RALEIGH, N.C. (CN) – A new filing with the Federal Election Commission revealed a political action committee with ties to the Republican Party has spent $2.4 million on a Democratic U.S. Senate primary contest in North Carolina.
The Faith and Power PAC, which was formed Jan. 29, filed a document with the FEC on Saturday that shows the expenses it incurred to support Democratic candidate Erica Smith.
Smith, who is currently a state senator, is running in the March 3 Democratic primary against former state Senator Cal Cunningham, among others.
Neylan and Partners, which is the PAC’s ad purchaser, has a record of past clientele that includes the campaign of Carly Fiorina, a candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.
In addition, the Faith and Power PAC selected a bank in northern Virginia that has been used by previous Republican presidential candidate committees to hold its money.
When it was discovered that the conservative PAC – and not Smith’s campaign – funded an expensive TV ad promoting the candidate, North Carolina Democrats accused GOP actors of trying to interfere in the election.
An ad praising Smith’s backing of Medicare for All and Green New Deal programs showed up on screens across the state with the PAC’s name at the bottom in fine print. The group is also behind several mailers and phone calls on Smith’s behalf.
The North Carolina Democratic candidates are vying for a chance to unseat the Republican incumbent, Senator Thom Tillis, in November.
“Voters should decide who our state’s nominee for U.S. Senate will be to challenge Senator Tillis — not outside Republican operatives,” North Carolina Democratic Party spokesperson Robert Howard said in a statement.
Last week, Smith disavowed the PAC’s efforts after prior FEC filings showed it spent over $1 million on ads supporting her.
“In response to the Faith and Power PAC’s $1.2 million ad-buy in the U.S. Senate race, the Erica for US campaign disavows and dissociates ourselves from the interference of Republicans in the Democratic Senate primary in North Carolina,” her campaign said on Feb. 6.
Smith announced her 2020 candidacy in January and pledged not to accept any corporate PAC funding.
Two of Smith’s top primary opponents have outraised her during the beginning of the 2020 campaign cycle, but she has told constituents she can nevertheless beat Tillis in November.
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