U.S. Sen. Richard Burr raised $1.7 million over the last three months, and has $3.8 million in cash for his re-election campaign next year, according to the Associated Press.
Burr, a Republican from Winston-Salem who was first elected in 2004, has been raising money despite the fact that the North Carolina Democratic Party hasn't found anyone to challenge him.
While independent political action committees’ spending will likely outstrip direct efforts from Burr and any of his challengers, his early lead could indirectly discourage challengers, said Andy Taylor, political science professor at N.C. State University.
Former Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, has said she will not challenge Burr. Hagan, who lost by less than 2 percentage points to Republican Thom Tillis last year, would have likely been one of Democrats’ best chances at defeating Burr, given her name recognition and established donor network.
“Burr’s worked hard to raise money, and it’s had the effect, by design or not, to help discourage some of these Democrats who many people thought might be running,” Taylor said.
Democratic organizers have considered other prospects, according to the McClatchy Washington Bureau: state Sen. Dan Blue of Wake County, former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, state Treasurer Janet Cowell, state Rep. Grier Martin of Raleigh and state Sen. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte.