Apr 22, 2022 - Election

5 takeaways on spending in Senate and Congressional races in N.C.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios.

As both political parties vie for control of the U.S. House and Senate in the 2022 election, cash is flooding into North Carolina races.

Why it matters: North Carolina is once again in the spotlight with the primary election in less than a month.

Here are five takeaways from the candidates’ first quarter campaign finance reports, which were due Friday:

1. McCrory leads GOP field in cash

What’s happening: Even as former Gov. Pat McCrory has in recent weeks slipped in the polls for North Carolina’s Senate GOP primary, he raised slightly more money than his competitors, the latest Federal Election Commission filings show.

  • McCrory received some $1.13 million in contributions between January and March and had the most cash on hand compared to his opponents at the close of the latest fundraising period, with $2.24 million.
  • U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, who is ahead of McCrory by double digits according to some polls, received $1.125 million.

Of note: In yet another sign that North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race will be both highly contested and pricey, Politico reported Monday that a Republican super PAC aligned with Sen. Mitch McConnell will spend $141 million this fall on ads in an effort to flip the U.S. Senate.

  • Of that, the PAC is slated to drop $27 million in North Carolina.
  • Meanwhile, a Democratic PAC aligned with Sen. Chuck Schumer plans to spend $106 million this fall, but that strategy does not include North Carolina. Some Republican political operatives say that suggests that Democrats aren’t currently prioritizing North Carolina’s Senate race over other battleground states.

2. Eastman out-raises Walker

Marjorie Eastman, a political newcomer and combat veteran who is also running for U.S. Senate, brought in more than triple the amount of former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker.

  • Eastman raised more than $371,700, including a $160,000 loan to herself, and Walker brought in $104,700.
  • Still, Eastman likely didn’t raise enough to help her pull ahead of the two front runners in the final month of the race.

3. Beasley’s advantage

Former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who is expected to be the Democratic nominee, out-raised everyone in the field, bringing in $3.7 million. She also has $5.1 million cash in her campaign coffers.

Data: Federal Election Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals

4. Charlotte’s two congressional races

What we’re watching: Charlotte has one Democrat in Congress, Rep. Alma Adams, but the party has a shot at picking up another seat in the area after legal challenges to redistricting led to a more favorable map for the party.

Context: North Carolina gained a 14th congressional seat due to its population growth in the last U.S. Census. That district now cuts across Charlotte diagonally, stretching from southeast Charlotte to Gaston County.

  • Jeff Jackson, a former U.S. Senate candidate who dropped out of the race late last year, is running for the seat.
  • Jackson received $281,895 in contributions in the first quarter. He has $843,659 in cash on hand, most of which was left over from his Senate campaign.

A campaign finance report was not available for Jackson’s opponent, Ram Mammadov, an immigrant from Azerbaijan whose grandmother fled Ukraine during World War II.

On the GOP side, Pat Harrigan, a combat veteran and owner of a firearms manufacturing company, raised $105,137. No campaign finance report was posted for the other Republican candidate, Jonathan Simpson.

In the 12th district, which covers north Charlotte, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville and parts of Cabarrus County, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams is running for reelection.

  • She raised $110,864 and has $481,047 in cash on hand. A campaign finance report was not available for her Democratic challenger, John Sharkey.
  • On the GOP side, real estate investor Tyler Lee received $9,335. Campaign finance data was not available for the two other Republican candidates, Nalini Joseph and Andrew Huffman.

5. Cawthorn’s big spending

U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn — the 26-year-old who made headlines in recent weeks after he alleged that he had seen a fellow member of congress use cocaine while others invited him to an orgy — spent more money than he raised for the 11th District Republican primary.

  • Cawthorn still out-raised one of his biggest competitors — state Sen. Chuck Edwards, who is endorsed by top Republicans in North Carolina, including U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and state Senate leader Phil Berger. But Edwards had more cash on hand than Cawthorn at the close of the reporting period.

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