AVERY COUNTY — Now that the 2018 election races are set, the candidates will be campaigning across their districts in an attempt to rally support and court voters. Those efforts can add up in the checkbook, from renting space and post office boxes to paying consultants and much more.
As political candidates, those in races need registered campaigns to manage funds for an election. And on a regular basis, these campaigns have to file reports to show how much each candidate has raised, where the money came from and how it was spent.
The Federal Election Commission keeps track of campaign finance reports for federal offices. For non-election years, Congressional committees are required to file one yearly report, which covers Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017. Going into an election year, the filing deadlines are quarterly, including an extra pre- and post-election filing, making six in total.
In the race for the U.S. House of Representatives — N.C. 5th District, the incumbent U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) will see five different challengers, two from each major party.
In 2017, Virginia Foxx for Congress raised $1,190.332.71. Of that amount, $516,600 came from 268 different donations from political action committees, which are groups formed (as by an industry or an issue-oriented organization) to raise and contribute money to the campaigns of candidates likely to advance the group’s interests.
Both of Foxx’s Republican primary opponents, Cortland J. Meader Jr. of Mocksville and Dillon Gentry of Banner Elk, do not have financial records on file, although Meader for Congress was registered as a principal campaign committee in 2018.
As far as Foxx’s Democratic opponents, Jenny Marshall of Winston-Salem and D.D. Adams of Winston-Salem both have raised significant funds, but not at the level of Foxx.
To Elect Jenny Marshall raised $80,369.30 in 2017, all of which came from individual contributions, plus a $1,600 loan.
D.D. Adams for Congress raised $96,973.21 in 2017, most of which came from individual contributions, minus $2,500 in other (non-PAC) committee contributions, a $5,000 loan and $1,348.29 of Adams’ personal contributions.
In terms of cash on hand, Foxx’s campaign has a war chest of $2,820,172.77 as of Dec. 31, 2017, while Marshall’s reported $17,717.43 and Adams’ had $10,962.92.
According to Adams’ campaign finance reports, much of the $87,010.29 in 2017 expenditures were in media/PR and consultant fees, as well as staff salary payments. Marshall’s campaign spent $58,505.98 in 2017 mostly spent on salaries, data processing software, consulting fees and travel reimbursements. Foxx’s campaign spent $681,649.97 in 2017, including $225,000 for the National Republican Congressional Committee as a donation as well as which mostly consisted of salary payments and consulting fees.
The Foxx campaign’s $2.8 million cash on hand is by far the most among any N.C. Congressional representative campaign from the U.S. House or Senate. Second-closest is the campaign committee for Patrick McHenry (R-Hickory), who reported $2,000,034.90 on file. All but one other N.C. Congressional representative’s campaign had less than a million in cash on hand.
On the state level, campaign finances are managed by the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics, which requires semi-annual reports in all years, such as 2017. In election years such as 2018, campaigns must submit quarterly reports as well as semi-annual reports for a total of six.
In the new N.C. Senate District 46 of Avery, Burke and Caldwell counties, incumbent Sen. Warren Daniel (R-Morganton) will seek to retain his seat against Democratic challenger Art Sherwood from Lenoir.
Warren Daniel for N.C. Senate raised $15,850 from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2017. Out of the total, $4,750 came from PACs. At the end of 2017, the campaign had $24,844.12 in cash on hand.
Sherwood didn’t have any organization committee paperwork on file as of the end of February.
The race for N.C. House District 85 (Avery, Mitchell and McDowell counties) will see incumbent Josh Dobson (R-Nebo) against Democratic challenger Howard Larsen of Spruce Pine.
The Josh Dobson for N.C. House Committee raised $12,650 from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2017. Of the total, $500 came from a single individual donation and the rest from PACS. The committee had $32,167.35 in cash on hand at the end of 2017.
Larsen N.C. House 85 was organized on Feb. 27 and has not had any financial filings.
Seth Banks (R-Burnsville), who is currently the district attorney of the 24th District (Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, Yancey and Madison counties), will be unopposed in 2018’s election. His campaign, Banks for District Attorney, raised $5,150.75 in the final six months of 2017 and as of the end of the year, had $84,458.53 cash on hand, including a $50,000 loan from Banks to his committee in June 2017.