Under the Dome

Deborah Ross leads other Democratic US Senate hopefuls in fundraising

State Rep. Deborah Ross speaks on the phone as she leaves a committee meeting in 2013.
State Rep. Deborah Ross speaks on the phone as she leaves a committee meeting in 2013. cliddy@newsobserver.com

Former state Rep. Deborah Ross has a strong fundraising advantage over the other Democrats running for U.S. Senate, records released Thursday show.

Ross’ campaign announced last week that they’d raised $586,000 by the end of 2015 and began 2015 with $452,000 on hand. Those numbers put Ross behind incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who raised $818,000 in the fourth quarter.

But Ross raised hundreds of thousands more than her opponents in the March 15 primary – an indication that the others could struggle to get their message out before the election.

Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey’s campaign released his fundraising report Thursday for the final quarter of 2015.

Rey raised $47,000 during the reporting period and spent nearly all of it, leaving him with just $3,500 on hand at the beginning of January.

Durham businessman Kevin Griffin raised less than Rey and relied heavily on his own money to launch his campaign, according to the report his campaign provided Thursday.

Griffin’s contributions totalled just $100 by the end of 2015, but he also loaned his campaign $12,000. By the start of 2016, the campaign had spent about $10,000 and had $1,700 on hand.

Meanwhile, the last of the campaign finance reports appeared this week in N.C. Court of Appeals races, and incumbent judges have a strong financial advantage over their challengers so far.

The closest race in fundraising numbers is for the seat currently held by Judge Richard Dietz, who was appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to fill an empty seat.

Dietz, an attorney and Republican from Winston-Salem, raised $26,000 in the second half of 2015 and had $45,000 on hand to start the new year.

His Democratic opponent, Wake County District Court Judge Vince Rozier, raised $37,000 during the period and ended the year with $21,000 on hand.

None of the three other challengers running for Court of Appeals had more than $1,000 on hand to start 2016.

Incumbent Judge Valerie Zachary, another McCrory appointee, raised $3,000 and loaned herself $53,000, giving her $50,000 to start 2016. Incumbent Judge Bob Hunter raised $11,000 and had $3,000 on hand to start the year.

The only incumbent who’s a registered Democrat, Judge Linda Stephens, raised $57,000 and had $32,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period.