CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In the Charlotte race for mayor, one word is getting a lot of eyes and clicks online - donate.
Elections Supervisor Michael Dickerson expects candidates in this year's mayoral race to reel in more than the $1.2 million raised several years ago when Democrat Anthony Foxx and Republican John Lassiter slugged it out in a very close competitive race.
"There's a lot of people from all over the country, all over the state, that seem to have an interest," Dickerson said.
Dr. Michael Bitzer feels the fallout in North Carolina from HB2 is attracting donors from beyond the beltway of Mecklenburg County.
"They are the spokesperson," he said. "They are the face of Charlotte, and what they project can certainly have national influence as well."
Twelve years ago, former Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Barnes ran his first race. He made a bid for mayor two years ago. To him the campaign numbers are stunning.
"You have people donating from all across the country in order to influence a particular issue in a city," Barnes said. "On the HB2 issue, there are advocacy groups that are specifically targeting money to a chosen candidate."
Atop the leaderboard is Jennifer Roberts, with $369,000 dollars. Vi Lyles has $222,000, and Joel Ford has $211,000.
Republican Kenny Smith has raised $307,000.
"This is where the national influence is really playing down into local races," Bitzer said.
The primary is set for September 12.