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Area election spending hits $250K

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Republican candidates have pumped more than $250,000 into northeastern North Carolina's contested legislative primaries, based on their latest reports to the state.

Leading the pack in campaign spending is Senate District 1, where Dare County businessman Clark Twiddy has spent more than $118,000 in his bid to represent the 11-county district, according to election-to-date totals contained in his “first quarter plus” report submitted to the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement on Monday. He's also raised more than $143,000, most of it in loans to his campaign. He loaned $80,000 to the campaign last year, plus another $50,000 in January.

“If you're going to do something, you go all in,” Twiddy said Thursday of his investment into his campaign. He said he wants to show he's invested in his candidacy before asking others do so – and doesn't want to ask too much from donors before potentially needing their help in the general election, he said.

At the close of the reporting period, which was April 21, Twiddy also had $24,974 cash on hand.

Twiddy's opponent, Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, has only spent about $85,000 over the course of the election, while raising about $75,000. He ended the reporting period with only about $8,700 cash on hand.

Though Steinburg has raised less money, he's raised more from individual donors during the campaign, at $52,548 versus Twiddy's $13,075.

Those donations are indicative of Steinburg's support in the district. Asked about that, Twiddy said he wasn't concerned about the donations, and he reiterated he's held off asking people for donations for now.

Twiddy's report also details his spending; most of the campaign's money has gone to consulting, at about $70,000; $42,000 of that has gone to Campaign General, of Beaufort. He's also spent $15,000 on “digital media” through Stoneridge Communications.

In a followup interview, Doug Raymond, of Campaign General, clarified that the $42,000 total includes direct mail, digital, radio, TV and other campaign expenses, not just salary.

Steinburg's report shows his major expenses include about $31,000 on mailers and signs, $17,500 for consulting, and $9,545 for TV ads on Fox News.

Whoever wins the Republican Senate primary will presumably face Washington County Commissioner and Democrat Cole Phelps in the general election. The SBE's website shows that Phelps, who is the only valid Democratic candidate on the ballot, has filed organizational paperwork but raised no money yet.

The other contested Republican primaries in northeastern North Carolina are House District 1 and House District 6.

In House District 1, marketing consultant and former television anchor Candice Hunter, of Hertford, has out-raised and out-spent her opponent, former Chowan County Commissioner Edward Goodwin.

In the election to date, Hunter has raised more than $23,000 and spent $16,222, including about $1,700 on signage and in-kind contributions from Hunter of about $5,100. Hunter explained Thursday that she supported her campaign when it started, providing services as she would to a new client.

Goodwin's report shows he's raised $11,196 and spent $3,287 over the election.

Asked about the fundraising advantage over Goodwin, Hunter said she hadn't looked at his numbers and she's focused on working hard on her own campaign.

“I just ran my own race,” Hunter said.

In House District 6, Rep. Beverly Boswell, R-Dare, is facing a challenge from Currituck Board of Commissioners Chairman Bobby Hanig. The reports show Boswell has raised more money, but Hanig has spent more.

Boswell reported she's raised $24,800 over the election, including a $1,000 contribution received just after she turned in her quarterly report. She's spent $8,052, about $5,400 of that to Atlantic Media Research.

Boswell said she's been campaigning heavily through social media, as she's finding younger voters are harder to reach through print, TV and radio.

Conversely, Hanig has raised $12,659 but spent $20,497, counting $15,000 in “contributions to be reimbursed” from Hanig himself for consulting and advertising expenses. Hanig said Thursday his campaign is not running at a deficit, and he knew he would have to invest his own money to get his name and his message out.

Hanig also said he was pleased with the donations he's received so far, including $50 each from fellow Currituck commissioners Paul Beaumont, Mary Etheridge and Mike Payment.

A review of donations to House Districts 1 and 6 also suggest Twiddy and Steinburg have preferences in those races. Twiddy donated $250 to Boswell's campaign, while Steinburg's wife, Marie, donated $100 to Hanig's campaign. Twiddy's wife, Anna, also donated $250 to Hunter's campaign.

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