McKee swatting a fly with a shotgun

I was surprised to read on the OrangeChat blog this week that Democrat Earl McKee, running for an open County Commissioner seat in District 2 (northern and western Orange) has raised and spent well over $10,000.  He already won the primary in May, in which he narrowly beat Renee Price, and promises to be the kind of (relatively) conservative voice that the not-so-new-anymore county commission districts were designed to elicit.

McKee is running against a Republican who has raised less than $3,000, most of which is a loan to his campaign.  Oh, and did I mention he's a Republican? He is not going to win a county-wide seat around these parts. Like that fact or or not, it hasn't happened in decades, and even if Karl Rove's PAC starts buying ads on WCHL, it's not going to start now. (I'm not saying never, though.)

According to the Orange County Board of Elections, McKee brought in $14,480.24 in contributions and has spent $11,978.21through the 2nd quarter of the year. 

During same time period Andrews received $2,857.01 in contributions, including a $1,900 outstanding loan. He had spent $2,729.19 on his campaign according to second quarter reports, which were due July 12.

Notable contributors to the campaigns include real-estate owner and appraiser P.H. Craig, who donated $80.00 to Andrews.

- OrangeChat: "McKee outpaces Andrews in campaign spending and donations for 2nd District seat" 10/26/10

From what I can see here in southern Orange, McKee has been heavily investing in yard signs. I wondered what else is he was spending money on, so I looked up the latest report at

It seems that McKee received $1,250 fom the N.C. Realtors PAC, $2,000 from himself (why?), as well as a lot of other sizeable donations ($50 - $500) from individual supporters. His spending includes $4,765 on AGE Graphics (yard signs), $2,321 to The News of Orange (print ads), $2,000 on printing banners and brochures, and $350 to Wired for Change (presumably for the online tools and hosting of  This data is only from the latest campaign finance report, which covers the dates 7/1/10 to 10/16/10, but it also indicates that he has received a total of $17,780 in this election cycle!

Again I ask: why?



I happen to know the founders of Wired for Change. They make "Salsa," a tool usually used by progressive campaigns and organizations, but no matter.

Even though the whole county votes in the general election, the money on both sides of the district 2 race is almost all coming from the rural part of the county.  I made a quick map of the donations listed in this most recent campaign finance report, which only includes money given since the primary past and they became county-wide candidates.  Neither candidate is getting considerable financial support from district 1. Hopefully there's some voting, if not donations, taking place for the District 2 candidates down here in District 1.

I think after a close primary race Mr. McKee just wanted to be sure he covered all the bases. In both getting the word out about where he stand on the issues to all citizens in the county as well as letting the voters in District 1 know that they were also able to vote in the general election District 2 race. He has run ads in the Carrboro Citizen, Chapel Hill News, Chapel Hill Herald, The Independent (who endored him) and WCHL. All which takes money.  

Ruby says:

  Oh, and did I mention he's a Republican? He is not going to win a county-wide seat around these parts. Like that fact or or not, it hasn't happened in decades, and even if Karl Rove's PAC starts buying ads on WCHL, it's not going to start now. (I'm not saying never, though.)  

The last two Republicans to carry Orange County in a partisan race for any office at any level were Herbert Hoover (President, 1928) and Jim Gardner (Congress, 1966).

 Earl McKee is taking nothing for granted.  While I agree that his opponent does not stand much of a chance in this county, I am pleased to see how seriously Earl is taking this race.  He has been knocking doors, raising money, making calls, doing events across the county, and making a real effort to reach out to district 1 voters.  Earl listens, and while he will be a more conservative voice, I think he is precisely the kind of person that was envisioned when the districts were created.   I expect him to win handily, but I think he's running exactly the sort of race he should be running.    Jim White
Chair, Orange County Democratic Party

Knocking on doors and communicating with citizens is undeniably worthwhile. Spending loads of money when there is absolutely no need to do it does not make good sense.

I don't see that Earl is spending too much money. He is well short of former commissioner Brown when she ran the first time which if I recall was in the mid $20,000 range, back in1996.

This is going to be a bad week for liberal progressives everywhere.  Does anyone else feel that way?  Sad to see two years of progress dissolve.


Why criticize how much $$$ a candidate has raised and spent. How much have Mayor's spent to represent a town, just a portion of the county, whereas McKee is covering the entire county? And Chapel Hill Mayoral candidates get tax dollars. Why not question the $40,000 the county spent of our tax $ on the sales tax campaign?


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