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Press Release

Senator Erica Smith’s Response to Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Endorsement.

Raleigh, NC:

Today’s endorsement by the DSCC removes the false veil of neutrality and confirms their attempt to sway this US Senate election away from the voices and voters of North Carolina. I have been in and out of Sessions, all day, doing the work of the people of NC. I am responding during the sixth recess and adjournment of the day! This Halloween endorsement is a trick and not a treat for North Carolinians.

The DSCC has been unofficially backing Cal Cunningham as their ‘heir apparent’ with personnel, resources, directed donations, infrastructure, and more since he entered the race in June. We have made multiple overtures to the DSCC about their under the table support for my primary opponent and they told us, unequivocally, that they were not, had not, did not intend to endorse in the Primary. In fact, I met one-on-one with the DSCC Executive Director in August and he assured us that the DSCC was not making any efforts in the NC Primary. Our objective has always been to allow the voters — and the voters only — to be the decision makers in this primary election. The failure of the DSCC to disclose their ongoing support for Mr. Cunningham’s campaign puts their thumb on the scale of our democracy and mutes the voice of North Carolina Voters. This is unacceptable.

Enumerated evidence of DSCC support prior to formal endorsement:

Devan Barber:

    • Cal Cunningham’s campaign manager, was the Deputy Executive Director of the DSCC up until July 2019. Shortly thereafter, she suddenly becomes Cal’s campaign manager.Barber was also the political director at End Citizens United, who also endorsed Cal Cunningham over me despite Cal being in receipt of PAC money in 2011 while he worked with a major developer. Mr. Cunningham is, in fact, the only candidate in this campaign that has welcomed the support of Super PACs.
    • Article detailing SUPER PAC Money to Cunningham:

Senator Chuck Schumer

  • In the second fundraising quarter of this year, prior to any endorsement from the DSCC, Sen. Schumer directed 55 of his very wealthy donors to contribute the maximum allowed donation to my opponent’s campaign — totaling $152,000. All these donors have prior giving history to Sen. Schumer and had never given to Mr. Cunningham. These NY based donations constitute more than a third of the total money raised by the Cunningham campaign, at that time.
    • Article detailing NY Donors to Mr. Cunningham.
    • Article with Schumer recruiting primary candidates who will spend all their time calling donors and not in the field
  • Unauthorized Email list sharing
    • There have been multiple reported instances of people being placed on Mr. Cunningham’s mailing list despite them never signing up to receive his fundraising emails. These same people reported recently signing up with either the North Carolina Democratic Party or the DSCC. This may run afoul of campaign finance law and the Cunningham campaign should immediately cease this practice or disclose how these lists were acquired in accordance with the law.

An Emerson poll in June showed me beating incumbent Thom Tillis by 7 points. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Cunningham was recruited by some who would consider themselves Democratic establishment to run for this statewide office. Three other polls conducted since June show that I remain in the lead! In the last independent statewide poll conducted by Meredith College, I am leading Thom Tillis, but Mr. Cunningham is trailing me and Tillis. This is after Cunningham has raised $1.7 million, and reported spending $47,000 on digital advertising. Having been outraised 12 to 1 by my opponent, I am still leading the field. That tells me that the voters support me over Cal. I am ahead of every candidate, including incumbent Senator Thom Tillis, in EVERY poll that has been conducted since this contest started and have yet to spend a dime on advertising.

This endorsement cuts to the integrity and ethics of this election. If the DSCC has been involved all along, then it should disclose the details of its prior involvement to the voters of North Carolina. Ultimately, the voters of North Carolina will decide who their next United States Senator will be — NOT a handful of DC politicians making back room deals in windowless basements.

In the spirit of Shirley Chisholm, I am Unbought and Unbossed. I am One of US for ALL of US! The big tent party of inclusion is how the Democratic Party became the party of the people. Our diversity makes us strong – our unity keeps us rising! We remain the most qualified, progressive frontrunner in this race. We continue working for US and for an America that works for US. We are “In It to Win It” and we’ll see you on the trail!