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Cawthorn, Beach-Ferrara lead, Edwards gaining in campaign cash

While North Carolina’s congressional map for this year’s election remains in litigation, the candidates have been out on the trail raising campaign money.

Should he decide to return to the 11th Congressional District instead of moving east into what is now rated a less Republican-leaning district, incumbent Madison Cawthorn will bring a big war chest to the fight. After it rejected legislative and congressional maps drawn by the General Assembly, the state Supreme Court ordered the Legislature complete new maps by Feb. 18 and ordered filing to be reopened Thursday of this week.
Year-end campaign finance reports show Cawthorn leading all candidates in the district in fundraising, although he has spent most of the cash he raised. Reports show that the Hendersonville resident and first-term congressman raised $2.79 million, spent $2.6 million and had $282,000 in cash on Dec. 31. Of the total, $683,611 came from retirees and $75,241 from real estate brokers, followed by farming, health care and business services. Sixty percent of the take, or $1.7 million, came from donors giving $200 or less while 33 percent came from larger donors and $12,000 came from PACs, according to the campaign finance tracking site
Chuck Edwards, who is leaving his state Senate seat to run for Congress, reported that he raised $335,175, including $250,000 he loaned his campaign. Edwards seems to have cornered the market among Henderson County’s most reliable Republican donors, including car dealers, oil jobbers and developers. Edwards reported that his campaign had $328,527 in cash on Dec. 31.

"It's evident that our campaign is getting a lot of attention and building momentum," he said. His campaign kickoff last week "was probably a more substantial effort than the two weeks in the report you're looking at. With the holidays in there, there was little time to call on folks and ask for their support."

His fundraising is advancing because donors "can see that I have a clear conservative voting record, I've shown my work ethic in the Legislature and folks want to get behind a winner," he said. He said he doesn't know whether Cawthorn will reverse his decision to move to a newly redrawn district west of Charlotte but he took a veiled shot at the right-wing lightning rod.

"Folks there is one clear choice for Congress running in this district — one that's got a proven track record, one with in-depth business knowledge, the one that has an established conservative voting record and doesn't have just words to say to the voters. I can back it up with record."

Edwards says there's no truth to the suggestion from one of his opponents that he has tried to persuade other Republican candidates to withdraw.

"Nothing of the sort," he said. "All of us have had conversations with each other on our sincerity about carrying through with the race. I'm not trying to make any kind of a deal."
On the Democratic side, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the Buncombe County commissioner, United Church of Christ minister and LGBTQ activist, raked in an impressive haul of $1,179,063. She had spent $774,591 and had $404,473 cash on hand, reports showed.

Other campaign finance totals reported in the year-end filings:
• Josh Remillard, D, raised $330,643, spent $297,130 and had $33,513 cash on hand.
• Eric Gash, D, raised $318,319, spent $233,131 and had $85,188 cash on hand.
• Katie Dean, D, raised $54,576, spent $34,340 and had $20,236 cash on hand.
• Jan Carey, D, raised $52,883, spent $35,644 and had $13,347 cash on hand.
• Ken McKim, R, raised $250,677, spent $2,222 and had $248,455 cash on hand.
• Eric Batchelor, R, raised $35,253, spent $35,253 and had $0 cash on hand.
• Michele Woodhouse, R, raised $22,329, spent $2,431 and had $19,898 cash on hand.
• Rod Honeycutt, R, raised $11,930, spent $3,883 and had $8,547 cash on hand.
• Wendy Nevarez, R, raised $5,810, spent $3,479 and had $2,331 cash on hand.
• Matthew Burril, R, raised $375, spent $13 and had $362 cash on hand.
• David Coatney, Libertarian, raised $5,690, spent $3,102 and had $2,588 cash on hand.