With less than six months until the 2024 general election, breaking down finance data from America’s two main political parties offers a glimpse into how each party is approaching several contentious state and national races. 

With a Democratic governor and a supermajority Republican state legislature, North Carolina is considered a battleground state that garners national attention during presidential elections. While former president Donald Trump won North Carolina in the 2016 and 2020 elections, the thinning margin of the latter result gives Biden campaign incentive to target North Carolina heavily in an effort to flip the state. When it comes down to dollars, data shows out-of-state money is playing a serious role in the battle.

The balance of fundraising from in-state, versus out-of-state donors starkly differs between the two parties. North Carolina State Board of Elections reports indicate that about 40% of the NC Democratic Party’s funds are coming from out-of-state sources. In 2014, only 2% of their funding was from outside North Carolina, rising to well over a third of total contributions to the NC Democratic Party so far in 2024. 

A snapshot of fundraising data for the North Carolina Republican Party shows a distinctly different picture with Republicans sporting a higher percentage of in-state funds since 2014. Support for the NCGOP from within North Carolina has increased to 94%, while out-of-state contributions have not exceeded 12% of all state party funds raised at any point in the last 15 years. 

At the end of the first quarter, the NC Democratic Party had about $1.9 million on hand. That compares to the $1.8 million the Party had one hand at this point in the 2020 presidential election cycle. On the other side of the aisle, the NCGOP has less money in its main account than its counterparts, showing about $550,000 on hand. But the party is ahead compared to the same point in the 2020 presidential election when it held $380,000 in funds. 

Diving deeper into party-related accounts reveals a more expansive scene when combining all financial reserves raised and deployed through different entities. Each party’s candidates have raised millions of additional funds within candidate committees for Council of State, House, Senate, and Congressional accounts. The combined holdings of both the Democratic party and its candidates are roughly $31 million, while Republicans are just barely behind at approximately $29 million. The finances are not locked into one committee and can be transferred directly or through various party committees.  

Note: Party money includes legislative caucuses, leadership committees, as well as NC state party and federal party committees.

The difference in the distribution of funds gives insight into each of the parties’ priorities.

With over $16 million in the Democrat Council of State candidate accounts, the state’s top offices—governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state auditor—are given major significance. In addition to the $16 million in Democrat candidate funds, an additional $6 million is held as party money. The Democrats’ Council of State leadership committee is run by Nexus Strategies partner Scott Falmlen. The firm is best known for its lead consultant Morgan Jackson, who is a chief consultant to both the campaigns of Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein.

Republicans’ accounts are more evenly distributed, with the congressional committees holding the most funds. With almost $11 million in the state legislative accounts compared to Democrats’ $2.5 million, Republicans running for state legislature have an overall fundraising lead as they work to retain their supermajority. By contrast, Democrats have more of their money centered on the Council of State candidates.

The tight margins are similar when it comes to total money raised. The Democratic side has raised a combined total of approximately $45 million, while Republicans have raised a total of nearly $48 million.  

The close fundraising numbers mirror the tightening races for president and governor. According to a recent Carolina Journal poll, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson leads by a mere .1 points, while presidential candidate Donald Trump leads by 4.5 points.

Researcher Jim Stirling of the John Locke Foundation’s Civitas Center for Public Integrity provided data for this article.