January 25, 1999


The cost of a seat in the North Carolina General Assembly jumped again in the 1998 election, with the 170 winners spending $12 million according to unaudited reports filed at the state Board of Election.

That's three times the amount spent by winners in the 1992 election and a 32% jump over 1996.
At least 36 winners due to be sworn in on Wednesday spent over $100,000. That compares with 23 winners exceeding $100,000 in 1996 and just 2 in 1992.

The average House winner spent $53,090 in 1998, while the new Senators averaged $112,172.
Analysts say the "arms race" in political fundraising is fueled by intense bipartisan competition and a ready flow of cash from soft-money and special-interest donors seeking the advantages that money buys.

"While the candidates and parties jockey for partisan control, wealthy donors focus on investing in winners. Many of the big players, like Duke Energy, NationsBank, and the Home Builders PAC, now invest in both sides because overall the parties are very competitive and can deliver big returns on those investments," said Bob Hall of Democracy South, a campaign finance research and advocacy group.

Hall noted that the three top legislative spenders - Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, out-going House Speaker Harold Brubaker, and the expected new Speaker, Jim Black - each sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to other candidates or to party committees which, in turn, spent money on behalf of those candidates. Legislative leaders can attract big donations, and then use them for partisan gain.

Party committees, which can accept unlimited amounts from donors, were especially active in funneling money into targeted campaigns, Hall said. Walter R. Davis a Texas oilman with North Carolina roots gave $250,000 to the various state Democratic Party committees in 1998, while Richard Mellon Scaife, a Pittsburgh donor to conservative causes, gave $50,000 to the state Republican Party.

The rapid rise in fundraising is also fueling more calls for campaign finance reform. A poll this fall by the Mellman Group in Washington shows that 2 out 3 North Carolinians want serious remedies, including public financing, as a means to challenge special-interest dominance in elections.

Meanwhile, more politicians are publicly expressing concern over the big-money arms race.
Gov. Jim Hunt, Senate leader Marc Basnight, and Rep. Jim Black have expressed a strong desire to control political spending. They'll get their chance now that Democrats control both House and Senate.

Because of a 1976 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which said political spending is a form of free speech, the state can not mandate a cap on campaign spending. The only constitutional solution is to provide incentives, including an alternative source of campaign money, to those candidates who voluntarily accept a spending ceiling.

More than a dozen public financing programs exist around the country, with four states providing full financing to candidates who demonstrate a strong base of voter support. The latter option, called the Clean Election program, as well as partial public-funding programs in such states as Florida and Kentucky, will likely be debated this year in both chambers of the General Assembly.


Marc Basnight Senate Dem $734,994 $760,429
Harold J. Brubaker House Rep 477,205 434,089
James B. Black House Dem 453,875 521,525
David Miner House Rep 366,577 361,946
Howard N. Lee Senate Dem 303,601 290,776
Oscar N. Harris Senate Dem 266,598 270,786
T.L. (Fountain) Odom Senate Dem 265,995 280,725
Beverly M. Perdue Senate Dem 252,117 255,501
Linda Garrou Senate Dem 250,711 258,880
Eric Miller Reeves Senate Dem 224,366 254,858
Charles N. Carter Senate Dem 221,623 237,816
N. Leo Daughtry House Rep 219,153 445,405
Nurham Warwick House Dem 219,031 220,347
Walter H. Dalton Senate Dem 203,072 196,922
Philip A. Baddour House Dem 194,750 208,339
Anthony E. (Tony) Rand Senate Dem 193,501 270,083
Steve Metcalf Senate Dem 193,478 203,613
Brad Miller Senate Dem 187,154 184,770
William R. Purcell Senate Dem 176,199 187,870
Richard T. Morgan House Rep 174,152 336,220
Jim W. Phillips Senate Dem 159,619 163,287
Kay R. Hagan Senate Dem 158,348 165,080
Edward N. Warren Senate Dem 156,409 157,302
Charles B. Neely House Rep 153,221 203,368
Allen H. Wellons Senate Dem 151,177 161,514
John H. Kerr Senate Dem 133,603 151,714
Leslie Cox House Dem 124,950 134,984
William James Horn House Dem 120,526 131,202
Andy Dedmon House Dem 119,203 118,653
Ronald L. Smith House Dem 116,974 125,282
Richard L. Moore House Dem 109,275 115,869
Lanier M. Cansler House Rep 106,205 124,662
Patrick J. Ballantine Senate Rep 104,804 103,006
Charles W. Albertson Senate Dem 102,095 105,040
Scott Thomas House Dem 101,736 114,196
Zeno L. Edwards House Dem 100,672 108,646
Aaron W. Plyler Senate Dem 99,587 174,138
Edd Nye House Dem 95,701 91,590
Lyons Gray House Rep 88,628 132,154
Wilma M. Sherrill House Rep 88,009 113,493
David W. Hoyle Senate Dem 84,791 130,384
John D. Bridgeman House Dem 81,382 82,195
Russell E. Tucker House Dem 80,650 85,579
Hugh Webster Senate Rep 78,710 93,394
Jean R. Preston House Rep 77,722 81,915
Mary Jarrell House Dem 77,058 81,603
E. Nelson Cole House Dem 76,086 88,253
W. Edwin McMahan House Rep 71,321 84,700
Donald Spencer Davis House Rep 70,513 75,364
Amelia A. H. Morris House Rep 69,038 73,303
John W. Hurley House Dem 67,246


