The governor’s race in North Carolina is expected to be one of the most expensive ones in the country this year. But the candidates aren’t the ones footing the bill, so far.
The contest has created a battle between outside interests groups that have outspent the candidates 47-1 on TV ads, according to a report from The Center for Public Integrity, with 11 outside interest groups spending an estimated $3.7 million so far.
[Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call Governors Race Ratings]
Incumbent Republican Pat McCrory has spent about $78,000 on TV ads this cycle and Democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper does not appear to have spent any so far.
The Center for Public Integrity does point out that each of the candidates have scheduled millions dollars for TV ads as the election gets closer.
“North Carolina has always been a pretty politically competitive state, and both Democrats and Republicans feel it’s winnable this year,” Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, told CPI. “It is also one of the only states that should be competitive for the governor’s, senatorial and presidential races in the state, so expect a boost of outside and ‘dark money’ there.”
The race, rated Tossup by Rothenberg-Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call, is one of the few opportunities for Democrats to flip a governor’s seat this year. It is also one of the tightest — the most recent Real Clear Politics poll average shows McCrory up by .3 percent.
Candidates, political parties and outside players have spent more than $53 million on TV ads so far in state-level races in 30 states.