Spending on NC's Senate race tops $100M

Posted October 29, 2014

Money generic

— Total spending in North Carolina's tight Senate race topped $100 million on Wednesday, making it the first such contest in the nation to cross that threshold, according to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation data.

Roughly 70 cents of every dollar has come outside groups looking to influence the race between endangered Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, state House Speaker Thom Tillis. The heavy spending puts the state atop the list of costly races with less than week before Election Day. Senate debate Political TV ad spending in North Carolina

The next most costly state was Colorado, with more than $86 million spent. Iowa follows with $78 million and Kentucky with $72 million.

Hagan has spent almost $19 million through Sept. 30, her most recent disclosure available with the Federal Election Commission. Tillis has spent almost $8 million through Oct. 15, his most recent filing. Candidates who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination account for the balance of the candidate spending.

But it's the outside groups who have accounting for the bulk of the spending. The Democratic-backing Senate Majority PAC has spent almost $10 million, and the party's Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has run about $9 million. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has spent almost $9 million, as well, and the business-backed U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent $4 million.

In total, outside groups account for $72 million of the race's spending.

More than half of the spending has gone toward television ads. Each side has spent roughly $27 million on ads, according to the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity's analysis of ad-tracking firm Kantar/CMAG data.

The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation has been tracking spending by candidates and their allies, based their campaign finance reports. The numbers omit spending from nonprofit groups such as Americans for Prosperity, the organization backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.


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  • miseem Oct 30, 2014

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    Then how do you explain the high rankings in NC for business over the last two decades, with the RTP area and Charlotte having several top 5 ratings despite those "exorbitant" taxes. Maybe our taxes were not as exorbitant as reported, particularly when you factor in the benefits. We may find that dropping to near the bottom in education spending more that offsets a slightly lower tax rate when it comes to business relocation and expansion. And despite the huge drop in jobs in the old standbys of textiles and furniture in NC over the last 40 years, the Democratic Party in control of the legislature has managed to keep NC at the top of the pile, particularly in comparison to our other Southeast neighbors. I doubt that the population in NC increased from about 6,600,000 in 1990 to 9,500,000 in 2010 because of the poor business environment.

  • Itsmyopinion67 Oct 30, 2014

    Why is Kay spending all this money to lose?

  • Lightfoot3 Oct 30, 2014

    Shame and disgrace.

  • TheCape Oct 30, 2014

    So glad there is a third choice.

  • Tanya Rose Oct 30, 2014
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    We really need to get money out of politics. How much good could have been done in our society with 100M rather than campaign ads that lie, slander and annoy? Maybe our lawmakers could get something done if they weren't having to raise money and then submit to whatever their biggest donors wanted them to do. Our representatives no longer represent us. They represent whomever is holding the checkbook. Personally I think we should shorten the amount of time you can campaign-like 6-8 weeks only. Then give each candidate an equal amount of air time on TV and/or ad space in local newspapers to explain their ideas and what they want to do and then of course have debates. And then make election day a national, paid holiday so that everyone can vote. I'm to the point I just want to vote for the candidate that runs a positive campaign. Which is no one! Both sides are equally guilty and equally covered in muck. I'm sick of it.

  • blessedx6 Oct 30, 2014

    I guess we all need to move our investments into state broadcasting companies. What worries me is that we have candidates spending all this money on ads and don't seem to be aware that most folks mute the TV (our action) or choose this time to go to the kitchen or bathroom during these ads...

  • Jack Jones Oct 30, 2014
    user avatar

    Campaign reform is needed. Nearly every rational person (citizen) would agree. Start with ending "dark money" on both sides.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Oct 30, 2014
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    And yet many applaud him for the very things you fear.... HA HA! In fact, under the GOP, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, our State has risen to 16th as the most tax/business friendly State... sure to bring jobs and prosperity beyond the Democratic party 100 year high taxation suppression.

  • lprop Oct 30, 2014

    May the highest bidder win. The winner is going to owe a big debt to somebody. Which ever one goes to Washington will just be another spoke in the wheel.

  • heelhawk Oct 30, 2014

    Spending by both sides has gotten ridiculous. Blasting one candidate without calling out the other just shows your naked partisanship. Like those of you were really on the fence until you looked at the spending and then made your choice. I didn't vote for Tillis, but it isn't because he is spending millions in dark money. It is because he is a threat to north carolina, our economy, our citizens, our environment, our employment, our education... and the list goes on.