Local News

Voters Express Concern About Campaign Finance

Posted February 27, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— Can a candidate buy his or her way into office? A lot of North Carolinians think so. They also say it's unfair. But candidates for North Carolina's Senate seat sing a different tune. The News and Observerand media outlets statewide have begun a program called "Your Voice, Your Vote". They've interviewed 1,000 people and found there's plenty of concern about the way political campaigns are paid for.

The whole idea behind YVYV is to find out what issues are important to NC voters and compare that to positions taken by the candidates.

The campaigning has already begun. Political ads that cost a lot of money are hitting the airwaves and print media again. Money and politics is not a good mix according to NC voters. Almost 95 percent of the people polled by YVYV say political campaigns are too heavily influenced by money. It's a stance that is echoed by US Senate candidates.

On the Democratic side, there is a mix of professions represented. The candidates, a management consultant, a lawyer, an accountant, a former university vice president, a city council member, and an electrician all say they're going to bring back the message behind the money.

Candidate John Edwards says he's concerned about the costs.

Candidate D.G. Martin says it seems as if money is the only issue.

Martin and Edwards, who are considered the Democratic frontrunners, have raised over $500,000 between them, while the other 5 candidates have only raised a tiny fraction of that.

Candidate Ella Scarborough says she thinks people really do want change.

Incumbent Lauch Faircloth admits the system needs fixing.

Self-proclaimed Republican long shot, Steve Franks, says money will make the difference in his race for the Senate.

More than a third of the people polled in YVYV are either "very worried" about campaign financing, or think reforming the system should be a "top priority".

Sunday, the N&O explores race relations and what voters have to say about that issue.

WRAL will have more poll results over the next four Fridays.