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NC Legislative Races Double Down On Suburbs

An early voting location in Wake County
Jason deBruyn

Control of the North Carolina legislature will depend on suburban voters.

When it comes to campaign spending at the North Carolina House and Senate levels, both parties have poured the most money into suburban districts, many of which are considered toss-ups by political pundits.

During the heaviest part of campaigning for this election, the period from July 1 through Oct. 20, Republicans have spent $15.4 million and Democrats have spent $14.8 million, according to a WUNC analysis of campaign reports compiled by the N.C. Free Enterprise Foundation.

Most, though not all, candidates filed the appropriate paperwork, so while the analysis is not exhaustive, it paints an accurate overall picture of the campaigns so far.

At a high level, Republicans have outspent Democrats in tight Senate races, but the reverse is true for tight House races. The analysis was done by subtracting donations made to other candidates from a candidates expenditures. This factors out major fundraisers, like legislative leaders Phil Berger and Tim Moore, who raise a lot of money but give much of it away because they are in districts considered safe. This type of analysis gives an idea of where the parties think they have the best chance of gaining – or biggest risk of losing – seats.

Senate District 19 around Fayetteville has received the most money: More than $1.5 million combined. Republican Wesley Meredith has spent the majority in that race.

In the House, District 103 in suburban Charlotte has received the most, with a combined $1.3 million. There, Democrat Rachel Hunt has outspent her Republican opponent.

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