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Rep. Budd leads North Carolina congressional delegation in franked mail

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — New to Washington, D.C., Rep. Ted Budd, R-13, is leading North Carolina’s congressional delegation in one area that seldom receives attention — franked mail.

Through the end of 2017’s second quarter, Budd’s office spent more than $45,000 to send franked mail — mail sent without postage by authorized people, including members of Congress. In the U.S., the practice dates back to 1775 and the American Continental Congress.

Budd’s total isn’t unprecedented, but it’s more than any other member of Congress from North Carolina over the same period. Budd racked up nearly all of his $45,000 total during the second quarter of 2017.

Rep. David Rouzer, R-7, is second among North Carolina’s congressmen. Rouzer’s office spent a total of $42,548 through the second quarter of 2017. Robert Pittenger, R-9, is third among congressional representatives from North Carolina. Pittenger’s office spent more than $14,000 through the third quarter.

Asked about the total, Budd’s office provided the two pieces of mail it said led to the $45,000. One piece was a “town hall by mail” that asked constituents to answer questions about issues such as health care, tax reform and immigration. The second piece provided information for constituents, such as office locations. It also included a short survey.

Budd’s office also provided a statement citing the fact that he recently joined Congress and that he was elected in a newly drawn district as reasons for the large franked mail total.

“The fact that Congressman Budd is in a newly drawn district makes it all the more critical for constituents to know where our offices are located, what services we are able to provide, and that their voice is being heard on issues important to them,” Budd’s spokeswoman Melissa Brown said.

Budd’s situation is similar to that of Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, in 2013. Hudson, who was elected in 2012, took office shortly after Republicans drew new congressional maps. In 2013, the 8th District, which once stopped short of Rowan County and stretched to Fayetteville, moved to cover Rowan and Davidson counties.

By the end of 2015, Hudson would spend $52,637 on franked mail, but that included third and fourth quarter numbers, which are not yet publicly available for 2017.

This year, Hudson has only spent $1,673 through the second quarter.

Budd took over a district this year once located in the Raleigh area. When a federal court ruled that North Carolina’s map contained racially gerrymandered districts, Republicans were forced to draw a new map. The 13th District moved across the state, to an area that didn’t contain an incumbent.

Budd’s franked mail through the second quarter of 2017 includes two large expenses. On March 1, expense reports show Budd’s office spent $23,808. On April, 30, Budd’s office spent $20,502 on franked mail.

Franked mail totals for other North Carolina congressmen through the 2nd quarter of 2017 is as follows:

• Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-1: $1,221.41

• Rep. George Holding, D-2: $515

• Rep. Walter Jones, R-3: $259

• Rep. David Price, D-4: $1,561

• Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5: $5,205

• Rep. Mark Walker: R-6: $1,406

• Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10: $2,370

• Rep. Mark Meadows, R-11: $9,055

• Rep. Alma Adams, D-12: $655



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