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Who's giving and who's getting: key races

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If you totaled the huge sums raised and spent on elections in North Carolina and funneled that money to counties, cities and school districts, you could erase some of their deficits.

But that's not where the money goes. Instead, campaign spending in key races, including the Second Congressional District, reached nearly $2 million—most of it by Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge—while another million and change was spent in the District 4 House contest.

Outside "advocacy" groups like free marketeers Americans for Job Security, focused on the Etheridge–Ellmers race. These groups spent a total of $398,000 to smear the other candidate, primarily Etheridge.

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In the Triangle, the most closely watched legislative races were in Wake County, where several well-funded Republicans, most notably Tom Murry of Morrisville, tried to upend the Democratic incumbents.

Murry's race is worth noting because of the deluge of cash and in-kind contributions from the N.C. Republican Executive Committee—the people who brought you the smarmy Señor Heagarty "mucho taxo" ad.

While Don Frantz couldn't compete with Jennifer Weiss in fundraising, it's clear that he had major support from Republican heavy-hitter, House Minority Leader Paul Stam.

And despite Steve Henion's questionable business acumen—bounced checks, overdue tax bills—he made a run for Martin, prompting the Democratic incumbent to run attack ads against the challenger.

Note: Candidates who started the election cycle with cash on hand were able to spend more than he or she raised.

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