WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Kay Hagans re-election campaign took in $3.6 million in the second quarter of this year, a large haul for a three-month period but not a particularly surprising one in a race thats expected to be one of the most expensive in the nation.
The contributions leave her campaign with $8.7 million in cash on hand. The Democratic senators campaign released only its top numbers on Thursday, ahead of the Tuesday filing deadline with the Federal Election Commission.
Her Republican opponent, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, hasnt released his contribution totals for the period yet.
More details about the sources of the contributions and how the campaigns are spending their money wont be available until after the FEC makes them public.
Both Hagan and Tillis have been busy fundraising. Even so, outside groups are spending more than the candidates. The money spent by the outside groups mostly doesnt have to be reported to the FEC, because nonprofit groups that run issue ads that dont explicitly call for people to vote for or against a candidate arent required to report the amounts spent until 60 days before the election.
Still, media trackers for both parties keep a tally of outside group spending from TV ad buy contracts. Republicans say outside groups have spent $11.1 million so far against the Tillis campaign. Democrats estimate outside groups have spent $18 million against Hagan through July. That money largely has been used for negative ads.
I would not be surprised if the candidates used the strategy of selling themselves and let the surrogates do the attacks, said Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College.
Both candidates will likely raise large sums of money, but I have the feeling its going to be dwarfed by the outside money, he said.
This has all the markings of being a very, very expensive if not the most expensive race in the country, said Andrew Taylor, a professor of political science at N.C. State University.
North Carolina is one of a handful of competitive Senate races that will help determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years. Among those states, its one of the largest in terms of population, so candidates have to reach out to more voters, he said.
Kays record-setting, second-quarter fundraising total is a reflection of the enthusiasm and momentum behind her campaign, said Chris Hayden, spokesman for the Hagan campaign. These funds will ensure that the campaign can reach voters from Murphy to Manteo to talk about Kays bipartisan and commonsense record of results for North Carolinas middle class families.
Both candidates are fundraising sometimes at the same venue. Last month, both were at the Charlotte City Club on the same day for fundraisers. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan was there for Hagan, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was at the Tillis event.
Looking ahead, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has said he will host a fundraiser for Tillis, while Hagan reportedly will benefit from a fundraiser at the Hickory home of Mitchell Gold, the furniture maker.