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Democrat Cunningham raises record $28.3M in third quarter for bid against Tillis

Democrat Cal Cunningham raised more than $28 million in the third quarter of the year for his campaign to unseat Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisLate donor surges push election spending projections to new heights Pence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate Nearly 47 percent of all North Carolina registered voters have already cast their ballots MORE (R-N.C.), setting a record for the most raised in a single quarter by any North Carolina politician.

Cunningham’s $28.3 million quarterly haul is nearly four times as much as the $7.4 million he raised in the second quarter. The massive fundraising sum likely puts Cunningham in a strong position heading into the crucial final month of his campaign.

His campaign said that more than 40,000 North Carolinians had given to his Senate bid over the past three months, with many of them contributing more than once. Ninety-six percent of donations were under $100, the campaign said.

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“North Carolinians are shattering records quarter after quarter, and our campaign is so grateful to the tens of thousands of North Carolinians who are fueling this campaign,” Devan Barber, Cunningham’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

“The enthusiasm displayed in this record-breaking fundraising haul is not only a testament to North Carolina’s readiness to replace a bad Senator, but also their excitement to send Cal to the Senate and put this seat back to work to fight to expand health care, bring back the economy, and invest in education.”

The fundraising announcement comes hours before the former North Carolina state senator meets with Tillis for the third debate of the race. Tillis’s campaign has not yet disclosed its third-quarter fundraising total. 

Tillis is among Democrats' top GOP targets in the Senate this year, along with the Republican incumbents in Arizona, Colorado and Maine. Democrats need to flip three or four GOP-held Senate seats this year — depending on which party wins control of the White House — to capture a majority in the chamber.

Most recent polls show Cunningham leading Tillis by single digits. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently rates the North Carolina Senate contest as a “toss-up.”