In this year’s race for the 10th Congressional District seat, incumbent Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry has gained an enormous financial advantage over Democratic challenger Patsy Keever.
McHenry raised $950,120 for this year’s campaign as of June 30, the closing date for the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. That’s more than five times the total raised by the Keever campaign for the same period — $187,701.
“We’re proud to have such broad support from across the district,” says the McHenry campaign in a statement to Xpress.
A resident of Cherryville in Gaston County, McHenry brought in about $141,000 of his total from April 19 to June 30, according to the FEC. The campaign had about $297,000 cash on hand and no debt. Keever, who lives in south Asheville, had about $28,000 on hand and $15,000 of debt, according to the FEC.
However, the Keever campaign dismissed the financial handicap in its own statement to Xpress.
“The primary concern we’re hearing from folks across the 10th Congressional District is that there is too much money in politics these days,” it reads. “Ours is a grassroots campaign made up of volunteers throughout all seven counties of the 10th District. More than 1,300 supporters have made donations ranging from $1 to the maximum $2,500.”
About 87 percent of Keever’s haul came from individual donations, according to the FEC. About 5 percent of the total came from political action committees; 8 percent came from the candidate herself.
Meanwhile, 54 percent of McHenry’s total came from political action committees, and 46 percent came from individuals.
The Keever campaign sought to highlight that difference in its statement.
“We expected Patrick McHenry to have more money and are not surprised by the amount he’s raised. Nor are we surprised at where more than half of his cash came from,” the statement says, noting that PACs maintained by financial-services firms Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, as well as Rep. Eric Cantor’s PAC, contributed $10,000 each to McHenry.
“This flood of money is turning people off and threatening democracy,” the Keever campaign asserts. “While we intend to raise the money necessary to get our message out, our primary focus will be on finding common ground among voters and bringing people together to deal with the issues that confront us.”
McHenry is currently serving his fourth term and holds a position on the powerful House Financial Services Committee, which drafts and reviews all federal legislation involving the banking and financial-services industries, as well as monetary policy. His top three donors this election cycle are Wells Fargo, Advance America Cash Advance Centers and the American Bankers Association, according to the most recent data available from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The McHenry campaign brushes off Keever’s implication that donations from the financial industry influence his actions in Congress.
“Patrick has always considered any support for his campaign a recognition of his principles and ideas, not the other way around,” his campaign statement says. “This attack seems like a bit of a stretch from a candidate who has more contributions from New Jersey than from six of the seven counties in our district.”
Keever has received the vast majority of her individual campaign donations from Buncombe County residents, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Residents of Newark, N.J., donated the second-highest totals to her campaign ($2,500 total). Meanwhile, the McHenry campaign received the majority of its individual donations from residents of Gaston County.
The 10th District encompasses one of the most conservative areas in the state; it was redrawn last year to include most of Asheville for the first time.
Graph via the Federal Election Commission