Follow the money

The latest fundraising numbers are in — the last ones available before the Nov. 2 election — and for the Buncombe County GOP, it’s not a pretty picture.

The local Democratic Party raised more than twice as much money this year, with nearly 700 individual donors and almost $47,000 taken in between Jan. 1 and Oct. 16, according to reports filed with the State Board of Elections. In the same time frame, the Republican Party raised just over $19,000, and in the two months leading up to the election, the local GOP collected only $990 — all of it in September. The report shows no contributions for October.

September and October are typically critical months for political parties, as they concentrate on raising money for get-out-the-vote efforts. The Buncombe County Republican Party held two major fundraisers during this period: one featuring a rappelling event on the anniversary of Sept. 11, and an Oct. 4 telethon on Charter Cable.

Neither lived up to expectations. The 9/11 fundraiser generated just $310; and despite assurances by Chairman Chad Nesbitt that the telethon would raise between $250,000 and $300,000, it produced just $250, according to Treasurer Dorothea Alderfer.

Those results are also at odds with what the party chair told Xpress staff reporter Jake Frankel at an Oct. 12 League of Women Voters forum. Asked how the telethon had gone, Nesbitt said: “It was a huge success. We got a tremendous amount of phone calls in regards to it. I’m not sure the exact amount we’ve taken in so far; it’ll be in our report that we give to the Board of Elections.”

According to the report, however, the lone contribution received, for $250, was actually made Sept. 29 — five days before the telethon aired.

In contrast, the local Democratic Party raised $11,664 in September and October.

February was the best month for both parties: Republicans raised $10,161, and Democrats generated $18,816.

— Michael Muller can be reached at 251-1333, ext. 154, or at


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