, Ted Budd of Advance, Marjorie Eastman of Cary, David Flaherty of Cameron, Benjamin Griffiths of Cleveland, Kenneth Harper Jr. of Archdale, Pat McCrory of Charlotte, Charles Kenneth Moss of Randleman, Lichia Sibhatu of Raleigh, Debora Tshiovo of Moravian Falls and Mark Walker of Greensboro

Libertarian: Shannon Bray of Apex

US House

4th District (Alamance, along with Orange, Durham, Granville and a speck of Person counties): It’s an open seat following the retirement of David Price (D-Durham). State Sen. Valerie Foushee of Hillsborough, Ashley Ward and Crystal Cavalier of Mebane and Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, Stephen Valentine and Richard Watkins of Durham, Clay Aiken of Durham and Matt Grooms of Butner are seeking the Democratic nomination. Courtney Geels and Robert Thomas of Durham are seeking the GOP nomination. Political lean: Democrat

5th District (Stokes, Surry, Davie, Yadkin, Wilkes, Alleghany and most of Forsyth counties et al): Incumbent Ted Budd (R-Advance) is running for the Senate. Incumbent Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) is being challenged by Michael Ackerman of Banner Elk for the GOP nomination. Kyle Parrish of Cary is seeking the Democratic nomination. Political lean: Republican

6th District (Guilford, Rockingham and most of Caswell and some of Forsyth counties): Incumbent Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) has filed. Republicans Bill Schuch and Mary Ann Contogiannis of Greensboro, Laura Pichardo of Pelham, Gerry Austin and Lee Haywood of Summerfield, Marvin Boguslawski of Jamestown, Christian Castelli of Asheboro are seeking nomination. Thomas Watercott of Greensboro is a Libertarian candidate. Political lean: Democrat

8th District (Davidson, Montgomery counties et al): There is no incumbent. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) is running in this district. Scott Huffman of Harrisburg has filed for the Democrat nomination. Political lean: Republican

9th District (Randolph County et al): There is no incumbent. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Concord) is running here, challenged for the nomination by Mike Andriani of Fayetteville, Jen Bucardo of Asheboro and Francisco Rios of Charlotte. State Sen. Ben Clark of Raeford has filed on the Democratic side. Political lean: Republican

Non-Triad districts

1st District: Incumbent G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) is retiring, and incumbent Greg Murphy (R-Greenville) is running in the 3rd District. Democrats in the field are Jullian Bishop Sr. of Garner, Don Davis of Snow Hill, Erica Smith of Gaston and Jason Albert Spriggs of Henderson. Republican candidates are Will Aiken of Warrenton, Brad Murphy of Macon, Ernest Reeves of Greenville, Brent Roberson of Williamston, Sandy Roberson and Sandy Smith of Rocky Mount, Billy Strickland of Wilson and Henry Williams II of Greenville. Political lean: Democrat

2nd District: Rep. Deborah Ross (D-Raleigh) is seeking re-election. Max Ganorkar of Pittsboro, Adina Safta of Raleigh and Christine Villaverde of Fuquay-Varina are vying for the Republican nomination. Political lean: Democrat

3rd District: There is no incumbent. Republican Greg Murphy of Greenville, who switched districts, is being challenged by Tony Cowden of Harrells, Eric Earhart of Eure, Brian Friend of Wilmington and George Papastrat of Richlands. Democrats are Barbara Gaskins of Greenville and Joe Swartz of Swansboro. Political lean: Republican

7th District: Incumbent is David Rouzer (R-Wilmington). He is being challenged by Max Southworth-Beckwith of Currie. Democrats in the field are Charles Evans of Fayetteville, Charles Graham of Lumberton, Yushonda Midgette of Winnabow and Steve Miller of Wilmington. Political lean: Republican

10th District: Republican incumbent Patrick McHenry (R-Statesville) is being challenged by Jeff Gregory of Shelby, Michael Magnotta of Morganton, Gary Robinson of Statesville and Richard Speer of Lincolnton. Democrats in the field are Michael Felder of Arden and Pam Genant of Valdese.  Political lean: Republican

11th District: Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Hendersonville) is facing a challenge from Matthew Burril of Fletcher, Chuck Edwards of Flat Rock, Rod Honeycutt of Alexander, Wendy Nevarez of Asheville, Bruce O’Connell of Candler, Kristie Sluder of Weaverville and Michele Woodhouse of Hendersonville. Democrats Jay Carey of Hendersonville, Katie Dean of Swannanoa, Bo Hess of Asheville, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of Asheville, Marco Gutierrez of Clyde and Bynum Lunsford of Mars Hill are in the field. Libertarian David Coatney of Fletcher is running, too. Political lean: Republican

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12th District: Incumbent Democrat Alma Adams (D-Charlotte) has filed and is being challenged in the primary by John Sharkey of Charlotte. Republican candidates are Andrew Huffman of Concord, Nalini Joseph of Salisbury and Tyler Lee of Charlotte. Political lean: Democrat

13th District: There is no incumbent. Democrats in the race are Jamie Campbell Bowles of Salemburg, Nathan Click of Morrisville, Denton Lee of Clayton, Wiley Nickel of Cary and Sam Searcy of Holly Springs. Republicans who have filed are DeVan Barbour of Benson, Kelly Daughtry of Clayton, Renee Ellmers of Dunn, Bo Hines of Winston-Salem, Kent Keirsey of Chapel Hill, Jessica Morel of Fayetteville, Chad Slotta of Holly Springs and Kevin Alan Wolff of Apex. Political lean: Toss-up

14th District: State Sen. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte and Ram Mammadov of Pineville are the Democrats in the field. Pat Harrigan of Catawba and Jonathan Simpson of Charlotte are in the Republican field. Political lean: Democrat