RALEIGH, N.N. (WNCN) – Both Republicans and Democrats see an opportunity.
North Carolina’s 13th congressional district is anyone’s game.
Albeit a costly one.
The quarterly financials tell two different stories and strategies.
State Senator and Democrat Wiley Nickel outraised newcomer and Republican Bo Hines.
Hines’ campaign received $196,726 in contributions while Nickel’s campaign received $291,136.
The amount does not include any campaign loans. Nickel’s campaign also has five times the amount of cash on hand, with $510,440 compared to $103,349.
“We’re not going to be outworked and the way we’re going to win this race is by talking to voters every day at the grassroots level and that’s what we’ve done,” Nickel said.
But Mitch Kokai with the conservative John Locke Foundation doesn’t read too much into it.
“I don’t think that we can look at this report and say Democrats are much more interested in this seat than Republicans and I don’t think we can look at this report and say ‘ahhh, huge fundraising edge for Wiley Nickel at this point so he really is in the driver’s seat.,'” Kokai said. “I think this is just another signal that the fundraising totals that are in the bank for the particular campaigns don’t tell the whole story. You have to look beyond that and see what sort of outside groups are also interested in these campaigns.”
Outside interest groups, like Club for Growth, can make up the difference.
But, good luck following that money trail.
“For folks who are interested in following the money very closely and in as much real-time as possible that can be frustrating to them, that you don’t know as clearly as you do from the campaign figures themselves how much money is flowing in from outside groups,” Kokai said.
But Nickel believes local support can translate into votes.
“There’s a lot of out-of-state money supporting Bo Hines and we’ve got folks here in North Carolina in this community that are excited about this campaign.”
The Hines campaign points to how much money it raised to win the primary and points out personal loans made to the Nickel campaign.
“The numbers don’t lie. Not only did Bo Hines out-raise out-of-touch Wiley Nickel, but he also came through a contentious primary. Wiley might point at his cash-on-hand number and call it momentum, but the reality is that the majority of it is a personal loan. Voters and donors know that Wiley Nickel is too much of a leftist extremist in order to effectively represent our North Carolinian values,” said Rob Burgess, senior advisor for Bo Hines for Congress.
Hines also made personal loans to his campaign.
“The contrast we saw, we’ve got an opponent who’s running to put Donald Trump first. You know that’s what I think you saw in the numbers where we had a tremendous amount of local support,” said Nickel.