Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper continued to pile up cash for an expected political showdown this year, with Cooper maintaining his fundraising edge from last summer.
Cooper, a Democrat, is running to oust McCrory, a Republican finishing his first term.
Cooper reported Wednesday that he had collected $2.9 million in the second half of 2015. That's roughly $300,000 more than McCrory, whose campaign told the Associated Press he collected $2.6 million during the same time period. It is the second campaign finance report in a row that showed Cooper outpacing McCrory in fundraising.
Cooper began the year with $4.9 million in the bank, while McCrory had $4.1 million on hand.
"Today's numbers reaffirm what public polling already shows: Pat McCrory is the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country," crowed Jamal Little, a spokesman for the Cooper campaign.
Despite raising roughly the same amount of money during the same time period, McCrory spokesman Ricky Diaz dismissed Cooper's fundraising totals on Wednesday, saying, "It is clear that Roy Cooper is spending all of his time raising campaign cash and not doing his job as attorney general."
The fundraising totals for the candidates don't count money that will be poured into the state by party groups such as the Republican and Democratic governors associations and nonprofits formed to channel money from large donors.
However, both Cooper and McCrory will have to clear the March 15 primary. McCrory faces two challengers, including former state Rep. Robert Brawley. Cooper faces Ken Spaulding, a Durham lawyer and former lawmaker.