Legislative challenger Gail Young outpaces incumbent in fundraising

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 28, 2019

By Liz Moomey

Since announcing her campaign for the N.C. House seat in District 83 on June 15, Democrat Gail Young has raised more than three times the amount of money as her opponent, incumbent Republican Rep. Larry Pittman.

As of the June 30 finance reporting deadline, Young’s campaign had $17,954 in cash on hand, compared to $5,382 for Pittman’s campaign.

Young’s campaign started the period with $6,072 in cash on hand.

Doshia James, Young’s campaign manager, said the campaign is not doing anything particularly innovative to raise money but is concentrating on building relationships with individual voters in District 83.

The campaign reported 125 individual donors with an average contribution of $104, with 76% coming from Cabarrus or Rowan counties and 98% from within the state.

Pittman’s campaign reported donations from 26 people.

James said Young decided to announce the campaign last month despite a municipal election in November and the filing period for the 2020 election not opening until December. She said the campaign has been questioned about that on the campaign trail.

“2020 is going to be an incredibly crowded field,” James said, adding that voters are paying attention to N.C. House races because they understand that change mostly comes from Raleigh, not Washington.

“I am humbled to have such strong support from residents across House District 83 and our great state,” Young said in a statement. “Our strength is reflective of not only the hard work of our grassroots campaign but also of the enthusiasm we are seeing on the ground for real change in Raleigh.”

Young said her campaign is focused on a strong public education system, access to affordable health care and fair elections. James said those issues affect voters regardless if they are conservative or liberal. Young gives voters an alternative to Pittman’s conservative views, which may turn off even Republicans, James said.

To keep the momentum going into November 2020, Young will continue to have grassroots fundraising and small-scale events such as get-togethers at individual homes.

Young unsuccessfully ran for Pittman’s seat in 2018. In that race, Pittman received 52.7% of the vote to Young’s 47.2%.

The campaign is using tactics learned in her first run and expanding the base of support by explaining that things can be different for Cabarrus and Rowan counties as growth comes, James said.

“North Carolina can have a positive and better future,” she said.

James said the 2020 election will be unprecedented, and Young hopes to continue building momentum.

“We’re excited about the enthusiasm at the start,” James said.

Pittman has been a House member for 41/2 years. He has said the 2020 run will be his last regardless if he wins or loses.

The latest campaign finance reports for Rowan’s other House incumbents were not available online on Friday.

State Sen. Carl Ford, R-33, reported having $5,319 in cash on hand after beginning the filing period with $2,035. Twenty-six people or groups have donated to Ford’s campaign committee.