In another sign that North Carolina could have one of the nation’s most competitive gubernatorial races, Democrat Roy Cooper will report having more campaign money than Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
Cooper will report $4.9 million cash on hand to McCrory’s $4.1 million.
Full reports for statewide candidates are due this week. It would mark the second consecutive time that Cooper, the attorney general, has out-raised McCrory.
Each candidate faces a March 15 primary against less well-funded opponents.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
McCrory faces former GOP Rep. Robert Brawley of Mooresville and Charles Moss of Randleman. Durham businessman Ken Spaulding is challenging Cooper.
According to a news release, Cooper raised more than $2.9 million in the second half of 2015, while McCrory’s campaign said the governor raised $2.6 million.
In the first half of last year, Cooper raised $2.2 million to McCrory’s $1.3 million.
“For the second time in a row, Roy Cooper out raised a sitting incumbent governor by very impressive margins,” Cooper spokesman Jamal Little said. “Today’s numbers reaffirm what public polling already shows: Pat McCrory is the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country.”
For McCrory spokesman Ricky Diaz, the reports have another message.
“It is clear that Roy Cooper is spending all of his time raising campaign cash and not doing his job as attorney general,” Diaz said.
Meanwhile, Spaulding said the reports show that Cooper is “just like Republicans.”
“Both Pat McCrory’s and Roy Cooper’s ‘big money’ approach creates a clear distinction and choice between the Ken Spaulding for Governor campaign of ‘people over money’ approach,” he said.
Burr leads in Senate money
Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr raised $817,848 in the final quarter of 2015 – more than the leading Democratic candidate raised during the same period.
Burr’s numbers, released Wednesday by his campaign, were higher than the $585,692 fundraising total posted by former state Rep. Deborah Ross.
But the two candidates are far from evenly matched in campaign money: Burr has built up contributions over his six-year term and had a total of $5.3 million on hand as of Jan. 1.
Burr’s challenger in the March 15 primary, Cary obstetrician Greg Brannon, asked his supporters to chip in an email Wednesday.
“While my opponent is stuffing his campaign coffers with special-interest money, I’m the candidate of grassroots conservatives who are tired of the House of Cards Washington Cartel,” Brannon wrote. “So I know I’m not going to be able to match my opponent dollar-for-dollar. He’s got a virtually unlimited war chest he can use to smear and attack me and my campaign.”
Of Burr’s fourth quarter total, $343,500 came from political committees such as PACs, while $460,323 was from individual donors.
Brannon’s campaign has not yet released fourth quarter fundraising numbers. Because he announced his run for Senate in the final weeks of December, it will be difficult to compare his fundraising to Burr’s number.
Ross’ opponents in the Democratic primary, Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey and Durham businessman Kevin Griffin, have not yet posted fundraising numbers.