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The Daily Tar Heel

Adam Searing breaks fundraising record, Jess Anderson $7,000 behind


Chapel Hill Town Hall sits on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. 

Chapel Hill Town Council member and mayoral candidate Adam Searing broke current Mayor Pam Hemminger's Chapel Hill fundraising record set in 2021 by almost $3,000, according to recent returns from the N.C. State Board of Elections.

During her 2021 bid for reelection, Hemminger raised a total of $30,709. More than a month before the election, Searing has already raised $33,371, including $24,138 in the 35-day period accounted for in the new returns.

Searing has received 143 donations during his campaign so far, 30 of which were $357 — the maximum individual amount allowed under Town rules.

Searing has also spent more than $25,000 this campaign, including $10,000 directly to his campaign manager Grace Conerly.

Charles Liner, Greg Fitch, Steve and Lisa Jones and Julia and William Grumbles were all among Searing's donors. Julia Grumbles sent an email in August urging other Chapel Hill residents to pledge to donate to a new political action committee to support Searing's campaign — to which she and her husband, Steve and Lisa Jones and Fitch had all pledged to donate the maximum amount of $6,400.

After Grumbles confirmed to The Daily Tar Heel on Sept. 12 that the proposed new PAC would not be forming, Liner sent out a similar email on Sept. 18 urging Chapel Hill residents to donate to an existing PAC — the Chapel Hill Leadership PAC, the political arm of the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, commonly known as CHALT. Liner donated $100 to the Chapel Hill Leadership PAC.

Charles Humble, the assistant treasurer of the Chapel Hill Leadership PAC, donated $200 to Searing's campaign. Humble is also listed as the "controlling entity" for David Adams' campaign for town council. Adams is running as one of the four town council candidates on Searing's slate.

Julie McClintock, one of the founders of CHALT whose personal address on the filings matches CHALT's Chatham County mailing address, donated $300 to Searing's campaign and $500 to the Chapel Hill Leadership PAC. The PAC also paid McClintock $457.33 for printing purposes.

Jess Anderson, Searing's opponent in the mayoral race, raised more than $17,000 during the last 35-day period, bringing her total fundraising to $26,588 — about $7,000 behind Searing's total.

Among Anderson's notable donors are Orange County commissioners Amy Fowler and Sally Greene, CHCCS Board vice chair George Griffin, current Mayor Pam Hemminger, former Chapel Hill Mayor and current clerk of superior court Mark Kleinschmidt, town council member Tai Huynh and town council candidates Melissa McCullough and Jon Mitchell.

About 14 percent — 19 of Anderson's 137 donations — were for the maximum amount of $357. Fifteen of Anderson's donors listed UNC as their employer. Anderson is a public policy professor at UNC.

Anderson's largest expenditures have been $3,185 for yard signs and $1,500 for an advertisement in INDY Week.


@DTHCityState |

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Ethan E. Horton

Ethan E. Horton is the 2023-24 city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He has previously served as a city & state assistant editor and as the 2023 summer managing editor. Ethan is a senior pursuing a double major in journalism and media and political science, with a minor in history.

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