News: Quick Takes

House Republicans spending more than Democrats, but fundraising remains close

Republican House candidates on average spent 21 percent more than Democrats leading up to the May 8 primary contests But the total fundraising gap between the parties was small.

That’s one takeaway from an analysis done for the Jan. 1 to April 21 period by the N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation, which closely tracks state elections.

“Despite holding a supermajority, Republican House incumbents and candidates only narrowly outraised their Democratic counterparts in total,” the analysis says.

“The central question for the N.C. House elections is the same as it is with the N.C. Senate for 2018,” the report says. “Will Democrats be able to pick up the net four seats they need in order to break the GOP supermajority.” Republicans hold a 75-45 advantage.

House candidates on the primary ballot raised a total of $4.6 million, reports show. They spent more than $2.6 million, and had $6.5 million in unspent funds. A breakdown of individual candidates by district is here.

Republican general election candidates raised $2.1 million, or 50.7 percent of all campaign contributions. They spent $1.1 million, or 54.4 percent of the total. But they had a bigger share of cash on hand: $3.9 million, or 61.6 percent of the total.

Democratic candidates collected $2 million, 48.8 percent of the total. They spent $955,619, 45.1 percent of the total. They retained $2.4 million, or 38.1 percent of all cash on hand.

Individually, Republicans moving to the House general election raised on average $18,656, spent $10,155, and had $34,714 cash on hand.

Their Democratic counterparts, on average, raised $17,700, spent $8,382, and had $21,121 remaining in their war chests.

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, raised the most in the period, $233,786. Brandon Lofton, who is challenging Rep. Andy Dulin, R-Mecklenburg, in House District 104, led all Democrats with $88,676 in campaign collections. The Top 10 fundraisers, each raising more than $70,000, were split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

Moore also had the most cash on hand, with $829,898. David C. Brinkley, who is running against Moore, was the top Democrat for the period with $110,574 in his campaign account. The Top 10 candidates accounted for one-third of all cash on hand. Eight of them were Republicans.

Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland, spent $113,145 through April 21, more than any other candidate. Graig Meyer, D-Orange, was the top Democratic spender, at $75,180. Seven of the Top 10 spenders were Republicans.

“It appears there are 10 N.C. House districts where the incumbent starts the second quarter trailing their challenger in available campaign resources,” the report says. Nine of those challengers are Democrats.