Robt Mitchell Gillespie House Rep 66,856 67,653
Danny McComas House Rep 66,780 87,353
Ellie Kinnaird Senate Dem 64,954 67,566
Robert A. Rucho Senate Rep 64,240 65,460
Martin L. Nesbitt House Dem 63,477 58,893
Jane H. Mosley House Dem 63,168 69,806
Max Melton House Dem 62,504 67,632
Fletcher L. Hartsell Senate Rep 61,897 62,675
R.L. (Bob) Martin Senate Dem 60,243 60,514
E. David Redwine House Dem 60,242 64,056
John Melvin Rayfield House Rep 59,492 61,708
Daniel W. Barefoot House Dem 59,139 64,632
Maggie Jeffus House Dem 58,342 68,377
Marian N. McLawhorn House Dem 58,311 57,833
McDaniel Robinson Senate Dem 58,221 62,335
R.C. Soles Senate Dem 56,791 64,944
Larry T. Justus House Rep 55,175 55,580
Daniel Blue House Dem 52,193 53,985
David F. Weinstein Senate Dem 51,787 75,317
Kenneth R. Moore Senate Rep 50,816 53,392
Trudi Walend House Rep 50,336 52,605


David Gordon Hipps Senate Rep $143,164 $165,383
John M. Blust Senate Rep 141,549 140,725
Johnnie D. Manning House Rep 121,784 94,727
John M. Nichols House Rep 119,111 116,054
Gene A. Miller House Dem 105,906 105,906
Edwin M. (Sandy) Hardy House Rep 102,507 112,081
Alfred (Al) Freimark House Rep 98,151 101,622
George Wilson House Rep 96,249 95,753
Donald M. Dawkins Senate Rep 86,090 88,497
Teena S. Little Senate Rep 78,332 86,756
James Mark McDaniel Senate Rep 75,947 76,127
John W. Bryant Senate Rep 75,275 84,945
M.W. Aldridge House Rep 74,806 70,870
Annette Bryant House Dem 71,421 71,421
Arlene C. Pulley House Rep 70,628 71,871
Bobby Ray Hall House Rep 68,742 64,305
J. Curtis Blackwood Senate Rep 65,497 68,788
Orice Alexander Ritch House Dem 64,762 64,762
Doris Leonhardt Lail House Rep 64,590 64,590
Russell Wes Southern Senate Rep 62,787 55,635
Louis M. Pate House Rep 60,657 60,621

NOTE: No legislative candidate who spent at least $150,000 lost.

* Spending includes operating expenses, in-kind expenses, loan repayments,
contributions to other candidates or political committees, and coordinated
party expenditures.

** Receipts includes contributions received, in-kind contributions, loan
proceeds, interest, and refunds. Does not include balance from '96 campaign.