News: CJ Exclusives

In N.C. Senate Race, Republican Ramsey Gets Help From Other Aircraft Providers

Political newcomer receives significant support from outside district

Campaign finance disclosures made available this week show that Randy Ramsey has outraised and outspent his chief rival, Norm Sanderson, significantly in the Republican primary in N.C. Senate District 2.

Ramsey, a first-time candidate for the General Assembly, was associated closely with Democratic politicians until he chose to run. His support from Democrats includes air travel for Gov. Bev Perdue and a $2,000 contribution to her campaign in July. Before this year, he had given $3,750 to Republican candidates, but more than 10 times that amount to Democratic campaigns and to the state Democratic Party. Moreover, some people connected to the flying scandal that led to the criminal prosecution of and felony plea by Democratic former Gov. Mike Easley also have donated to Ramsey’s campaign.

Ramsey is the owner of Jarrett Bay Boatworks, a boat-building company located in Beaufort. His previous financial support of Democrats — even though he is a registered Republican — was the subject of a recent Carolina Journal cover story.

Sanderson, a first-term member of the N.C. House representing Craven and Pamlico counties, is a small business owner in Havelock. He decided to run for state Senate this year rather than seek re-election to his House seat. A third candidate, Ken Jones, also is running. The State Board of Elections could not locate Jones’ campaign finance reports by press time.

With days left until the election Tuesday, Ramsey has raised $418,649 — including $234,000 in money he has loaned to his campaign — and spent $285,299. Sanderson’s fundraising and spending totals dwarf those figures. He raised $32,613 and spent $28,691 over that time period.

The Senate district comprises Craven, Carteret, and Pamlico Counties. Approximately half of Ramsey’s actual contributions came from persons living outside the district. Ramsey also received the maximum individual contribution of $4,000 apiece from Daniel M. Doyle, Nicole Doyle, and Daniel M. Doyle Jr. of Belleair, Fl.

In addition, Ramsey received donations from the family of Elizabethtown businessman D.M. “Mac” Campbell Jr., who had close ties to the Easley and Perdue administrations and in the past by provided unreported flights to the chief executives, as documented by Carolina Journal.

One of Mac Campbell’s sons, Raleigh businessman McQueen Campbell, was at the center of the scandal involving unreported flights for former Gov. Mike Easley. McQueen Campbell’s wife Laurie Campbell gave Ramsey $1,000 using her previous name Laurie Perkis, but Ramsey’s campaign report listed her last name as Perkins. (The Campbells married in January.) McQueen Campbell’s brother Wesley gave Ramsey $250 and their father Mac Campbell gave Ramsey $1,000.

Jimmy D. Clark of Greensboro, who also was involved in Perdue’s unreported flying activities, gave Ramsey $1,000. Former N.C. Supreme Court chief justice Burley Mitchell, a Democrat, gave Ramsey $250.

The primary is May 8.

David N. Bass is an associate editor of Carolina Journal. Don Carrington, executive editor of Carolina Journal, provided additional reporting for this story.