The News & Observer

BY JIM MORRILL

In what’s widely considered North Carolina’s most competitive congressional race, Republican Rep. Richard Hudson holds a sizable financial edge over his Democratic opponent — though she outraised him nearly 3-1 in the most recent quarter.

Hudson faces Democrat Pat Timmons-Goodson in the 8th District, which stretches from Cabarrus County to Cumberland.

This week he reported nearly $1.8 million in cash on hand to Timmons-Goodson’s $619,000. But fueled by online donations, she outraised Hudson over the past three months $846,000 to $329,000.

In a state where most congressional districts are considered safe for one party or the other, the 8th looms as a possible exception.

On Friday the non-partisan Cook Political Report changed the district’s rating from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican,” a move prompted by Timmons-Goodson’s recent fundraising performance.

“Republicans acknowledge that Hudson faces a real race after Democratic former state Supreme Court Justice Pat Timmons-Goodson outraised him . . . in the second quarter,” analyst David Wasserman wrote.

Cook also moved the 9th District, which runs from southeast Charlotte to Robeson County, from “solid” to “likely” Republican, in part because national polls show Democrat Joe Biden with a sizable lead over President Donald Trump.

In the 9th, GOP Rep. Dan Bishop reported $469,000 on hand at the end of June. Democrat Cynthia Wallace, a risk manager for a Charlotte bank, had $167,000.

Bishop won a special election last fall after the State Board of Elections threw out the 2018 result because of absentee ballot fraud in Bladen County. He beat Democrat Dan McCready, who spent nearly $14 million running in 2018 and 2019.

“President Trump’s weak standing nationally and in North Carolina means Bishop can’t take anything for granted,” Wasserman wrote. “In this environment, even Wallace is worth watching.”

The Cook Report gives both the 8th and 9th a partisan voting score of “R +8,” meaning Republicans are expected to perform eight points better in the district than nationally. A 2019 redistricting made both districts slightly more Democrat, according to an analysis by political scientist Chris Cooper of Western Carolina University. But analysts expect the 8th District to be a bigger Democratic target.

“On paper, both districts look like they should be competitive,” said Nathan Gonzales of the Washington-based Inside Elections. “The biggest difference is probably the quality of the challenger.”

THE CANDIDATES

A 65-year-old Fayetteville native, Timmons-Goodson became the first African American woman on the state Supreme Court in 2006. President Barack Obama nominated her to the federal bench in 2016, though the nomination didn’t make it through the Republican-controlled Senate.

She has raised a total of $1 million. Only a handful of Democratic challengers raised more in the second quarter, according to the Democratic National Congressional Committee.

More than $600,000 of her money came through ACT Blue, an online clearinghouse for Democratic candidates, and an additional $78,000 through Emily’s List. She also received almost $85,000 from political action committees.

Her donors included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and Rep. Adam Schiff of California.

“These numbers highlight the enthusiasm for Pat Timmons-Goodson and the momentum she has heading down the stretch,” said adviser Thomas Mills. “More than 85% of her money came from individuals and over half came from low-dollar donors.”

Hudson, 48, is from Concord. The one-time top aide to former GOP Rep. Robin Hayes and three other House members is seeking his fifth term. His wife, Renee, is chief of staff to Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway.

Hudson has raised more than $2.3 million for the campaign, according to the FEC.

“I am humbled and encouraged by the tremendous support the folks here at home in North Carolina continue to show,” Hudson said in a statement.

Of all the money he’s raised, nearly half — $1.1 million — came from PACs representing the health care industry, trade groups and House GOP leadership. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Hudson’s biggest contributor is the pharmaceutical industry, which has given him $138,000, followed by health care professionals and the real estate industry.

Timmons-Goodson’s biggest contributors are lawyers, who gave her $19,400, followed by health care workers and educators.

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