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WATAUGA COUNTY – Now that the 2018 election races are set, the candidates will be campaigning across their districts in an attempt to rally support and court voters. Those efforts can add up in the checkbook, from renting space and post office boxes to paying consultants and much more.

As political candidates, candidates need registered campaigns to manage funds for an election. And on a regular basis, these campaigns have to file reports to show how much each candidate has raised, where the money came from and how it was spent.

The Federal Election Commission keeps track of campaign finance reports for federal offices. For non-election years, Congressional committees are required to file one yearly report, which covers Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017. Going into an election year, the filing deadlines are quarterly, including an extra pre- and post-election filing, making six in total. 

In the race for the U.S. House of Representatives — N.C. 5th District, the incumbent U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) will see five different challengers, two from each major party.

In 2017, Virginia Foxx for Congress raised $1,190.332.71. Of that amount, $516,600 came from 268 different political action committees, which are groups formed (as by an industry or an issue-oriented organization) to raise and contribute money to the campaigns of candidates likely to advance the group’s interests.

Both of Foxx’s Republican primary opponents, Cortland J. Meader Jr. of Mocksville and Dillon Gentry of Banner Elk, do not have financial records on file, although Meader for Congress was registered as a principal campaign committee in 2018.

As far as Foxx’s Democratic opponents, Jenny Marshall of Winston-Salem and D.D. Adams of Winston-Salem both have raised significant funds, but not at the level of Foxx.

To Elect Jenny Marshall raised $80,369.30 in 2017, all of which came from individual contributions plus a $1,600 loan.

D.D. Adams for Congress raised $96,973.21 in 2017, most of which came from individual contributions, minus $2,500 in other (non-PAC) committee contributions, a $5,000 loan and $1,348.29 of Adams’ personal contributions.

In terms of cash on hand, Foxx's campaign has a war chest of $2,820,172.77 as of Dec. 31, 2017, while Marshall's reported $17,717.43 and Adams' had $10,962.92.

According to Adams' campaign finance reports, much of the $87,010.29 in 2017 expenditures were in media/PR and consultant fees, as well as staff salary payments. Marshall's campaign spent $58,505.98 in 2017 mostly spent on salaries, data processing software, consulting fees and travel reimbursements. Foxx's campaign spent $681,649.97 in 2017, including $225,000 for the National Republican Congressional Committee as a donation as well which mostly consisted of salary payments and consulting fees.

The Foxx campaign's $2.8 million cash on hand is by far the most among any N.C. Congressional representative campaign from the U.S. House or Senate. Second-closest is the campaign committee for Patrick McHenry (R-Hickory), who reported $2,000,034.90 on file. All but one other N.C. Congressional representative's campaign had less than a million in cash on hand.

On the state level, campaign finances are managed by the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics, which requires semi-annual reports in all years, such as 2017. In election years such as 2018, campaigns must submit quarterly reports as well as semi-annual reports for a total of six.

In the double-bunked N.C. Senate District 45, Sen. Shirley Randleman (R-Wilkesboro) and Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Blowing Rock) will be in a primary contest on May 8 to see who goes to the November general election.

According to campaign finance records, the Randleman Senate Campaign raised $23,700, of which $21,000 came from individuals, in a six-month period from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2017.

So far, Randleman has outpaced Ballard in raising money. In the same period, according to submitted records, The Committee to Elect Ballard for N.C. Senate raised $7,378.

In terms of cash on hand, as of the last reports submitted, as of Dec. 31, 2017, Randleman's campaign had $39,032.05 while Ballard's was at $4,117.17.

Democratic opponent Brandon Anderson of Millers Creek organized his campaign on Jan. 16 and has not filed any financial reports.

For the N.C. House District 93 seat, challengers Ray Russell, a Boone Democrat, and Robert Block, a Boone Republican, will seek to unseat incumbent Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R-Jefferson).

Between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2017, according to the financial records, Ray Russell for N.C. raised $29,330.75, of which all were individual contributions except for a $2,600 PAC donation. During the same period, The Committee to Elect Jonathan Jordan raised $8,593.15, of which $2,889.25 came from political party committees and PACs while $423.86 came from loan proceeds. The Committee to Elect Robert Block raised $1,944.69, all from individual contributions, in his first six months of campaigning.

As of Dec. 31, 2017, Russell's campaign reported $19,730.63 in cash on hand while Jordan's noted $3,532.60 and Block's was at $106.04.

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