Beasley ahead of Budd in fundraising, cash in NC Senate race
Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley's campaign entered this summer with a cash advantage over Republican candidate Ted Budd, while also outraising him handily over the past three months in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race.
Budd's campaign collected over $2.1 million during the second quarter, of which $1.8 million was accounted for in a campaign finance report essentially covering May and June and due Friday at the Federal Election Commission.
The second-quarter total was less than one-third of the more than $7.4 million that Beasley had already announced a couple days before the FEC filing deadline. Of her total, $6.4 million was collected from April 28 through June 30, her campaign reported. The candidates already had filed reports in advance of their May 17 primary elections that covered April's first four weeks.
As far as cash on hand, Beasley reported $4.8 million in her campaign coffers beginning in July, while Budd had $1.8 million.
Beasley's campaign last week already trumpeted her figures as the largest raised in a second fundraising quarter by a U.S. Senate candidate in North Carolina. Budd's campaign sought to downplay Beasley's financial lead, saying in a news release that it anticipated getting outraised, and crediting the ActBlue online fundraising program for attracting donors to her.
Budd adviser Jonathan Felts also said that North Carolina GOP Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr won statewide elections dating back to 2014 despite getting outraised by their Democratic rivals. Beasley and Budd are running to succeed Burr, who isn't seeking reelection. The Beasley-Budd race could determine the Senate's majority in a chamber that is currently equally divided among Democrats and Republicans.
National Republican groups have already said they plan to spend tens of millions of dollars on advertisements in North Carolina helping Budd or criticizing Beasley, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court. The National Republican Senatorial Committee already has run commercials questioning some of Beasley's legal rulings. The Senate Majority PAC, which supports Democratic candidates, responded with its own ad.
Beasley campaign spokesperson Dory MacMillan said Monday in a news release that while Beasley has received “unmatched support” for her Senate bid, national Republicans are working to “prop up” Budd.
Beasley, meanwhile, has been running commercials for the general election. In the latest one she criticizes Budd, a central North Carolina congressman, for voting this spring against a bill that would have capped insulin prices for consumers.
Since getting into the race in April 2021, Beasley’s campaign has raised $16 million. Budd has reported raising $6.4 million since early 2021.
While both Beasley and Budd won their primary elections by comfortable margins, it was Budd who faced robust competition by former Gov. Pat McCrory and ex-Rep. Mark Walker.
Budd benefitted from well over $10 million in outside spending by the Club for Growth Action super PAC, which ran ads and mailers backing Budd and criticizing McCrory and Walker. Former President Donald Trump also endorsed Budd for the nomination.