End-of-the-year fundraising reports provide a window into how the two candidates in North Carolina’s 9th District have been approaching a new election that hasn’t yet been called and isn’t certain to happen.
Democrat Dan McCready ended the year with $378,000 in the bank compared to $19,000 for Republican Mark Harris, whose campaign reported debts of $86,000. McCready has yet to pay himself back $250,000 of a $500,000 loan he made to his campaign in late October.
The fundraising reports cover the period between Nov. 27 and Dec. 31 and were due to the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 31.
McCready announced late last month that he had raised more than $500,000 in the five weeks since he withdrew his concession on Dec. 6. He contributed about $10,000 of his own money to the campaign during the final month of the year.
Harris raised about $4,000 in the final month of the year, and did not make any personal contributions.
The Republican originally led by 905 votes, but The Associated Press retracted its call for Harris after the state board delayed certifying the election results because of allegations that a contractor for the Harris campaign had illegally tampered with absentee ballots. McCready and other Democratic lawmakers have been sending out fundraising emails about the yet-to-be-called election.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday appointed five new members of the state board of elections, which will hold an evidentiary hearing in February on allegations of election fraud.
Harris spent about $7,000 during the final month of the year. His itemized disbursements included three expenses: $150 for stamps, $3,700 for “Women for Mark Harris” T-shirts, and a $2,700 refund to a donor in Florida. No legal expenses were listed.
Harris owes about $53,000 to the Red Dome Group, which is the consulting firm that hired McCrae Dowless, the contractor who allegedly orchestrated the illegal collection of absentee ballots. Also listed under Harris’ debts is a $25,000 “2018 Election Cycle Win Bonus-payment” to consulting firm On Message Inc.
McCready spent $175,000 during the final month of the year. Those expenditures included normal end-of-the-year expenses such as payroll, postage and computer equipment, as well as payments that suggest a more active operation. The campaign paid $13,000 to the Sexton Group for phone banks, $63,000 to Aisle 518 Strategies for online advertising and nearly $16,000 to Perkins Coie for legal services. Lawyer Marc Elias has been representing the McCready campaign.
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