UPDATED: Spending takes off in Buncombe commissioner races; Chair candidates loan campaigns big bucks

BUDGET FINALIZED: The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a budget during its meeting June 21. The spending plan includes a property tax hike of 2.6 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

Third-quarter campaign finance reports came due on Monday, Oct. 31, and Xpress looked at  how much money Buncombe County Board of Commissioners candidates raised and where they spent that money.


The two candidates for Chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners have loaned their campaigns a combined total of $272,000. Democrat Brownie Newman loaned his campaign $42,000 and Republican Chuck Archerd loaned himself $230,000 according to the candidates’ campaign finance reports.

Newman reported that he raised $53,750 in the third quarter; the bulk of that money came from a $42,000 loan made to his campaign by Newman himself. Newman currently holds one of two District 1 seats on the board; he is not up for re-election this year.

Newman’s report states he spent $52,013 during the third quarter, with the largest expenditure being $41,947 with local television station WLOS.

You can view Newman’s third-quarter report here.

After this story ran, Xpress received an email with Archerd’s third-quarter campaign report. The report states he raised $268,757 with the bulk of that coming from a $230,000 personal loan from Archerd himself. The report also states Archerd spent $255,360 in the third quarter, with the majority of that money going to The Goss Agency, an Asheville-based marketing company.

The Board of Elections tells Xpress Archerd’s campaign report arrived via mail on Tuesday, Nov. 1 and was postmarked Oct. 31. It was received after Xpress requested campaign reports earlier on Nov. 1.

You can view Archerd’s third-quarter report here.

Also, as of Oct. 23, all campaign donations must be filed within 48 hours of receipt. Archerd filed one such report on Oct. 28 showing he received $1,000 from the N.C. Realtors PAC out of Greensboro.

District 2

In District 2, incumbent Republican Mike Fryar‘s third-quarter report states he raised $23,732 in the third quarter, for a total of $42,204 for the election cycle.

The report states he spent $30,514  in the third quarter. Fryar’s largest expenditure during the period was $6,363 to I Heart Media Co., a cluster of Asheville-based radio stations.

Fryar also filed a 48 hour report on Oct. 28 stating he received $1,000 from the N.C. Realtors PAC out of Greensboro.

You can view all of Fryar’s contributions and expenditures here.

Democratic challenger Nancy Nehls Nelson, report was not available when Xpress originally requested the reports but has since been made available. Her report states she raised $15,106 with $12,980 of that coming from individuals.

The report states Nehls Nelson spent $18,714 during the third quarter with the largest expenditure being $5,081 with Silver Muse Productions, an Asheville-based communications company.

You can view Nehls Nelson’s contributions and expenditures here.

District 3 (short-term)

David King, a Democrat running for the short-term District 3 seat, states he raised $27,057 in the third quarter, bringing his grand total to $29,082. King also received $1,000 from the N.C. Sierra Club PAC, which is based out of Raleigh.

His report states he spent $17,501.52 in the third quarter, with the largest expenditure being $7,409 to NC Voter Code, a campaign consulting company.

You can view all of King’s contributions and expenditures here.

King is facing Republican Robert Pressley. Pressley’s report states he raised $10,960 during the third quarter. One contribution of particular note is $2,896 from the Committee To Elect Miranda DeBruhl, whose resignation created the need for this race.

Pressley’s largest expenditure was $2,943 to an Ohio-based sign company.

You can view Pressley’s third quarter report here.

District 3

In the other District 3 race, incumbent Republican Joe Belcher‘s report states he raised $15,493 during the third quarter, with all but $500 coming from individual contributions.

The report states he spent $17,907 during the third quarter, with the largest expenditure being $4,567 to I Heart Media.

You can view Belcher’s entire third quarter report here.

Belcher’s opponent, Democrat Ed Hay, reported raising $13,256 during the third quarter.

The report states Hay spent $17,184 during the third quarter, with the largest expenditure being three payments totaling $10,667 to NC Voter Code.

You can view Hay’s entire third quarter report here.

District 1

In District 1 Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is running unopposed. Her report states she raised $987 in the third quarter.

You can view her third-quarter report here.

Xpress will update links to third-quarter and 48-hour reports as they come in.

In the meanwhile, you can view questionnaires with all of the county commissioner candidates in Xpress‘ election guide here.



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About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at dhesse@mountainx.com.

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9 thoughts on “UPDATED: Spending takes off in Buncombe commissioner races; Chair candidates loan campaigns big bucks

  1. Lulz

    LOL, and these people identify with the working class living paycheck to paycheck? Again, they raise taxes because they can afford to. Even if the money is misspent. I and others though cannot. And their minions who support this insanity are just as able to pay.

    They are disconnected from their wages.

  2. keith

    $230,000 is a lot to buy control, even for a big developer. Must expect a huge return on his investment.

  3. luther blissett

    “The report also states Archerd spent $255,360 in the third quarter”

    And probably some more on cleaning up all those damn signs after him. But yeah, a cool quarter-million to a single marketing agency for a county campaign? That’s raising the stakes. $17k on “Computer Campaign”? $37k on “Design Work”? $35k on “Marketing Services”? Nice work if you can get it.

  4. bsummers

    It’s also peculiar to spend that much of your own money, when it’s so unlikely to succeed. Brownie is popular in Asheville, he’s a Democrat in a county that is majority Democrat, and there’s no scandals or major controversies about him or the County Commission in general. It seems to me he’s likely to win in a walk. Am I missing something here? Why is Archerd betting a quarter mil of his own money on this race?

    • keith

      Big developers would love to sieze control of a place with clean air and water, great schools, growing number of jobs in advanced manufacturing and clean energy.

      Thank the Democrats like David Gantt and Brownie Newman for making us such a valuable target to buy the control Archerd is gambling at the trump casino to win. His odds are only good if people fail to go register and vote before 1:30 on Saturday.

      • Lulz

        LOL, surely you mean the millions poured into a Bent Creek parcel by the democreep county board to bribe a brewery into locating here is typical democreep tactics? Even though the government is 400 million in debt? Or is it that spectacular 35K raise for the manager? Or is it the nepotism on the school board? The creeps haven’t done anything except mismanaged funds. Too bad your lackeys in the media don’t cover the fraud and cronyism though.

        • luther blissett

          You’ll be filing your candidacy papers next year, then? Or did you already do it this year and lose?

          Let’s remember that Archerd is only on the ballot (with the quarter-million he found in his sock drawer) because Miranda DeBruhl did a Sarah Palin and ran off to join the circus. Or something. The “lackeys in the media” never really bothered to ask. Did she even leave a forwarding address?

    • Lulz

      LOL, there are no scandals because the media is hiding them. Surely someone could see how Brownie has become wealthy while in government? Of course not because 2+2=5 lulz. Or the nepotism on the school board? Of course not because democreeps are pure and innocent lulz. You know, accusing one Presidential candidate of being a sexual predator but not looking at the various actions of the other that point to a hell of a lot of sexual misdeeds. Such as traveling to an island via the private plane of one of their bestest friends in the whole world. One who likes to pimp out children and other assorted hedonistic behavior to his friends lulz.

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