Under the Dome

Democrat challenging Rep. Holding outraises ‘16 challenger in 3 months

Democrat Sam Searcy is running for Congress in the 2nd District.
Democrat Sam Searcy is running for Congress in the 2nd District. Provided by Sam Searcy for Congress

Democratic U.S. House challenger Sam Searcy raised more than $550,000 between July and September, his campaign announced Monday.

Searcy, a Holly Springs businessman running for political office for the first time, is one of at least four Democrats challenging Raleigh Republican George Holding in the 2nd District that includes parts of Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Wilson, Nash and Franklin counties.

In 2016, Democratic candidate John McNeil raised less than $83,000, including a personal loan of more than $20,000 to the campaign, in his race against Holding, according to federal election data. Holding won 56.7 percent of the vote in 2016.

The 40-year-old Searcy, who owns a vodka distillery, said that 85 percent of his donors live in North Carolina.

“The excitement and momentum we’ve been building will ensure that we have the resources needed to win in 2018 and take common sense North Carolina values to Congress,” said Searcy, who filed his official paperwork to run on July 10, making this his first fundraising quarter.

Third-quarter fundraising ended Sept. 30. No candidate in the race has filed a fundraising report with the FEC. The Federal Elections Commission filing deadline is Oct. 15.

Candidates may need to raise as much as $1 million to compete effectively in the 2nd District.

Holding, in his third term in Congress, raised more than $658,000 through June for the 2018 election, according to the most recent available federal election paperwork. He had nearly $220,000 in cash on hand June 30, according to those records. Holding, whose family controls First Citizens Bank & Trust, raised more than $2.6 million for his 2016 re-election campaign.

In addition to Searcy, there are two Democratic candidates who have filed to run: Wendy Ella May, a transgender veteran from Johnston County; and Ken Romley, a Raleigh entrepreneur. Linda Coleman, a former Wake County commissioner and N.C. House legislator who lost statewide races for lieutenant governor in 2012 and 2016, said she is planning to run, but has yet to file paperwork, according to the FEC.

Romley’s campaign said Monday morning that his report will show he has raised more than $250,000 for the race. Romley did not file to run until Sept. 19.

Allen Chesser, an Iraq war veteran from Louisburg, is running for the Republican nomination against Holding.

Timmy Strickland is running as an unaffiliated candidate.