Under the Dome

Conservative donor Bob Luddy to launch campaign against GOP Rep. Nelson Dollar

Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, discusses ongoing budget negotiations during a press conference at the N.C. General Assembly on Aug. 27, 2015 as House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, looks on.
Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, discusses ongoing budget negotiations during a press conference at the N.C. General Assembly on Aug. 27, 2015 as House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, looks on.

Bob Luddy, one of Raleigh’s biggest conservative political donors, is spending $40,000 to create a new political committee opposing House budget writer Nelson Dollar of Cary.

Luddy filed paperwork this week to create StopNelsonDollar.com, and he immediately donated $40,000 to the new committee. As of Friday afternoon, the website referenced in the committee title hadn’t yet been launched.

Luddy said he wants to see Dollar defeated because of this year’s House budget proposal led by the longtime legislator.

“Nelson Dollar has to take the responsibility for submitting such an outrageous budget,” Luddy said Friday, declining to detail StopNelsonDollar.com’s campaign plans.

“I felt like Nelson Dollar was going to spend way too much money – over a half billion more than the governor’s budget. He also delayed getting a budget for our state for months on end. I wanted to get this information out there.”

Dollar defended the House budget, pointing to its inclusion of teacher assistant funding, a cost-of-living increase for state retirees, and a series of tax cuts.

“It’s disappointing that the (Luddy committee) is attacking a Republican instead of those funds defending the Republican seats in the fall,” Dollar said. “We’re going to need those resources to beat Hillary Clinton. That money and the money I have to spend is really a waste.”

Luddy said other donors plan to contribute to StopNelsonDollar.com, but he declined to name them. He said he’s also giving money to Mark Villee, who’s challenging Dollar in the March 15 Republican primary. Villee is already running TV and radio ads attacking Dollar.

Dollar has responded with his own ad, and he said he’s sent a cease-and-desist request to Time Warner Cable, which is airing the Villee ads. He said the Villee ads make false claims.

It’s not the first time this year that Luddy has used his financial resources to voice displeasure toward House budget writers.

In May, he announced that he would withold a planned $25,000 contribution to House Republicans, complaining that their budget did not include new tax cuts and would have extended tax breaks for specific industries. After months of negotiations with the Senate, the final budget approved in November lowered the overall spending level and killed a number of tax breaks.

“Excessive government spending is one of the major problems we have in this country,” Luddy said Friday.

Luddy runs a commerical kitchen ventilation company and a growing chain of private schools. He chairs the board of the conservative Civitas Institute think tank. A recent analysis by The Charlotte Observer placed Luddy as the top North Carolina donor to federal campaigns in 2014.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter

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