Kissell improves fundraising

Democrat Larry Kissell, the Biscoe teacher who came within 330 votes of a seat in Congress two years ago, has three times the cash he had at the same point in his last bid, but is still dwarfed by Rep. Robin Hayes' fundraising.

Kissell had $232,000 cash on hand as of June 30, compared to $83,000 two years ago, campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show.

Hayes, a five-term Republican lawmaker from Concord who is viewed as one of the most vulnerable members of Congress, had about $1.2 million in cash as of June 30, his campaign manager Steve Quain said as the final report was being finalized. That's about the same as what he had at this point in the 2006 election.

The 8 {+t}{+h} District race is viewed as a toss-up by political observers and a possible bellwether for whether the nation continues its trend toward sending more Democrats to Congress.

A Public Policy Polling survey of 541 likely voters in early July showed Hayes ahead by 7 points, 43 percent to 36 percent. But it also suggested Kissell might have more room for improvement since 22 percent of Democrats were undecided but only 6 percent of Republicans hadn't made up their minds.

Kissell raised $179,000 between April 17 and June 30. For the entire election cycle, he raised $606,000, compared with $187,000 last time.

Hayes raised $472,000 in the last quarter, and $2.3 million for the election cycle, Quain said. Two years ago, he'd raised about $1.3 million for the cycle.