Congressional candidate says he leads in fundraising – with caveats

01/22/2014 5:42 PM

01/22/2014 5:43 PM

Houston Barnes is trying to stake out an early claim as the most viable Democratic challenger to run against U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, based on his fundraising, despite his newcomer credentials.

Barnes sent out a news release on Wednesday saying the federal campaign finance report he is about to file will show he has raised more than $62,000.

“At this point in the campaign, no other non-incumbent in the 2nd District has raised this amount of money in recent history,” Barnes said, sprinkling a string of qualifiers across his statement.

Barnes says that makes him the “clear frontrunner.”

So far, the field of non-incumbents is small. Hard to say how much the other announced Democratic candidate, Keith Crisco, has raised, but financial reports are due soon.

Ellmers’ last report showed she had raised nearly $380,000 and had $181,000 cash on hand at the end of September.

Barnes runs a small business law firm. His wife, Brice Barnes, is a Democratic strategist and fundraiser.

Crisco is better-known, through his role as commerce secretary under Gov. Bev Perdue. That insider status has sparked criticism from Barnes and from the GOP.

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