Politics & Government

NC Democrats tout ‘unprecedented’ cash haul ahead of midterm elections

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper shakes hands with teachers after addressing their rally on the Bicentennial Mall on May 16, 2018, in Raleigh, N.C.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper shakes hands with teachers after addressing their rally on the Bicentennial Mall on May 16, 2018, in Raleigh, N.C. rwillett@newsobserver.com

Republicans control the North Carolina legislature, but Democrats have a record amount of cash to help their candidates gain power this fall.

The N.C. Democratic Party on Thursday announced it has $5.8 million to help state House and state Senate candidates this fall. That figure sets a record for the party’s fundraising at this point in a midterm election year.

By contrast, the N.C. Republican Party reported having $1.3 million on hand. The party’s top elected officials are expected to provide financial support to Republican candidates. Senate leader Phil Berger has $1.6 million on hand.

The Democratic Party says it has seven times more than it had by the same time in the 2014 election ($800,266) and 22 times more than the amount it had by the same time in 2010 ($252,467).

The party raised a record $2.3 million during this year’s second-quarter campaign period.

Wayne Goodwin, the state party chairman, said the numbers are evidence that momentum is on the Democrats’ side.

“Democrats across the state are outworking, outhustling, and outraising Republicans, showing that the grassroots energy and momentum are on our side and many Republicans are going to be caught flat-footed in November,” Goodwin said in a statement.

“The party is in the strongest position we have ever been in before a midterm election, with outstanding Democrats running in every single district for the first time ever and the resources and support they need to get their message out,” he said.

Democrats controlled state politics for more than 100 years until Republicans seized control earlier this decade. They’ve since cut tax rates and regulations while also taking controversial stances on social issues like same-sex marriage and bathroom access for transgender people.

This fall, every seat in the N.C. General Assembly is up for election. If Democrats pick up either four House seats or six Senate seats in the November election, they’ll break the Republican supermajority — meaning Republicans will be less likely to override the vetoes of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

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Republicans in urban and suburban areas are the most vulnerable, experts say. But Democrats said earlier this year they plan to target Republicans from rural areas, too.

Democrats credit Break the Majority, a partnership between Cooper and the party, for the fundraising success.

The party is encouraged by the efforts of individual candidates as well. It says 30 Democrats raised more than their Republican opponents during the first campaigning period this year.

It’s unclear exactly how each race is stacking up in terms of fundraising.

Candidates were required to submit updated campaign finance reports to the N.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement by Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon, some reports had not been processed and uploaded to the board’s website.