Democratic group reassures lawmakers it is spending money in the 9th District

Responding to heavy Republican spending, national Democrats have told lawmakers that they’re also investing in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, just in an “intentionally non-flashy” way.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee apparently sought to reassure lawmakers with the memo, first reported in Friday’s Washington Post.

The Observer reported last month that two national Republican groups are pumping nearly $4 million into Dan Bishop’s 9th District congressional campaign, dramatically ramping up GOP spending to offset Democrat Dan McCready’s early fundraising edge.

Politico reported the National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved $2.6 million in air time through the Sept. 10 special election. And the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super-PAC tied to Republican House leadership, is spending $1.2 million on Bishop’s behalf. The conservative Club for Growth, meanwhile, has spent more than $550,000 to help elect Bishop.

In the memo, the DCCC called the Republican spending “pure panic.”

It said the DCCC itself has “methodically been spending” over $2 million. That includes money for lawyers at the state elections board’s February hearing on allegations that the 2018 election was marred by election fraud. Officials called for a special election on Sept. 10.

Democrats said the money has gone to polling and voter contact, specifically targeting African American and Lumbee Indian voters.

The DCCC said its N.C. investment is more than it spent in the Pennsylvania race that in 2018 saw Democrat Conor Lamb win a special election in a district which, like the 9th, went for President Donald Trump in 2016.

The group said its money is also researching the motivation of African American voters “that will be road-tested in this race and scaled for the full battlefield in 2020.”

In 2018, the DCCC spent over $1 million on McCready’s race against Republican Mark Harris, mostly on TV ads.

Reports filed this month showed McCready had a 5-1 advantage over Bishop in cash on hand with $1.8 million to Bishop’s $344,000.

“(House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi and her national liberal clowns are desperate to get their rubberstamp ‘Wrong Dan’ to Washington,” Bishop said Friday. “They can circle the wagons all they want, but voters are going to reject their radical liberal agenda of open borders, higher taxes and abolishing private healthcare.”

Jim Morrill, who grew up near Chicago, covers state and local politics. He’s worked at the Observer since 1981 and taught courses on North Carolina politics at UNC Charlotte and Davidson College.