Dome: Outside spending in state races closing in on $14 million

FROM STAFF REPORTSNovember 6, 2012 

Outside spending this campaign season on state races is nearly $14 million, according to the latest numbers.

The governor’s race and N.C. Supreme Court races attracted the most attention, with about 90 percent of the money influencing voters in those two races, according the Institute for Southern Studies, which tracks spending. The outside groups include super PACs and other independent expenditure committees that don’t abide by contribution or spending limits and often receive money from untraceable sources.

Total spending from these political committees is still unknown; the final tally is sure to rise once the final reports are filed. Read an analysis from the institute’s Chris Kromm below:

• Top spending groups: 91 percent of the outside spending on North Carolina state races has come from 10 groups. Seven of the top 10 are conservative/Republican-leaning committees; three are liberal/Democratic-leaning.

• 2-1 Republican edge: So far, Republican-leaning groups have shown a clear outside money advantage: 71 percent of the spending from the top 10 groups has come from Republican-leaning groups; 29 percent from Democratic-leaning organizations. This is in line with North Carolina’s 2010 legislative elections, where groups spending to benefit Republicans enjoyed a 10-1 money advantage over their Democratic-leaning counterparts.

• Top committee: The single group spending the most money in 2012 so far has been the D.C.-based Republican Governors Association, which has filed reports showing $4.9 million worth of spending to benefit Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory. The RGA’s donor list is dominated by national corporations.

• Biggest race: The N.C. governor’s race has attracted the most money, drawing more than $8 million in outside spending. Other leading groups spending on behalf of McCrory include Real Jobs NC, Americans for Prosperity and the Constitution Trust.

• N.C. Citizens for Progress has been the dominant group supporting Democrat Walter Dalton, spending $2.6 million to benefit his campaign. N.C. Citizens for Progress’ biggest backer has been the D.C.-based Democratic Governors Association.

• N.C. Supreme Court race: As McCrory has extended his lead in the polls for governor, outside spending has shifted to the N.C. Supreme Court race. As of mid-day Monday, total expenditures in the race had reached nearly $2.6 million, with more on the way.

The biggest outside spender in the N.C. Supreme Court race is the N.C. Judicial Coalition, which has filed reports showing $1.8 million in expenditures. The group’s largest donor is another super PAC, Justice for All NC, which has received more than $1.1 million from the Republican State Leadership Committee.

Staff writer John Frank

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