With tightening polls and millions of dollars in outside money entering North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, Democrat Deborah Ross says observers have underestimated her campaign.
“I think the pundits don’t know the state of North Carolina,” Ross said Friday during a meeting with The News & Observer’s editorial board. “While nobody was paying attention, we were out doing work. We were out-raising (Republican incumbent Sen.) Richard Burr.”
Ross raised $2.1 million in the second quarter. Burr raised about $1.6 million. It Since the campaign began, Ross has raised about $4 million. But Burr has raised $8.8 million in his bid for a third term – leaving him with more cash on hand on June 30, the last date shown in reports.
The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC connected to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has reserved $8.1 million in TV ads supporting Burr. Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced this week that it will spend $2.5 million to help Ross. POLITICO reported Friday that DSCC is adding an additional $4.2 million for a total of $6.7 million in North Carolina.
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When the Ross campaign began last year, Burr’s seat was not considered to be a vulnerable one for Republicans, but polls now show Burr’s lead narrowing to a few percentage points.
“The race is hot, and there are only a handful of races in the country that can flip the U.S. Senate” to Democratic control, Ross said. “The state is on fire y’all – people want a change. They’re sick of Washington not doing anything.”
Before outside groups entered the race, Ross has spent months holding campaign events across the state, and she says she’s visited 90 counties.
“Everywhere I go, they say they haven’t seen Richard Burr in years,” she said.
Burr has said he doesn’t plan to hold many campaign events until Congress wraps up its work in early October. He’s instead been holding occasional events in North Carolina, visiting manufacturing facilities and other locations arranged by his official Senate office.
Asked about Ross’ claim that Burr hasn’t visited North Carolina communities, Burr campaign spokesman Jesse Hunt described it as an “erroneous one-liner” that “helps her avoid” talking about her record leading the state’s ACLU.