McCrory, Cooper fundraising impacted by HB2

Fundraising in governor's race
Pat McCrory (left) and Roy Cooper (right)
Pat McCrory (left) and Roy Cooper (right)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper outraised Republican Governor Pat McCrory by nearly $2 million during the second quarter, as backlash to House Bill 2 spurred donations.

This was the first reporting period since McCrory signed the controversial legislation in late March.

Cooper raised more than $5.1 million from 21,654 contributions during the period, which ran from March until June, compared to 12,273 contributions totaling almost $3.2 million raised by the McCrory campaign.

The big few months brings Cooper to more than $9.4 million on hand. McCrory has just under $6.3 million on hand, finance reports show.

Both candidates' fundraising haul came primarily from donors in North Carolina and focused heavily on small donors, a WBTV analysis of the campaigns' finance reports has found.

McCrory, Cooper see fundraising gains, losses over HB2

Analysis of the campaigns' contribution trends show that campaign donations ebbed and flowed when HB2 was in the news.

Both candidates saw a spike in donations on March 23, 2016, the day the North Carolina General Assembly held its one-day special session to pass the controversial bill, which McCrory signed into law later that evening.

McCrory pulled in $89,410 on the day he signed HB2, more than four times his daily average prior to the bill's passage. His fundraising d ropped off the next day, averaging less than $10,000 a day over the next week.

Cooper saw his fundraising spike on March 23, when he raised $72,861, more than twice his daily average prior to that day. That momentum continued into the next day, when he raised $83,931 and through the remainder of the week, when he averaged more than $42,000 each day.

The day after the United States Department of Justice said HB2 violates federal civil rights laws Cooper brought in $100,511, his campaign's best day up to that point.

The same trend has had more mixed results for McCrory. After raking in nearly $90,000 the day he signed HB2, his campaign has usually seen donations trend downward when the controversial law was in the news.

After averaging more than $20,000 a day through the first month of the quarter, the McCrory campaign collected just over $2,500 combined during the two days after Bruce Springsteen announced he was canceling his concert in Greensboro.

But it wasn't all negative for McCrory. The day after appearing on Megyn Kelly's Fox News show to defend HB2, McCrory pulled in more than $180,000, one of his campaign's best day's this election cycle.

Out-of-state funding gives Cooper boost

Cooper pulled in big money from out-of-state donors, including about $265,000 from New York and more than $80,000 from California.

Cooper's out-of-state donations, which made up less than eight percent of the total number of donors, outnumbered McCrory's almost seven to one.

Nearly 1,250 out-of-state donors contributed more than $750,000 to the Cooper campaign, which had donors in 47 states. Cooper also received donations from supporters as far away as Brazil and Spain.

By comparison, McCrory pulled in just 184 out-of-state donations, representing less than two percent of donors.

A statement released by McCrory's campaign manager, Russell Peck, last week in response to Cooper's fundraising criticized the attorney general for the number of out-of-state donors.

"Now we know why Roy Cooper hasn't been doing his job as attorney general," Peck said. "While Gov McCrory is lowering unemployment and providing record pay raises for teachers, Roy Cooper is holed up in an office somewhere raising millions from out-of-state special interests. But no amount of money will make up for his lack of leadership and lack of understanding of the issues."

INTERACTIVE: McCrory Campaign Contributions (2Q 2016)

In a statement, Cooper's campaign communications director, Ford Porter, zoomed in on the number of in-state and small-dollar donors.

"Our fundraising numbers show incredible grassroots enthusiasm for Roy Cooper for Governor. Not only did the campaign receive a historic number of contributions, but 92% of our donors live in North Carolina and the vast majority of contributions were $100 or less," Porter said. "Governor McCrory's desperate attacks are just a sign of a flailing campaign whose donors are jumping ship as North Carolinians hope for a change in Raleigh."

McCrory leads Cooper in small donors

More than half of McCrory's second quarter donors, 54 percent, contributed $50 or less.

Cooper's second quarter donor base was made up of more people but fewer who gave small gifts of $50 or less, just 42 percent.

Donors who give $50 or less are not required to be listed by name, location and occupation and are just reported by individual dollar amount.

Small dollar donors were counted as 'in-state' donors for the purposes of our analysis.

INTERACTIVE: Types of Donors in NC Gov. Race

The fundraising breakdown came as some surprise to Dr. Michael Bitzer, political science professor and provost at Catawba College.

"I was really struck by the fact that so much of the money on both sides was coming from North Carolina. Traditionally we start to see outside money come in, and kind of be on par with in-state money, but this was really, on both sides, heavy North Carolina," Bitzer said. "Probably come the fall, that's when you'll start to see that North Carolina-centric move down and be a little more parity with outside money coming into the state."

Copyright 2016 WBTV. All rights reserved.