Election signs cost money
Election signs on display in front of the West Asheville Public Library on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

The race between Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper for North Carolina governor has pumped more than $35 million into the state in campaign contributions. And it’s not alone in raking in money.

From governor to council of state to county commissioner, races across the state, including Western North Carolina, have seen substantial sums gathered in the hope of putting one candidate or the other over the top.

Carolina Public Press previously reported on campaign finance reports that were filed in July, but with Election Day less than a week away, CPP takes this final look at some of the most competitive races based on new campaign filings following an Oct. 22 deadline, many of which just became available for public inspection in the last few days.


Cooper, a Democrat, outraised McCrory by more than $7 million during the entire election cycle. According to third quarter numbers released this week, he almost doubled McCrory’s fundraising since July. Cooper raised $21.7 million during the election cycle and $9 million over the past four months. Cooper spent almost $10 million during the third quarter, which ended on Oct. 22, and had $1.5 million in the bank at the end of the reporting period.

McCrory, the Republican incumbent, raised $5.2 million since July, bringing his election total to almost $14 million. He spent $9.9 million since July and had $1.5 million on hand at the end of October.

But McCrory received more support from PACs than Cooper, raising almost $700,000 from outside sources during the election cycle. Cooper raised nearly $400,000 from PACs.

Almost a third of Cooper’s contributions during the third quarter came from the North Carolina Democratic Party, which gave almost $2.8 million. Individual donors gave $5.1 million to the Cooper campaign during the third quarter. Cooper received PAC support from Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield employees, NC Advocates for Justice, NC Energy Workers, NC Home Builders, NC League of Conservation Voters, North Carolina Automobile Dealers and the North Carolina Association of Educators.

McCrory also received significant support from his party during the third quarter. The North Carolina Republican Party gave his campaign $1.4 million since July, which amounts to nearly the total the state GOP contributed to McCrory during the entire election cycle.

McCrory also received support from PACs tied to the Dominion transportation company, Geo Group, HNTB Holdings, Koch Industries, NC Home Builders, NC Farm Bureau, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, FedEx, Wal-Mart, Family Research Council, Aetna and Merck.

Filings show both McCrory and Cooper spent the majority of their campaign money on television and print advertising, direct mailings, video production and strategy consulting.

Buncombe County commission chair

Most of the campaign advertising and other spending flowing into Buncombe County in the race for chairman of the Board of Commissioners is coming from just two men — Chuck Archerd and Brownie Newman, who are also the two people on the ballot.

Archerd, a Republican, and Newman, a Democrat, have both largely self-funded their campaigns. That’s particularly the case for Archerd, who entered the race in August after Miranda DeBruhl announced she was dropping out of the race to move out of state. Archerd, a real estate developer, loaned his campaign $230,000 and raised $35,000 since July. His campaign finance filings show he spent $255,000 and had $13,000 on hand as of Oct. 22.

Archerd spent almost $230,000 with The Goss Agency, an Asheville marketing firm that, according to filings, handled the majority of Archerd’s advertising campaign.

Newman put $42,000 of his own money into the campaign, and raised a little more than $8,000 from individual donors during the third quarter. Newman’s filings show he spent almost $42,000 with Asheville television station WLOS throughout the election cycle, $1,300 with the Asheville Radio Group and $3,700 with IHeart Radio.  He also donated to campaigns for commission candidates Nancy Nehls Nelson, Ed Hay and David King.

Lt. Governor

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest kept his fundraising lead over Democratic challenger Linda Coleman in the third quarter, raising $600,000 to bring his election total to $1.9 million. Coleman received $350,000 in the third quarter, increasing her election total to $830,000.

Forest received $526,000 in individual contributions since July. Those donors, at $1.7 million, make up the bulk of his campaign contributors. He received $152,000 from PACs during the election cycle. Coleman received $236,000 from individuals during the third quarter and raised $59,000 from political parties and $38,000 from PACs. Her filings show she had more than $260,000 in the bank as of Oct. 22.

