Sen. Richard Burr kicked off fundraising for his 2016 re-election campaign with an event in Washington Wednesday night that brought in more than $1 million.
That's a record for a Burr fundraising event, said Paul Shumaker, the campaign general counsel. He said the final figure, after pledges are counted, would exceed $1 million.
There was speculation in Washington that Burr might not be running because he only had $720,000 cash on hand in the latest campaign finance filing. But Burr recently announced a team of veteran political operatives as his 2016 campaign staff.
"He wants to make everybody very clear that he's running," Shumaker said.
Burr's fundraiser was well attended and held at the Washington office of Altria, the parent company of the cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris USA. The campaign is planning a North Carolina kickoff, probably in March, Shumaker said.
Burr's campaign expects that spending for his Senate race next year will exceed what was spent in 2014 by Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and defeated former Sen. Kay Hagan. That race set a national record, including campaign and outside spending, at more than $116 million.
"North Carolina is a very expensive market," Shumaker said.
A Democratic challenger has not emerged, though speculation centers on Hagan and a range of other state officials.