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2022 ELECTIONS

National Dems to boost Don Davis’ campaign

Posted on June 15, 2022

Updated on June 16, 2022

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Democrat Don Davis, left, and Republican Sandy Smith are campaigning to represent North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.

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Democrat Don Davis, left, and Republican Sandy Smith are campaigning to represent North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.

cfriedman@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7813

Democratic U.S. House nominee Don Davis will benefit from his party’s national fundraising and coordinating arm as he campaigns to succeed Rep. G.K. Butterfield.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added Davis to its “Red to Blue” program for top-tier candidates in competitive races, the Greene County state senator announced Tuesday. The designation could turbocharge his fundraising efforts, adding air support from Washington as Davis prepares to face Republican nominee Sandy Smith in November.

“As a veteran, minister, small-town mayor and state senator representing eastern North Carolina, Don Davis always rolled up his sleeves to get to work for North Carolinians,” DCCC regional press secretary Monica Robinson said in a news release. “Now, he’s stepping up again to bring his commitment to public service to Congress. He’s a champion for North Carolina families, and the DCCC is excited to work with Don from now until Election Day.”

North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District contest is one of three races drawing DCCC involvement. Fellow Democratic House hopefuls Wiley Nickel in the 13th District and Jeff Jackson in the 14th District also have joined the committee’s “Red to Blue” program, which Capitol Hill news outlet CQ Roll Call described as “special protection” for Democrats in battleground districts.

Davis won the Democratic Party nomination on May 17, besting three other candidates with 63% of the vote. But Smith, who leapfrogged seven GOP hopefuls in the primary to win the Republican nomination, raised and spent substantially more money in the race’s early stages.

First-quarter campaign finance reports showed Smith hauled in $1.26 million during the overall election cycle, though she spent much of that money on the primary and had $232,170.21 in cash on hand when the quarter ended March 31. Davis raised $426,235.43 and had a healthy $323,825.38 left in the bank at the quarter’s close.

Second-quarter reports that include fundraising totals from April 1 through June 30 are due to the Federal Elections Commission by July 15.

In a news release from his campaign, Davis expressed appreciation for the DCCC’s formal backing.

“I’m proud of the broad coalition of support that our campaign has continued to receive,” he said. “In Congress, I’ll continue delivering results for the people of eastern North Carolina.”

The Cook Political Report assigns the redrawn 1st District a partisan voting index of D+3, meaning the average Democrat has a three percentage point advantage over the average Republican based on voting trends from the last two presidential elections.

Butterfield, who will retire from Congress when his ninth term expires in January, endorsed Davis as his preferred successor during the primary. The longtime incumbent’s support landed Davis on House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s radar, with Clyburn issuing an endorsement six days before the May election.

Robinson expressed confidence in all three North Carolina “Red to Blue” candidates. Davis, Nickel and Jackson are all N.C. Senate veterans. Davis and Nickel are still serving in the General Assembly, while Jackson resigned last year to campaign for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination. He later withdrew from that race and endorsed Cheri Beasley, the eventual nominee.

“Every one of them is battle-tested and knows how to run a winning campaign in North Carolina,” Robinson said. “The DCCC looks forward to working alongside these champions from now until November and sending them to Congress this fall.”

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