Republican Pat McCrory only announced last month that he's officially running for governor in 2012. That apparently didn't bother his donors in 2011.
McCrory's campaign spokesman Brian Nick announced today the former Charlotte mayor raised more than $1.5 million in the second half of 2011, well above his $1M in the first half of the year.
Nick says McCrory has around $2.5 million in cash on hand.
Those healthy numbers pretty much seal the deal on McCrory's nomination. No big-name GOP contenders have announced a challenge to McCrory, who lost to Perdue in 2008. At least two others were rumored to be interested, but were said to be watching McCrory's fundraising numbers before deciding on a challenge.
Official campaign reports aren't due out till later this month, but McCrory's numbers undoubtedly benefited from two GOP marquee names - LA Gov. Bobby Jindal and NJ Gov. Chris Christie - who headlined fundraisers for him during the past six months.
Gov. Bev Perdue's campaign chief Fiona Conroy said they're not ready yet to release their numbers for the last half of 2011.
While Perdue campaign consultant Marc Farinella has said the governor doesn't need Democratic rock-stars to raise money for 2012, she has had some national fundraising help: an Emily's List solicitation last week highlighted Perdue's race as one of three targets for donors.
Perdue is the only Democratic woman governor running for re-election nationwide in 2012.