State Senator Erica Smith has raised just a fraction of the money Cal Cunningham has in the Democratic primary for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat—just over $200,000 to Cunningham’s more than $3 million. And both are well behind the man they hope to replace, Thom Tillis, who raked in more than $9 million, according to Open Secrets. 

But that money hasn’t seemed to help Tillis in the polls. And perhaps Republicans are spooked at the prospect of one of America’s least popular senators facing a well-spoken veteran with Kennedy-esque looks. Perhaps they think he’d fare better against Smith, a teacher turned engineer who happens to be a woman of color and has embraced more progressive positions than the moderate Cunningham. 

Or maybe they just want to mess with the Democrats. 

As first reported by CNN, Faith and Power, a Republican-backed PAC, was launched just over a week ago and has already spent nearly $2 million in Democratic primary on TV and radio ad buys. 

The ads—which are slated to run through February 19 in the state’s major media markets, including Raleigh—call Smith “the only proven progressive” in the race and cite her support of the Green New Deal and Medicaid for All. 

In a statement on Thursday night, Smith disavowed the ads. 

“We reject the influence of special interest, corporate-PAC and dark money in politics,” Smith said. “I remain unbought, unbossed, and unapologetic in my 17 years of advocating for equity, opportunity, and fairness.”

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at

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One reply on “A GOP PAC Drops $1.6M to Boost Cal Cunningham’s Cash-Strapped Primary Challenger”

  1. Your article says “Medicaid for All” but the current Democratic push is for “Medicare for All”. Those programs are VERY different things.

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