Forest received support from PACs linked to Duke Energy, Honeywell International, the Family Research Council and BB&T. Coleman’s PAC donors included Planned Parenthood, NC Sierra Club and UAW North Carolina.

N.C. Secretary of State

Democratic Secretary of State Elaine Marshall kept up a large fundraising lead over Michael LaPaglia, bringing in more than 10 times her opponent’s total for the third quarter. Filings show Marshall received $156,000 since July, with $115,000 coming from individual donors. LaPaglia brought in $11,500 during the third quarter.

Filings show that Marshall, who raised $414,000 during the election cycle, had more than $200,000 at the end of the third quarter filing period.

N.C. Attorney General

Republican Buck Newton and Democrat Josh Stein together raised more than $5 million in their bids to succeed Cooper as the state’s attorney general.

Stein has received $4.1 million during the election cycle, with almost $1.9 million coming during the third quarter. Newton received almost $1.1 million and received nearly $380,000 since July.

Stein received $785,000 from the Democratic Party and $1 million from individuals during the third quarter. PACs donated $71,000 to his campaign. Newton received $280,000 from individuals during the third quarter and was given $38,000 by political parties and $58,000 by PACs.

Agriculture Commissioner

Republican Steve Troxler holds a firm fundraising edge over challenger Walter Smith in his race for re-election to commissioner of agriculture.

Troxler raised $388,000 during the election cycle, with $176,000 donated during the third quarter. Smith raised almost $90,000 during the election, and received more than $62,000 since July. Troxler received $41,700 from PACs during the third quarter and $100,000 from those sources during the election cycle.

Insurance Commissioner

Incumbent insurance commissioner Wayne Goodwin, a Democrat, raised more than $1 million in his race against Republican Mike Causey, who brought in $58,000 during the election cycle.

Goodwin raised more than $237,000 since July, bringing his election total to $1.1 million. Almost $900,000 of his election total came from individual donors, $15,000 from political parties and $179,000 from PACs. Records show Goodwin had $236,000 on hand at the end of the third quarter reporting period on Oct. 22.

Causey raised almost $25,000 in the third quarter and had $8,000 on hand at the end of the filing period.

Commissioner of Labor

Democrat Charles Meeker raised almost as much money in the third quarter as Republican incumbent Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry has during the entire election cycle.

Meeker raised $110,000 in the third quarter, bringing his election total to $382,000. Berry raised $133,000 during the election, with $55,000 coming in during the third quarter. Meeker’s fundraising included $16,000 from the Democratic Party of North Carolina and $10,000 from PACs like Advocates for Justice, the Sierra Club, the AFL-CIO, Southern States Police Benevolent Association and UAW.

Berry received $21,000 in the third quarter from PACs tied to Duke Energy, FedEx and Friends of Forestry.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Mark Johnson, a Republican running against incumbent Democrat June Atkinson for superintendent of public instruction, is leading the fundraising race thanks in no small part to almost $110,000 in donations during the election cycle from PACs. Johnson raised $50,000 during the third quarter, bringing his election total to $260,000.

Only $2,700 of his third-quarter total came from PACs, with $41,000 donated by individuals.

Atkinson brought in $56,000 during the third quarter, including $16,000 from the Democratic Party, bringing her election total to $143,000.


Republican Dole Folwell and Democrat Dan Blue III have together raised almost $1.5 million in their race to succeed Democrat Janet Cowell. Folwell raised $418,000 in the third quarter to bring his election total to $850,000. Blue received $295,000 in the third quarter, making his election total $641,000.

Almost $430,000 of Folwell’s contributions came from individuals. Blue received $573,000 from individual donors.


Democrat Beth Wood has raised almost $224,000 in her race against Chuck Stuber for to retain her seat for North Carolina auditor. Wood raised $62,000 in the third quarter, with $35,000 of that support coming from individual donors.

Stuber raised almost $55,000 during the election cycle, with $23,000 raised since July.

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Michael Gebelein was an investigative reporter with Carolina Public Press. To contact Carolina Public Press, email info@carolinapublicpress.org or call 828-774-5290.

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