Democrat Cal Cunningham raised more than $28 million in the third quarter of the year for his campaign to unseat Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), setting a record for the most raised in a single quarter by any North Carolina politician.
Cunningham’s $28.3 million quarterly haul is nearly four times as much as the $7.4 million he raised in the second quarter. The massive fundraising sum likely puts Cunningham in a strong position heading into the crucial final month of his campaign.
His campaign said that more than 40,000 North Carolinians had given to his Senate bid over the past three months, with many of them contributing more than once. Ninety-six percent of donations were under $100, the campaign said.
Two polls released this week show Democrat Cal Cunningham still leading incumbent Republican Thom Tillis in the closely-watched North Carolina U.S. Senate race. They’re the first polls done since the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the ensuing political battle over her replacement on the court.
Tillis, who has been trailing in polls all year, shifted his campaign’s focus last week to the approval of Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg. That change didn't affect the latest polls much. A Meredith College poll of registered voters released Monday shows him behind Cunningham 43.1% to 41.8%, a margin that is in the poll's statistical margin of error. That's closest Tillis has been in any poll to Cunningham in months. A poll from UMass-Lowell released Tuesday, which surveyed likely voters, has Cunningham up 49 to 43%. The North Carolina election is considered crucial nationally, as it is seen along with Arizona, Colorado, and Maine as one of the four states that Democrats could win to retake control of the U.S. Senate.
The new focus on the Supreme Court opening and confirmation process in the U.S. Senate isn't likely to sway voters to either candidate says Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper. If Tillis thinks the issue could fire up his base of voters, the same could be true of Cunningham supporters reasons Cooper. “There's an old saying for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. It's not just true in physics, but it's also true in politics as well,” Cooper says. “I think (the Supreme Court opening” is going to activate both bases. I don't think it's going to persuade anyone. But it may take the volume which is already at ten, and crank it up to eleven.”
Also, this poll came out today:
In this new round of rating changes from Inside Elections, the reelection races of GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Thom Tillis of North Carolina both move from Toss-up to Tilt Democratic. While each race has some unique characteristics, both incumbents have been consistently behind or just even with their challengers in the polls for a while, and both should now be considered at least narrow underdogs to win in November.
Democratic prospects in South Carolina are also improving as the Senate race moves from Lean Republican to Tilt Republican. Democrat Jaime Harrison has the momentum against GOP incumbent Lindsey Graham. The question is whether he can get the last few difficult points to win or he becomes this cycle’s Beto O’Rourke.
With the recent rating changes, Democrats currently have the advantage in four races with Republican incumbents: Colorado (Cory Gardner), Arizona (Martha McSally) and now Maine and North Carolina. If Democrats indeed win that quartet of races, they can control the Senate if Joe Biden wins the presidential race, even if Democratic Sen. Doug Jones loses in Alabama since a Vice President Kamala Harris would break any 50-50 ties.
The good news for Democrats is that they have more opportunities than just those four races. Iowa, Montana, Kansas, South Carolina, and the two Georgia races are very competitive. And Texas and Alaska can’t be ignored.
Let’s keep up the momentum and flip North Carolina Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Cunningham, Cooper, Biden and their fellow North Carolina Democrats campaigns: