Democratic challengers in suburban Charlotte and Greensboro are outraising Republican congressional incumbents, signaling competitive seats in November’s midterm elections.
But the blue wave hasn’t yet reached suburban Raleigh — at least when it comes to fundraising.
In the 2nd Congressional District, which includes much of Wake County to the north, east and south of Raleigh as well as parts or all of Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties, Democrats are lagging well behind Republican Rep. George Holding in fundraising totals approaching the May 8 primary. Early voting starts Thursday.
Former Wake County Commissioner Linda Coleman, North Raleigh entrepreneur Ken Romley, and Wendy Ella May, a military veteran and transgender woman from Johnston County, are the Democratic contenders.
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Coleman raised $104,098 in the first three months of 2018. She has $83,801 cash on hand, according to federal reports filed Sunday.
“We actually feel pretty confident about where we currently stand. While we may not have raised as much as other campaigns, we have raised a significant amount in small contributions from individuals,” said Ryan Schott, a spokesman for the Coleman campaign.
Romley, who loaned his campaign $340,000 last year, raised $94,570 in the first quarter of 2018. Romley has $296,345 cash on hand.
“You can never have enough. It’s sort of an infinite goal,” Romley said last week. “I feel like I’m connecting with people, winning over crowds.”
Romley has started airing a television ad in the market, touting his experience creating jobs and innovation. In the ad, he hits President Donald Trump — but does not name Coleman or Holding.
“Today our problem is Donald Trump, and career politicians won’t solve that problem,” Romley says in the ad.
Holding, a former U.S. attorney, raised more than $303,000 in the quarter, pushing his overall total to $1.45 million. Holding has $351,218 cash on hand.
None of the other challengers in the race — Democrat May, Libertarian Japeth Matemu or Republican Allen Chesser — posted more than $3,500 in fundraising totals.
The lack of fundraising success for Democrats in the 2nd District contrasts sharply with stellar totals posted by Democrats in other parts of the state – challenger Kathy Manning in the 13th District that includes Greensboro and Dan McCready in the 9th District that stretches from Charlotte to Fayetteville and runs along the state’s southern border.
- Manning raised $622,448 in the quarter, far surpassing Rep. Ted Budd, who collected $215,979.
- McCready raised $614,000 in the quarter, eclipsing Rep. Robert Pittenger’s $457,000 despite Pittenger bringing in several big-name Republicans and planning events with several more, including Vice President Mike Pence.
Manning and McCready have been added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program for candidates the organization identifies as “top tier.”
Both of those races have moved from “likely Republican” seats to the more competitive “lean Republican” rating, according to the Cook Political Report and the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. The 2nd District remains a “likely Republican” seat in both rankings.