• 72°

Cunningham outraises Tillis, enters October with less cash

By BRYAN ANDERSON

Associated Press/Report for America

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis has entered the home stretch of his competitive and costly re-election bid with nearly $2.4 million more cash on hand than Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday.

But in the period from July 1 to Sept. 30, Cunningham raised far more money than Tillis, raking in more than $28.3 million. Tillis raised less than one-fourth of that, bringing in less than $6.6 million over the same period of time.

According to Advertising Analytics, a company that tracks political television ad spending, North Carolina’s Senate contest this year is the most expensive Senate race ever, with more than $242 million spent on ads. According to Kantar Media, the campaigns and outside groups have flooded the broadcast airwaves with tens of millions of dollars dedicated to reaching voters in the Raleigh and Charlotte areas.

The flurry of donations and spending comes as Democrats hope a Cunningham win will prompt the GOP to lose its Senate majority — a majority that has been used to reshape the courts, including the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices and a likely third under President Donald Trump.

A New York Times/Siena College poll of likely North Carolina voters showed Cunningham and Tillis in a close race. Cunningham’s 4-point lead was within the margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. Of the 627 people surveyed between Oct. 9 and Oct. 13, Cunningham got 41% support, Tillis got 37% support and 15% were undecided.

The race was shaken up earlier this month after Cunningham confirmed on Oct. 2 that he sent romantic messages to Arlene Guzman Todd, a public relations strategist. The California woman told The Associated Press she had an intimate encounter this summer with Cunningham, who is married and has two teenage kids.

In text messages to her friend, Guzman Todd said she was physically intimate with Cunningham in his Raleigh home in July. Shortly after the revelations, the U.S. Army confirmed it opened an investigation into the matter.

During an Oct. 9 news conference conducted virtually, Cunningham on four occasions declined to answer reporter questions about whether other affairs could surface.

Hours before Cunningham confirmed he sent romantic text messages to Guzman Todd, Tillis announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Cunningham has committed to remaining in the race and is hoping voters will see past his personal life, while Tillis is aligning himself closely with Trump and pushing for the confirmation of the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

___

Follow Anderson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BryanRAnderson.

___

Anderson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Comments

BREAKING NEWS

Sheriff’s Office: Two deputies injured, suspect shot during chase on U.S. 601

Education

One speaks, two write to oppose Enochville Elementary closure

Local

City partners with Rowan Helping Ministries to establish donation-driven utilities assistance program

Elections

Board of Elections continues counting absentee ballots, resumes ‘curing’ deficient ones

Business

County commissioners delay consideration of new events center in China Grove

Coronavirus

New COVID-19 outbreak emerges at N.C. State Veterans Home, another declared over

Crime

Police: Two armed men rob local convenience store

Crime

Blotter: Local woman swindled out of hundreds in gift card scam

News

‘People are the parade’: Salisbury’s annual Christmas parade reinvents itself in year of coronavirus

News

Commissioners grant permit, allow Reaper’s Realm to continue operations for remainder of Halloween season

Elections

Republican Rep. Budd maintains fundraising lead over Democratic challenger Huffman

Local

City council to consider ‘Share 2 Care’ fund for locals behind on water, sewer payments

Education

None speak against closure during hearing to shutter Faith Elementary

Crime

Blotter: Police find car windows shot out, bullet holes in home on West Horah Street

Crime

Five held at gunpoint in East Lafayette Street robbery

Ask Us

Ask Us: Readers ask questions about Shober Bridge, voting safeguards

Elections

Political notebook: More than 1.4 million votes cast already in North Carolina

Elections

‘Souls to the polls’: More than 1,300 cast ballots on first Sunday of early voting

Crime

Crime blotter: Salisbury man faces charges for firing shotgun in city limits, drug possession

Local

Search continues for missing hiker from Asheville

Local

A stroll through the scarecrows: fall-themed activity draws visitors to NC Transportation Museum

Elections

Despite scandal, Cunningham maintains small lead in Senate race; supporters say policy positions more important

Lifestyle

Rowan Helping Ministries golf tournament raises $20,000

Local

Town of Spencer forging ahead five years after drafting plans for Park Plaza