Perdue campaign reports it raised $1.3 million

January 8, 2012 

Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue's campaign said it raised $1.3 million in the past six months - less than GOP rival Pat McCrory but enough to lessen questions about her campaign fundraising.

Perdue will report more than $2 million cash-on-hand to start the 2012 governor's race, matching McCrory, said campaign manager Fiona Conroy. Also important: In the first six months of 2011, Perdue raised $1.3 million. The equal totals from both fundraising periods last year could dispel concerns about her fundraising ability, given the criminal indictments of her 2008 campaign associates and prominent donors defecting to McCrory.

Both candidates will formally report fundraising numbers Jan. 27 - so details about who made the donations and how they raised the money are still unknown.

McCrory, who is the likely GOP nominee, raised $1.5 million in the last six months, using high-profile fundraisers with Republican superstars Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal to boost his numbers. He raised $1 million in the first half of 2011.

Perdue's total $2.6 million from last year is nearly equal to McCrory's $2.5 million - making their anticipated rematch an expensive proposition.

Cash sought to fight GOP

N.C. Democratic legislative leaders are asking for money to help challenge the GOP-drawn redistricting maps in court.

The solicitation sent last week from former House Speaker Joe Hackney and Senate Democratic leader Martin Nesbitt is titled "Can you help us stop the GOP's gerrymandering?"

The effort is being coordinated through a secretive political nonprofit called the Democracy Project. As a 501(c)4 group under tax law, it can raise and spend unlimited money without disclosing its donors. Democratic strategist Scott Falmlen, a former executive director at the state party, is the director of the group, state records show.

"We need your help now to have the resources to be heard in court," the email proclaims. "Carrying this fight to the courts is an expensive proposition, but critical for the future of our state."

The message goes further to lay out the Democrats' claims about the new political boundaries drawn by the Republican-dominated state legislature, noting the split precincts and consolidation of black voters in certain districts.

Reagan rescinds endorsement

The son of former President Ronald Reagan is revoking his endorsement of Vernon Robinson's bid for Congress in North Carolina's 8th District.

"I was unaware that this was a multi-candidate primary, and I have made it a practice not to endorse in those situations," Michael Reagan wrote in a Dec. 28 email to N.C. Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes.

As requested by Michael Reagan, Scott Laster, the executive director of the party, distributed the memo Thursday to all GOP candidates in the race to unseat Democratic Congressman Larry Kissell in one of the most competitive districts in the nation. The district stretches east from Charlotte to Fayetteville.

Michael Reagan notes the primary as the reason for yanking his endorsement - but his message comes weeks after Robinson released a controversial television advertisement that noted the prominent Republican's endorsement.

The ad - which also highlights support from the family of former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms - was condemned by the nonpartisan Helms Center director as "disgusting."

The television piece, which Robinson's campaign aired on Fox News during coverage of a recent GOP presidential debate, uses inflammatory language and pictures of President Barack Obama.

Robinson's campaign said that it was aware of the memo the party distributed but that it had not heard directly from Michael Reagan. Robinson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Robinson campaign manager Steve Arnold seemed miffed by the revoked endorsement - especially considering that Michael Reagan recently backed the presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich, a move that apparently violates his own policy.

Michael Reagan said in an email to Dome that he "had nothing more to add" to explain his decision.

jfrank@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4698

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