The leaflets stuffing mailboxes, the Facebook ads and roadside signs are backed by hundreds of thousands of dollars campaigns and outside groups have poured into this year's primary campaigns for the North Carolina legislature.
The campaign advertising will slow for a bit after Tuesday, when results of the primary determine which candidates will make it to November's general election ballot. The primary races feature incumbents facing first-time office seekers and former legislators looking for tickets back to Raleigh.
Registered voters should go to their regular polling places today. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
In one of the most watched races in the Triangle, three-term incumbent Rep. Duane Hall is facing first-time candidate Allison Dahle in the Democratic primary for a Wake County House seat.
Hall is battling accusations of sexual harassment, most of them anonymous. He has denied all, and ignored calls to resign from top Democrats, including Gov. Roy Cooper. Hall has mostly avoided reporters for the last two months, but in a late campaign mailer said "recent stories" about him are false. Still, someone is plastering Hall's campaign signs with puckered lip stickers.
As of April 21, Hall had spent nearly $87,000 on the campaign, and had more than $37,000 left for the last two weeks.
Dahle, a first-time candidate running against Hall, raised about $40,000. She's received support from state and national groups that support Democratic women. Lillian's List, the North Carolina group, contributed $5,000. Emily's List has a staff member who lives in North Carolina helping Dahle with her campaign, President Stephanie Schriock said last week in a call with reporters.
Rep. Chris Malone, a Republican seeking a fourth term in a district that includes Wake Forest and Rolesville, has far outraised his opponent in the GOP primary. Isaac Burke had taken in about $8,300 by the end of the April filing period, compared to Malone's $117,000.
The race took a turn recently, with Malone sending out a mailer featuring a shoeless toddler in a business suit and striking at Burke's youth. "Just a few years ago, Isaac was in high school," Malone's mailer says.
Burke responded with a press release calling the mailer "dirty and slanderous campaign tactics."
Democrat Terence Everitt was seeking a rematch with Malone in the district. Malone defeated Everitt by about 6 points in 2016. First, Everitt will have to get past Adam Wright in the Democratic primary. Top House Democrats have backed Everitt, who has raised nearly $100,000 with the help of top House Democrats who are backing him. Wright's latest campaign finance report was not available, but he said Monday that he'd raised about $3,000 and spent a few thousand dollars of his own money.
"I tried to run a poor people's campaign and tried to prove you can run a race without a ton of money," Wright said.
Wright said he relied on door knocking, signs and Facebook ads to reach voters. "With low voter turnout, anything can happen," he said.
At the end of the early voting period, just over 4 percent of registered voters had cast ballots, according to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.
In a district that includes Franklin and southern Nash County, former House member Glen Bradley is seeking to return to the legislature. He served one term in 2011, and was best known for filing a bill to have the state issue its own currency. He has raised about $4,700. Bradley's opponent, Lisa Stone Barnes, had raised $96,250.
Former state Sen. Bob Rucho, who served 18 years in the legislature representing Mecklenburg County before deciding not to seek re-election in 2016, is back in elective politics. He's competing in a four-way primary in a district that includes Iredell and Yadkin counties. Rucho prevailed in a residency challenge, with documents showing he moved from Matthews to a Mooresville apartment the day before he filed to run for the open seat. He's raised more than $120,000 for the race. Vickie Sawyer, who co-owns an insurance agency and is active in Iredell County Republican politics, raised about $37,000. The North Carolina Property Rights Fund, a group connected to N.C. Realtors, is backing Sawyer with more than $74,000 in independent expenditures.
North Carolina U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows and Mark Walker endorsed A.J. Daoud, a former candidate for secretary of state, in that primary. The endorsements didn't appear to help much with fundraising. Daoud reported raising about $23,000, including a $20,300 loan from himself. Campaign finance reports for a fourth candidate, Bill Howell, were not available.
Out on the coast, first-term incumbent Rep. Beverly Boswell, a Dare County Republican, is in a hot contest with Bobby Hanig, chairman of the Currituck County Board of Commissioners. Boswell, with the help of House Speaker Tim Moore, raised about $25,000 for the race, while Hanig raised about $13,000.
The candidates are fighting about coastal issues and truthfulness. A Boswell Facebook post calls Hanig "a left-wing environmentalist," while some of Hanig mailers are labeled with hashtags #honest, #truthful, and #nodrama.