In bid to oust Rep. Tricia Cotham, one Mecklenburg candidate owns clear fundraising lead

One candidate has a solid fundraising advantage in the Democratic primary to decide who faces Republican state Rep. Tricia Cotham.

Nicole Sidman, a former teacher and lawyer who now works as congregational life director for Temple Beth El in Charlotte, has tens of thousands in cash for her quest to secure her party’s nomination in House District 105, according to her most recent campaign finance report. Sidman also brought in donations from a number of notable Charlotte-area people.

The winner of Tuesday’s three-person race in the south Mecklenburg district will face Cotham in November’s general election. The former Democrat made headlines in 2023 for switching to the Republican Party, giving the GOP a veto-proof supermajority in Raleigh.

The candidates’ latest reports show who had the most money to get their message to voters in the final stretch before Tuesday’s primary.

Sidman’s campaign raised $39,950.62 from the start of 2024 through Feb. 17 and $51,600.13 total this election, according to her first quarter report. Her donors included Mecklenburg County commissioners Susan Rodriguez-McDowell and Laura Meier, former Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board member Jennifer De La Jara, former Charlotte City Council member Julie Eiselt, former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl and current Huntersville Mayor and former state representative Christy Clark.

Sidman also made $1,303 in in-kind donations to herself, according to her report.

Her campaign said the haul shows why she’s the best candidate to take on Cotham.

“It’s not just fundraising — scores of grassroots volunteers are joining Nicole at phone banks, at early voting locations, and at doors across Charlotte, Matthews and Mint Hill. By March 5, most Democratic primary voters will have received some combination of direct mail, online ads, texts, calls, handwritten postcards and personal visits from the Sidman campaign,” campaign manager Sam Spencer said in a statement.

The campaign reported $24,791.22 in expenses in the most recent filing period and $26,096.03 in cash on hand on Feb. 17.

Fellow candidate Yolonda Holmes reported $10,005.52 in donations during the same period and several hundred more over the entire election, including $250 from County Commission Chair George Dunlap.

Her campaign spent $6,041.34 during the period and ended it with $7,693.30 in cash on hand.

No report was publicly available Friday morning for the third Democratic candidate in District 105, Terry Lansdell. The candidate said his campaign was experiencing “technical difficulties” submitting its campaign finance report to the Board of Elections.

“We will not be claiming any donations at the time of filing,” Lansdell said.

At-large county commissioners

In other Mecklenburg County primaries, Leigh Altman leads the pack among at-large candidates for the Board of County Commissioners. She reported $5,362 in donations in the most recent filing period and $28,662.12 in expenses, leaving her campaign with $15,042.69 in cash on hand — a figure that includes money raised before the most recent report

Fellow at-large incumbents Pat Cotham and Arthur Griffin reported $3,197.44 and $9,047.96 in cash on hand, respectively. Challenger Yvette Townsend-Ingram’s first quarter report was not publicly available as of Friday morning, but her campaign reported $1,413.60 in cash on hand on Dec. 31. The most recent report publicly available for challenger Blake Van Leer, covering the end of 2023, did not list a cash on hand amount.

Cotham has missed out on some significant endorsements this election cycle, potentially making reelection more difficult for the top vote-getter in the 2022 at-large race.

County commission District 2

In County Commission District 2, where longtime representative Vilma Leake is facing a challenge from Charles Osborne, the incumbent trailed in fundraising.

Leake reported $4,546.28 in donations in her latest campaign finance report. She listed $5,413.63 in expenses and $3,543.38 in cash on hand at the end of the filing period.

In his first quarter report, Osborne reported $9,019.74 in donations and $3,394 in expenses, leaving his campaign with $7,481.11 in cash on hand in mid-February. Osborne’s report included donations from two sitting commissioners: George Dunlap and Laura Meier.

Osborne has also picked up some endorsements over Leake, including the influential Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Senate District 42

In Mecklenburg County’s only Republican primary for the state legislature, Senate District 42, both candidates have posted big numbers and made sizeable loans to their respective campaigns.

Two Republicans are running in the primary for the Mecklenburg County seat currently held by Rachel Hunt, who is running for lieutenant governor. The winner of the GOP race will face Democrat Woodson Bradley in November’s general election.

Candidate Stacie McGinn gave her campaign $180,000 in two loans, according to her first quarter report. She brought in $11,070.20 in donations in the most recent filing period, including a $200 donation from Charlotte City Council member Tariq Bokhari. Her campaign spent $149,584.15 during the period. Much of that money went to PT Strategy LLC, a Washington, D.C.-area consulting firm.

McGinn reported $48,936.61 in cash on hand at the end of the filing period.

Her opponent, Jaime Daniell, gave her campaign $75,000 in three loans, her latest campaign finance report shows. Her campaign reported $45,666.02 in donations during the most recent filing period. That included $6,400 from Hendrick Motorsports owner J.R. Hendrick III.

Much of her campaign’s spending has been with a consulting firm, Atlas Political Consulting of Raleigh. The campaign has spent $106,188.75 with the group during the campaign and a total of $114,009.95 in the most recent filing period.

Daniell reported $18,523.88 in cash on hand at the end of the period.

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