M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: EDF Action
DATE: September 9, 2019
RE: EDF Action and EDF Action Votes Investment in NC-09 Special Election
EDF Action and EDF Action Votes spent a combined total of $935,000 in the NC-09 special election in support of clean energy entrepreneur Dan McCready—becoming the largest pro-McCready spenders outside of the party affiliated entities. McCready’s strong record on clean energy inspired EDF Action to engage seriously in the race, and clean energy issues were pivotal in the contest -- including being featured in ads from both sides.
President Trump won the 9th District by 12 points in 2016, yet McCready likely earned enough votes to win the district in November 2018, only coming up 905 votes short thanks to ballot tampering by his opponent’s campaign.
McCready’s race against State Senator Dan Bishop, the Republican nominee, took place in a district that has long been held by Republicans. In fact, the Cook Political report noted that, had McCready been elected in 2018, it would have been the 4th most Republican seat won by a Democrat, coming only behind NY-22, OK-05 and SC-01.
Starting out, McCready was likely to be further disadvantaged by an off-year election when turnout typically helps the Republican candidate.
The Role of Clean Energy in the Race
As in 2018, a key part of McCready’s biography was his record as a clean energy entrepreneur and job creator. Opponents, including the Club for Growth Action Fund and CLF, chose to run ads trying to turn this positive into a vulnerability—knocking McCready for his membership in an organization that supported continuing the state’s renewable standards and claiming that his business’ use of imported solar panels amounted to outsourcing jobs.
A survey conducted for EDF Action in the last weeks of the race showed that, in fact, voters in NC-09 believe clean energy can create jobs and are more likely to think it will lower utility prices than raise them.
EDF Action and EDF Action Votes Investment
EDF Action worked to shape the race early on, as the first outside spender to engage in the race. EDF Action and EDF Action Votes made an initial combined television buy of nearly $500,000, running 1200 GRPs in the Charlotte and Myrtle Beach markets from July 18th through August 6th. McCready was not on the air in Charlotte from July 16th through July 29th, further validating the need for outside investment.
Other outside groups started to invest in support of McCready, EDF Action Votes continued to invest in the race, spending another $240,000 in August to fill gaps in Charlotte and Myrtle Beach and an additional $225,000 in the final week to cover another gap in Myrtle Beach.
While the outcome remains uncertain as the election approaches, the fact that Dan McCready has kept this race so close is a testament to the power of his profile, both as a U.S. Marine veteran and a clean energy entrepreneur.