RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Despite President Joe Biden’s approval ratings sinking, Democrats in some key races in North Carolina reported significant fundraising advantages in the most recent quarter.
In the U.S. Senate race, Democrat Cheri Beasley reported raising about $7.4 million between April and June compared to $2.1 million for Republican Ted Budd, according to reports the campaigns filed with the Federal Elections Commission that were due Friday.
Beasley’s campaign noted it was a record in North Carolina for the time period, while Budd’s campaign downplayed the disparity, noting that recent Democratic candidates have outraised Republicans in previous Senate races only to end up losing.
“There have been some key races that clearly Democrats are targeting in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, places like that. But, this is sort of the next tier. And, as Beasley continues to do well fundraising and the polls seem to show the race is pretty neck-and-neck, you’ll see more Democratic money coming into the state,” said Meredith College political expert David McLennan.
McLennan added that with the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, some Democrats saw a bump in their fundraising.
“In some races across the country, there’s been a boost, up to a 20 percent boost after that decision,” said McLennan.
However, with less than four months to go until the election, McLennan said outside groups will play a much bigger role.
“By the time we get to November, we’re gonna see the money be pretty equal, particularly in the Senate race,” he said.
In the 2020 U.S. Senate race, Democrat Cal Cunningham raised about $51 million compared to $25 million for incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, according to Open Secrets, which tracks campaign spending. Tillis won re-election that year.
During that election, outside groups spent about $222 million, nearly triple what the campaigns spent combined, according to Open Secrets.
“The outside groups have so many different rules and regulations that apply to them that make it easier for them to raise and spend without reporting and other things,” McLennan said.
North Carolina also has competitive races for the U.S. House.
In the 14th district, which includes parts of Mecklenburg and Gaston counties, Democrat Jeff Jackson reported raising more than $650,000 in the second quarter compared to $233,000 for Republican Pat Harrigan.
In the 13th district in North Carolina’s Triangle region, Democrat Wiley Nickel and Republican Bo Hines have raised similar amounts of money this cycle. Nickel has brought in almost $1.8 million compared to about $1.7 million for Hines. Nickel noted he has about $510,000 in cash on hand at this point, which is five times what Hines reported.
In the 1st district in the eastern part of the state, Democrat Don Davis also reported having more cash on hand than his Republican opponent Sandy Smith. He had $208,000 as of the end of June compared to about $43,000 for Smith. Smith, who also ran for Congress in 2020, reported raising more money overall at $1.4 million compared to $910,000 for Davis.
“You hear Democrats not pointing to Joe Biden’s numbers but doing things like pointing to Roy Cooper’s numbers and saying the governor is more a reflection of how North Carolina is going than the president,” said McLennan. “A lot of Democrats around the country, including in North Carolina, are downplaying Joe Biden’s national numbers and even saying they’re not relevant.”