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(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story had dollar figures only through the second quarter. This version includes contributions through the third quarter. There were also errors made in the identification of several PAC donors. Corrections have been made and the story is reprinted below.)
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A close race in District 41 between two candidates with health care backgrounds is attracting a lot of health care dollars.
By Hyun Namkoong
A race to be one of the only practicing health care providers in the General Assembly is in its final week between Tom Murry (R-Morrisville) and Gale Adcock (D-Cary) in District 41.
The District 41 House seat hugs the western border of Wake County, extending from Morrisville through Cary and Apex, and has turned out to be a surprisingly competitive race. Two-term incumbent Murry, a pharmacist, is facing a challenge from Adcock, chief health officer at SAS Institute and a nurse practitioner.
District 41’s demographics are markedly different from those of the rest of the state, making it difficult to predict who will win this race.
Statewide, Asians make up barely 2 percent of North Carolina’s population. But they represent more than a quarter of Morrisville’s population, according to the U.S. Census. And they compose nearly 10 percent of Cary’s population, where Adcock has been on the city council since 2007 and currently serves as mayor pro tem.
Politically, Asian-Americans tend to vote Democratic, but a majority of them are registered Independents, according to the National Asian American Survey.
Where is the cash coming from?
North Carolina elections have seen money flowing in from out-of-state sources invested in influencing results here. But the majority of Murry and Adcock’s donors have been from within the state, according to an analysis done by N.C. Health News.
Murry has raised more money than Adcock, according to 2014 quarterly reports from the State Board of Elections. While Murry has raised around $660,000 during the 2014 campaign cycle, Adcock has raised less than $500,000. He raised $83,527 in the first quarter of the 2014 campaign cycle, compared to Adcock’s $56,217.
During the second quarter, both candidates raised significantly less money than in the first. Murry received $58,422 in the second quarter, nearly double the amount that Adcock got in that quarter.
Fellow Republicans and political action committees have been Murry’s biggest contributors, mostly organizations representing health care interests. He has received substantial contributions from more than two dozen health care-related PACs.
Murry received around $45,000 in the first three quarters of 2014 from the campaign committees of more than a dozen Republicans, according to reports submitted to the State Board of Elections, including Reps. Paul Stam (R-Apex), Justin Burr (R-Albemarle), Leo Daughtry (R-Smithfield), Nelson Dollar (R-Cary) and Charles McGrady (R-Hendersonville), who have donated anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 each to Murry’s campaign.
Murry has received a total of $316,120 from PACs during this election cycle, according to the SBOE. Many of the PACs that have contributed to Murry’s campaigns are related to anesthesiology and radiology. He has received contributions from the N.C. Hospital Association, N.C. State Optometric Society PAC, Pill PAC (formerly the PAC for the N.C.Association of Pharmacists) and the N.C. Academy of Family Physicians PAC.
Murry also received $4,000 from Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute and Adcock’s employer.
Adcock has received a total of $43,700 in contributions from PACs, according to the latest report from the State Board of Elections.
Her clout with health care-oriented PACs is weaker than Murry’s, with fewer giving to her side.
The N.C. Nurse Ambassadors PAC, Lillian’s List of North Carolina and the N.C. Association of Nurse Anesthetists PAC have been among Adcock’s biggest contributors. The Planned Parent of Central North Carolina PAC also donated $1,000 to her campaign in September.
Adcock has also received contributions from NP PAC, the PAC that represents the interests of nurse practitioners in the state.