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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Campaign 2010:
State Level Money Races

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I am a firm believer that money equals political speech and that any campaign that refuses to raise serious amounts of cash not only will lose most of the time, but I think they deserve to lose if they are foolish enough not to chase after the necessary funds for their campaign.

The following is courtesy the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation, with data pertinent to weatern North Carolina picked out and emphasized. Check them out for the full report, which is downloadable in PDF format:

As of February 17, 270 candidates have filed to run for the North Carolina General Assembly in 2010 - 185 for the House and 85 for the Senate. With one week left before the close of candidate filing on February 26, we are sure to see more legislative hopefuls throw their hats in the ring. A key factor to the success of any candidate in a competitive race is his or her ability to raise the funds necessary to wage an earnest campaign. This week, we take a look into the amount of campaign cash incumbent State Senate and State House members have on hand based on year-end reports filed at the end of January with the State Board of Elections.

Although it is early in the election year, the cash totals of state lawmakers are a good base-line indicator of how prepared they are to face the year ahead, and how much time and attention they are going to have to spend raising money, particularly if they face a formidable primary challenge. In order to put these dollars into context, it is helpful to know the average cost it takes to win a legislative campaign in North Carolina. Here are some benchmarks from the 2008 elections:

NC Senate (Democrats) Total for Caucus $1,386,196

$309,828 Marc Basnight (D–Dare)
$136,384 John Snow (D–Cherokee)
$125,644 A. B. Swindell (D–Nash)
$116,119 Linda Garrou (D–Forsyth)
$101,729 Josh Stein (D–Wake)

Top Members in western North Carolina

Top Members in western North Carolina (Democrats)

#2---$136,384 John Snow 
#10---$49,062 Martin Nesbitt
#27----$3,213 Joe Sam Queen

NC Senate (Republicans) Total for Caucus $873,521

$306,715 Richard Stevens (R–Wake)
$103,696 Phil Berger (R–Rockingham)
$74,061 Harry Brown (R–Onslow)
$70,393 Don East (R–Surry)
$64,142 Neal Hunt (R–Wake)

Top Members in western North Carolina (Republicans)

#8----$30,583 Tom Apodaca 

NC House (Democrats) Total for Caucus $2,673,914

$417,548 Joe Hackney (D–Orange)
$188,749 Bruce Goforth (D–Buncombe)
$178,377 Jim Crawford (D–Granville)
$108,369 Pricey Harrison (D–Guilford)
$104,994 William Wainwright (D–Craven)

Top Members in western North Carolina (Democrats)

#2---$188,749 Bruce Goforth
#13---$62,247 Ray Rapp

#36---$16,927 Jane Whilden

NC House (Republicans) Total for Caucus $887,038

$119,140 Daniel McComas (R–New Hanover)
$88,752 Harold Brubaker (R–Randolph)
$66,810 Julia Howard (R–Davie)
$60,310 Thom Tillis (R–Mecklenburg)
$49,196 Carolyn Justus (R–Henderson)

Top Members in western North Carolina (Republicans)

#5---$49,196 Carolyn Justus (not running for re-election)
#8----$33,731 Mitch Gillespie
#25--$10,189 Roger West 

So, as you can see, the Democrats have been better at raising money for office than Republicans in North Carolina...which goes a long way toward explaining their continued hold on the majority in the North Carolina General Assembly.