McCrory, Budd pull away in Senate GOP primary field

Former Gov. Pat McCrory (left) and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (right) are featured in this combination photo. Photo of McCrory via AP

RALEIGH – Former Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd both believe their second quarter fundraising totals topped the other in the state’s hotly-contested 2022 U.S. Republican Senate primary.

McCrory, who reported first among Republican candidates, announced he raised $1.24 million since entering the race in April.

McCrory’s campaign said over $1 million came from in-state donations with over 8,000 total donors.

“Our campaign as a Washington outsider who has solved real problems is resonating across North Carolina,” McCrory said in a statement announcing the total. “We’ve proven that we are the only candidate with the record of accomplishments and the ability to marshal the resources necessary to win a statewide primary and general election against the well-funded far-left.”

On Twitter, McCrory adviser Jordan Shaw wrote, “Big starting quarter for @PatMcCroryNC. $1.24m raised, $1m from in-state donors. Unmatched support in NC. Only candidate with viable path to victory in primary & general.”

McCrory spent just over $278,000 in the quarter, leaving his campaign with $955,000 on hand.

Budd raised $955,000 over the quarter, including a personal loan of $250,000 in his first report as a Senate candidate. He does, however, possess significant advantages over McCrory.

As his campaign was quick to point out, Budd far and away has the most on hand, with $1.7 million, in part thanks to his Congressional campaign account. Budd also likely will see the full benefit of his endorsement from former President Donald Trump in the third quarter. The Trump endorsement, which came with less than a month before the June 30 fundraising deadline, came at the NCGOP convention on June 5.

In examining the figures from McCrory and Budd post-Trump endorsement, Budd appeared to narrowly outraise McCrory. Outside spending is also likely to benefit Budd, with the Club for Growth announcing it is ready to spend at least $5 million to boost him in the primary.

Jonathan Felts, a senior adviser to Budd, said the campaign has “eliminated the McCrory money advantage six months ahead of schedule.”

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, who entered the race in December 2020, announced he had raised $202,000 and spent nearly all of that amount, but enters the second half of the year with $926,000 on hand.

Following the reports, the McCrory and Budd camps traded barbs both in press releases on Twitter to spin the numbers in their favor.

McCrory adviser Jordan Shaw called Budd’s fundraising “shockingly weak,” and criticized Budd’s personal loan – but as Felts retorted, in 2013, Shaw, who was then campaign manager for Thom Tillis, called a similar move an indication of his “level of commitment to the race.”

In his three races for governor, McCrory often raised more in similar time frames.

In 2008, McCrory raised $1.1 million after winning the gubernatorial nomination in his first run for the office. In 2012 he raised $2.2 million after handily winning the nomination on the way to his only victory statewide, and in 2016, he raised $3.1 million as the incumbent. That figure often trailed now-Gov. Roy Cooper.

For his part, Walker seemed to acknowledge his fundraising deficit, saying after the reporting period, “I’m quite content being the people’s choice. I’ve never been the establishment’s darling and I’m certainly not funded by million-dollar DC Super PACs like others.”