In the first three months of 2022, his campaign reported zero donations greater than $199 from people within the district and just six from within the entire state of North Carolina. Any individual donation smaller than $200 can be made anonymously.
Luckily for Hines, Club for Growth Action, the group’s super PAC arm, has said it plans to spend $1.3 million backing him in the primary. That’s an enormous sum for a House race.
Before settling on the 13th District, Hines had shopped around for a suitable perch. He announced his intention to challenge Representative Virginia Foxx, a longtime Republican incumbent in the western side of the state, before redistricting altered those plans. In April, he and his wife changed their address to a house in Fuquay-Varina, a town in southern Wake County, the most densely populated portion of the district.
Some Republicans in deep-red Johnston County, a fast-growing rural community, have criticized Hines for, in the words of one local group’s leader, “coming in, just trying to cherry-pick a district he can win.” And Hines’s main opponent, a lawyer named Kelly Daughtry who is the daughter of a former majority leader of the State House, has attacked him as a carpetbagger.
The Hines campaign, which declined to make him available for an interview but fielded a series of detailed questions about his candidacy, notes his upbringing in Charlotte and his time at N.C. State, which is in Raleigh, just north of the district line.
Daughtry has spent more than $2.5 million on the race so far, while contributing nearly $3 million of her own money. She also has taken heat for her past donations to Democrats, including Cheri Beasley, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Senate, and Josh Stein, the state’s attorney general.
Multiple people with access to private polling said Hines appeared to be ahead of Daughtry by a few percentage points, with everyone else way behind. In North Carolina, if no candidate wins at least 30 percent of the vote, the top two finishers advance to a runoff.