NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - As races heat up for the 2020 elections in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper and Lt. Governor Dan Forest should have no problem when it comes to funding their campaigns.
The “Council of State Affiliated Party Committees” allows elected state leaders to solicit and accept donations of any size from their party. There is no limit to how much money can be raised by the committees.
But, another gubernatorial candidate, Rep Holly Grange (R-New Hanover), will not have the same advantage. She is not a member of the Council of State. Campaign finance laws cap contributions from her supporters at $5,400.
The General Assembly passed legislation allowing the committees in 2015.
Governor Roy Cooper created the N.C. Democratic Leadership Committee in January, and according to campaign finance reports, nearly $1.8 million has been donated to the committee since then. Nearly $200,000 of that has gone to Cooper’s re-election campaign, mainly in the form of fundraising and compliance consulting.
The contributions have been made by just a handful of donors, with one donating as much as $250,000 at one time.
Forest has led the N.C. Republican Council of State Committee since its creation in 2017. Since then, $1.6 million has been donated.
Campaign finance reports show as of July 27, 2019, Grange has received $53,192 in campaign contributions.
Grange was not available for interview on the subject, but did release the following statement:
As you know, I was not in the Legislature when this provision passed. What I will say is that my campaign is being funded by good, honest people from across the state of North Carolina who are sick and tired of Governor Cooper’s lack of leadership and are ready to shake up the State Capitol. If you have any further questions please reach out to my campaign team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forest, who will be Grange’s opponent in the GOP primary, declined to comment on this story. WECT has also reached out to Cooper for comment, and has yet to hear back.