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Late surge in Dem fundraising for WNC General Assembly races

Late surge in Dem fundraising for WNC General Assembly races Smoky Mountain News

Third quarter fundraising reports submitted by candidates to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement last week show most Democratic challengers in Western North Carolina with substantial fundraising advantages over their Republican incumbent opponents.

The exception is Clay County Democrat Aaron Martin, who is running against Rep. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, for the state’s 120th legislative district; Martin had his biggest quarter yet with receipts of $2,650 but to date has only raised $3,907 for the entire election cycle, which dates back to Jan. 1, 2017. Corbin’s raised more than $65,000 in that time.

That’s not so for the three other Democrats hoping to unseat Burnsville Rep. Michele Presnell, Bryson City Rep. Mike Clampitt and Franklin Sen. Jim Davis.

Davis’ opponent, Franklin Dem Bob Kuppers, hauled in $56,925 during the third quarter, pushing his total for the cycle to just under $100,000.

Sen. Davis took in $36,257 during the third quarter, giving him a total of just over $73,000, far below the $130,651 he’d raised by this point in his 2016 contest with Waynesville Democrat Jane Hipps, who’d turned in reports showing $398,965 for that cycle to date.

In 2016, Rep. Clampitt prevailed over Waynesville Dem incumbent Rep. Joe Sam Queen in one of the closest House races in the state – less than 300 votes. Clampitt’s total for the 2018 election cycle grew to almost $34,000 on third quarter fundraising of $11,683. Queen, on the other hand, hauled in a whopping $347,000 pushing his cycle total to almost $431,000.

By comparison, when Queen faced Clampitt in 2016, Queen had raised $16,030 during the third quarter, and $46,360 for the cycle to date. Clampitt’s 2016 Q3 total was $22,226, contributing to his $30,181 total for the cycle up to that point.

Clampitt’s seat is an important one for Republicans to protect if they’re going to preserve their veto-proof supermajority in the General Assembly over Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper; a net loss of four seats across the state would do the trick for Dems.

Another important seat for Republicans, that of Rep. Presnell, isn’t as vulnerable as Clampitt’s is, but is still considered vulnerable by Democrats. Presnell pulled in more than $116,000 during the third quarter, growing her total to almost $131,000 for the cycle, as compared to her 2016 Q3 take of $93,227. Presnell did not provide cycle totals in her 2016 reports.

Her opponent, Canton Democrat Rhonda Cole Schandevel, raised almost $173,000 during the quarter, giving her a $100,000 lead over Presnell and a cycle total of $229,881. In 2016, Schandevel raised $297,516 in the third quarter, adding to her $398,042 total for the cycle.

Reports reflect contributions received through Oct. 20.

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