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Politics
Follow live coverage of the 2018 midterm elections, including results and analysis. Get caught up on the latest news.

Outside Groups Pour Millions Into NC Congressional Races

Screenshot of a political advertisement against Dan McCready, paid for by FRC Action.
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With only three North Carolina Congressional races considered competitive, Super PACs and other outside spenders haven't focused heavily on North Carolina. But they haven't ignored the state completely.

Of the more than $500 million spent in 122 House races by political action committees and other non-candidate organizations this election cycle through Oct. 31, nearly $15 million has been spent on races in North Carolina, according to data compiled from the Campaign Finance Institute.

Of that, half has been spent in the 9th Congressional district, a race between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. The district stretches from the southeastern suburbs of Charlotte along the South Carolina border to Fayetteville and is seen as a good investment because it's essentially an open seat after Harris defeated incumbent Robert Pittenger in this year's primary.

The two other districts considered competitive are the 13th and the 2nd. Outside groups have spent $4.3 million in the 13th, a Greensboro district in which Democrat Kathy Manning is challenging incumbent Republican Ted Budd. In the 2nd, outside groups have spent $3.3 million. In that race, Democrat Linda Coleman is challenging incumbent Republican George Holding.

In every race, negative advertising far outweighs positive ads, according to a WUNC analysis of independent expenditure reports. When filing spending reports with the Federal Elections Committee, organizations must self-report some information about that spending. Included in that info are data on what candidate or issue the spending targets and if that spending is directed for or against that candidate or issue.

In the three North Carolina races, outside spending in favor of the candidates has totaled $2.3 million, while spending against the candidates totaled $12.7 million.

A closer look at the three most competitive Congressional races in North Carolina:

NC District 9

In addition to outside spending, McCready has outraised Harris from his candidate committee as well. McCready's candidate committee has raised $4.9 million and Harris' candidate committee has raised $1.8 million.

Outside groups have spent $4.4 million in support of McCready while outside groups have spent $2.9 million in support of Harris. This race has seen the most amount of negative advertising, with only 9 percent of spending in favor of a candidate – as opposed to against the opponent.

Spending breakdown:

Democrat

  • For McCready: $265,000
  • Against Harris: $4.1 million

Republican

  • For Harris: $404,000
  • Against McCready: $2.5 million
NC District 2

While outside groups have spent slightly more in support of Coleman, Holding holds the advantage when comparing only the candidate's own fundraising. Holding's candidate committee has raised $2.7 million, while Coleman's committee has raised $1.1 million.

But outside groups have spent $1.5 million in support of Holding while outside groups have spent $1.8 million in support of Coleman.

Spending breakdown:

Democrat

  • For Coleman: $498,000
  • Against Holding: $1.3 million

Republican

  • For Holding: $36,000
  • Against Coleman: $1.5 million
NC District 13

While outside groups have spent more in support of Budd, Manning, has outraised him by a significant margin. Manning's candidate committee has raised $3.6 million while Budd's campaign committee has raised $2.1 million. This district has seen the most amount of positive advertising. Almost 25 percent of the outside spending in this race has been in favor of a candidate – as opposed to against the opponent.

Spending breakdown:

Democrat

  • For Manning: $489,000
  • Against Budd: $1.3 million

Republican

  • For Budd: $594,000
  • Against Manning: $2 million
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