CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With donors suddenly covering their bases, the North Carolina Republican Party saw a surge in fundraising last year that all but erased a longtime Democratic edge and helped them capture the General Assembly for the first time since the 19th century.
The GOP tripled its fundraising since the 2006 mid-terms while the Democrats’ declined, according to new reports filed this week.
“This is the first year in my memory that we’ve been financially competitive,” said GOP chairman Tom Fetzer. “And it made a huge difference in our ability to gain back Republican majorities.”
The GOP’s legislative gains, coupled with the departures of key Democratic lawmakers, may signal a reversal of the long pattern of Democratic financial dominance.
“It’s going to be tougher to raise money when you’re not in control of the House and Senate,” said state Democratic chairman David Young.
The state GOP raised $6million for the 2010 elections compared to $7.6 million raised by the Democratic Party. That was three times what the GOP had raised in 2006, when their fundraising trailed Democrats’ 4-1.
And that’s just party fundraising.
Individual Republican candidates raised thousands more and spread the wealth.
Republican Sen. Bob Rucho, for example, ran unopposed in his southeast Mecklenburg district. But he raised $314,000 and shared it with the party and other candidates. Democrats had followed a similar strategy for years.
“We did take a page out of their book,” Rucho says. “We learned what they did. They were very good at it. And what we did was outwork them, outplayed them.”
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