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Republicans maintain financial advantage in Rowan’s congressional races

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Finance reports due last week show Republicans in Rowan’s two congressional races raising and spending more than their Democratic opponents by significant margins.

In the 8th District race, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, outspent his Democratic challenger Thomas Mills by more than a 2-1 margin. The 13th District competition is a low-dollar race by comparison. However, Democrat Bruce Davis is miles behind Republican opponent Ted Budd.

The Republican financial advantage extends to cash on hand after expenses, where Hudson is left with roughly $19,000 more than his opponent in the 8th District race. Budd’s advantage is much more significant. The latest finance reports show Budd with $63,484 in cash on hand and Davis with just $9,316.

The latest finance reports cover a 19-day period starting Oct. 1 and are the last glimpse at the financial state of local congressional campaigns before the Nov. 8 election.

Campaign finance reports aren’t necessarily an indicator of who will win in November. However, they can be an indicator of how well a candidate is able to distribute his or her message.

8th District

A majority of registered voters in Rowan County will vote in the 8th Congressional District, which does not include the city of Salisbury.

In the 8th District race, Hudson’s fundraising and spending to date rank higher than his Democratic opponent. However, he’s spending and raising significantly less money now than in the primary election for the 8th District seat, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Hudson’s campaign spent $761,147 in the period just before the primary election. By comparison, his campaign spent $270,256 in the reporting period leading up to November’s election, according to reports filed last week.

He raised $56,517 during the latest reporting period, most of which came from individuals rather than political groups. In the period just before the primary election, Hudson raised $296,714, most of which came from political groups.

Hudson’s largest expense in the latest reporting period came on Oct. 13 — when his campaign paid $115,022 to On Message Inc. of Alexandria, Va. The expense is labeled as a media buy. His campaign also spent $111,360 on a media buy with the same company on Oct. 7.

Federal Communications Commission reports show the Hudson campaign is focused on reserving TV time in the Raleigh TV market, which stretches to Fayetteville and covers  the eastern part of his district, rather than the Charlotte market, which has covered the western part of his district since he was elected.

Mills spent $123,183 during the 19-day reporting period. He raised $39,534, most from individuals.

Mills’ total amount raised ranks lower than the prior two reporting periods. Those periods, however, contained fewer total days.

Like Hudson, Mills has also made a push to air TV ads in the district. The lopsided fundraising battle, however, means that Mills hasn’t been able to spend as much as Hudson on advertising.

Mills’ largest expense came on Oct. 11, when he spent $25,000 on a media buy with Fortune Media of California.

13th District

All voters who live in Salisbury city limits will vote in the 13th Congressional District. It’s seen as a Republican-learning district, and Budd has a major financial advantage.

During the latest reporting period, Davis raised just $8,612, all  from individuals. Budd, by comparison, raised $107,227 during the latest reporting period, a majority from individuals rather than political groups.

Budd’s fundraising total during the latest reporting period is more than Davis has raised over the course of the entire race, including the primaries.

Davis’ largest expense during the latest reporting period was a $1,000 payment for campaign staff payroll.

Like Hudson, Budd’s largest single expense went to TV advertising. On Oct. 6, Budd spent $103,182 with with American Media and Advocacy Group in Alexandria, Va. He also spent $53,465 with the same group on Oct. 19.

Federal Communications Commission reports show Budd’s TV advertising is focused in the Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem market.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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