Democrats outraise Republicans in two NC districts, as outside groups bet millions

Democrat Dan McCready has continued to outraise and outspend Republican Mark Harris in North Carolina’s most expensive congressional race.

And outside groups, including super PACs tied to House leaders, have poured nearly $2.7 million into their 9th District race, according to the Federal Election Commission. That’s more than in any of the state’s 13 congressional districts.

New reports show McCready has raised $4.3 million, more than doubling Harris’s $1.6 million. The 9th District runs east from Charlotte to Fayetteville.

And in North Carolina’s second most expensive House race, Democrat Kathy Manning has raised $2.9 million to Republican Rep. Ted Budd’s $1.9 million in the 13th District, which stretches from Mooresville to Greensboro.

Both races are among the state’s most competitive. Democrats hope victories in each can help net the 23 seats needed to take back control of the U.S. House. That’s why outside groups have spent $4.5 million in the two races, three-quarters of all they’ve spent in the state.

Polls have shown both races close.

In the 9th District, McCready, a former Marine, tapped a national network of Democratic donors as well as veterans groups. He has gotten nearly $335,000 through the House Victory Project, an alliance of New York financiers. Another $178,931 came from the Serve America Victory Fund, founded by Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, himself a former Marine.

“When we first launched this campaign, few people thought our race could be competitive,” McCready said in a statement. “But what they never counted on was the overwhelming grassroots support we’ve seen from Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all across the 9th District who are ready for a change.”

More than half the $1.6 million McCready raised from the end of June through September came from outside the state, according to an Observer analysis. That compares to about 48 percent of the money Harris raised in the quarter.

“I think shows how badly Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats want Dan McCready to get elected,” said Harris consultant Jordan Shaw, referring to the Democrats’ House leader. “It’s no surprise at all that Harris is getting outspent 2-1. This is still a conservative district, so (McCready) has to spend more money to win.”

Harris has also been hit with nearly $1.6 million in outside spending, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That includes $272,000 by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $263,000 by the House Majority PAC, which is tied to Pelosi, and $944,060 by a Democrat-allied group called Patriot Majority.

McCready, on the other hand, has been targeted with $682,000 in spending, most by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC tied to the House GOP leadership.

Those outside groups have helped an array of N.C. candidates spend more than $10 million on TV advertising according to a WRAL analysis of data from Kantar Media.

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Kathy Manning

Outside groups have spent $1.8 million in the 13th District. Most has helped Budd offset Manning’s fundraising advantage.

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Republican Rep. Ted Budd

America First Action, a super PAC formed to support President Donald Trump, has spent $750,000 against Manning. It’s part of a $12.5 expenditure the group is making into competitive congressional races.

“The 13th District is a nice example of a general phenomenon,” said Charles Prysby, a UNC Greensboro political scientist. “In order for a challenger to have a good possibility of defeating an incumbent, spending heavily is essential.”

And Shaw, the Harris consultant, said heavy spending in such districts is expected.

“This is sort of ground zero,” he said. “If the Democrats want to take the majority, they have to take seats like this.”

A Democrat in one other district, the 7th, also outraised herRepublican incumbent in the third quarter. Kyle Horton raised $308,000 to Republican Rep. David Rouzer’s $234,000. But Rouzer still has four times as much cash on hand.

Staff writer Gavin Off contributed.

Jim Morrill, 704-358-5059; @jimmorrill