Budd surpasses McCrory in latest fundraising haul

For the first time since both candidates announced their North Carolina U.S. Senate bids, Republican Rep. Ted Budd has outraised former Gov. Pat McCrory. New campaign filings show outside groups are also offering sizable contributions.

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Trump North Carolina
Bryan Anderson
, WRAL statehouse reporter

New campaign filings show North Carolina U.S. Rep. Ted Budd brought in more money during the final three months of 2021 than his opponents in his bid for the Republican Party’s U.S. Senate nomination.

It’s the first time since both candidates entered the race in April that Budd has reported raising more money than former Gov. Pat McCrory, his top competitor.

Budd’s campaign on Monday reported raising more than $968,000 during the period ending Dec. 31, according to a Federal Election Commission filing. McCrory took in more than $748,000.

Campaign finance filings are an indicator of a candidate’s strength and can forecast their ability to compete in what could be the most expensive Senate race in the country this election cycle. Monday’s campaign finance reports reflect growing momentum for Budd and a dwindling advantage for McCrory.

Budd closed out 2021 with $2.2 million in available cash, while McCrory had more than $1.9 million at his disposal.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro, had pulled in $139,000 during the quarter. Marjorie K. Eastman, a former combat veteran, significantly trails Budd, McCrory and Walker in polls. She raised more than $423,000 during the quarter She entered 2022 with nearly $287,000 in the bank and is viewed by many political onlookers and pollsters as less likely to win her party’s nomination.

“This race is far from decided and it's far from a three-man race,” Eastman said.

Walker’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Campaign representatives for Budd and McCrory declined to make their candidates available for interviews.

McCrory said in a statement that he “couldn’t be prouder of the success we’ve had in 2021.”

Jonathan Felts, a spokesman for Budd, said: “We’re pleased to be the top fundraiser on the Republican side and we are pleased that our fundraising did not drop by 25% the way Gov. McCrory’s did.”

Eastman’s campaign, which launched on Oct. 5, noted it received a greater number of individual donations in its first 13 weeks than Budd, McCrory and Walker did at the start of their campaigns.

Cheri Beasley, a former state Supreme Court justice chief who became the presumptive Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate after her top opponent withdrew last month, announced weeks ago that she received more than $2.1 million between October and December and entered 2022 with over $2.8 million cash on hand.

The Republican primary, meanwhile, remains hotly contested. From the sidelines, state Democratic Party officials are enjoying a divisive GOP primary they hope will bolster Beasley’s chances in the November general election.

McCrory raised little more than $1 million from July to September and more than $1.2 million in his first 11 weeks as a candidate. Budd, meanwhile, has seen growth in two of his last three quarters. He was bolstered last summer by an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

Budd's $968,000 fundraising drive includes more than $54,000 in committee transfers and $48,500 from other political committees. More than $851,000 came from individuals outside political committees, an 8% quarterly drop from the period ending Sept. 30. McCrory's amount raised from individuals fell by 29% from more than $1 million in the period ending Sept. 30 to $721,000 for the period ending Dec. 31.

The fundraising gap is not the only problem for McCrory.

The former governor has complained about a 10-week postponement of the primary from March 8 to May 17. The state Supreme Court, which ordered the delay, on Wednesday will hear oral arguments in a case challenging new congressional and legislative voting maps that Republicans passed in the fall. The high court could again decide to push back the election.

The Republican U.S. Senate race has had no shortage of infighting, with Walker and McCrory frequently taking aim at the influence of one outside political group working to elect Budd.

Club for Growth Action, a Washington, D.C., political action committee, reported spending $3.6 million to support Budd and $500,000 to oppose McCrory since the start of the election cycle. Joe Kidlea, a spokesman for the group, said the group plans to spend at least $5.9 million more to promote Budd and criticize McCrory.

Walker and McCrory have criticized the Club for Growth’s involvement, accusing Budd of being too cozy to the organization. They also say that Budd, if elected, could be subject to undue influence—a claim Budd rejects.

Walker met with former President Donald Trump last month. Trump urged Walker to run for a Greensboro-area U.S. House seat instead of continuing his Senate race. Club for Growth’s president, David McIntosh, also attended the meeting with Walker.

The former congressman said on Thursday he would continue his Senate bid.

“The only people that are still talking about Mark Walker are a bunch of reporters and Mark Walker,” Kidlea said.

The Carolina Senate Fund, a pro-McCrory political action committee, raised $161,000 since July 1. It also spent less than $115,000 opposing Budd in the final six months of 2021.

Eastman is also benefiting from more than $1.3 million spent by an outside group called Restore Common Sense Inc, FEC filings show.

Asked about the group’s support, Eastman replied, “It is a true testament to how much North Carolinians want a fresh voice.” She singled out McCrory, who first held elected office in 1989 as a member of the Charlotte City Council.

“We do not need to send someone who is a career politician with decades of baggage and IOUs,” she said of McCrory.


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