Hudson, Mills close in third quarter fundraising

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, October 18, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — In a year where North Carolina’s U.S. House races haven’t drawn much attention, the 8th District ranks as one of the closest financial battles in the state, according to finance reports filed last week.

Reports show Rep. Richard Hudson, a two-term Republican incumbent, raising $40,214 more in the third quarter than his Democratic challenger Thomas Mills. Hudson has roughly double the amount of cash on hand.

Compared to other North Carolina races for the U.S. House, the 8th District was the closest for fundraising in the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission reports. It’s also among the closest financially in cash on hand after the third quarter.

In total, Hudson raised, $182,716 during the latest reporting period. Most of his money came from political action committees — groups that represent specific interests. PACs, as they’re more commonly known, spend money to elect or defeat candidates for public office.

When asked about the reports, Hudson’s campaign said a majority of the contributions came from individuals. In other words, most of the money came from PACs, but contributions more frequently came from people.

“Rep. Hudson is humbled by the support he’s received from thousands of North Carolinians – including more than 3,100 individual contributions from folks across our state,” said campaign coordinator Tucker Osborne.  “In fact, more than 70 percent of all contributions come from individuals, with the majority from people in North Carolina who give less than $250. Rep. Hudson’s support from our community is clearly demonstrated by the 139 individual contributions from the eighth district in this quarter alone.”

By comparison, Mills, a Carrboro resident who owns a public relations company and runs a politics blog, raised $136,663. Nearly all of Mills’ contributions come from individuals rather than political action committees. However, his itemized contributions from individuals are mostly from people who don’t live in the 8th District.

When asked about his third quarter fundraising, Mills stressed the need for out-of-district fundraising.

“It’s a large district and it’s a poor district,” Mills said. “Our support has been overwhelming. To win and run in a district like this, you’ve got to raise from around the state.”

Mills’ reports repeatedly list West Somerville, Mass. as a location for contributions. It’s the site of a payment processing company his campaign uses. The company combines small contributions into larger checks, Mills said.

In total, the payment processor represents $68,383.33 in contributions. Those contributions could be from people in North Carolina, according to Mills.

He framed Hudson’s finance reports as an example of criticism he’s used repeatedly throughout the campaign — that Hudson is an example of the “broken system.”

“His money is funded through Washington,” he said. “Mine is funded by people who live in North Carolina. … I’m a david versus goliath.”

Despite the close fundraising in the third quarter, Hudson has a larger lead in cash on hand. Hudson’s campaign reported $315,180 in cash on hand. Mills’ campaign reported $144,103 in cash on hand.

Hudson also spent more than Mills.

Expenses in Hudson’s latest finance report include: flights, taxis, political consulting, mileage, event planning, hotels in North Carolina and Virginia and $25,000 in contributions to candidates running for other political offices. Hudson’s campaign donated $2,000 to 13th District candidate Ted Budd, a Republican. The 13th District includes the city of Salisbury and other parts of rowan.

Expenses in Mills’ latest finance reports include: postage, office supplies, Facebook advertising, consulting, research, video production and flights.

Reports released on Saturday won’t be the last before the election on Nov. 8. The Federal Elections Commission requires Hudson and Mills to file a final, pre-election report on Oct. 27.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.