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The Dulin Factor: Part 1

Back in his seat, Dulin leaned over to a reporter: "Therein lies the Andy Dulin Factor," he said. "Nobody can do that as well as I can. It's not cocky. It's confident." Dulin, 52, is nothing if not confident.” (Charlotte Observer, 4/9/12)

Rep. Andy Dulin, once noted for his confident retail-style politics, has repeatedly failed to live up to his boasts. This begs the question, has the Andy Dulin Factor fizzled?

Dulin models Tommy Bahama at a 2012 Ballantyne After Dark fashion show
Photo: Ballantyne Breakfast Club

 

Dulin was called “George Bush-ish” for his fundraising in Charlotte City Council races despite several losses, but has failed to deliver in his first competitive House race

After second quarter campaign finance reports were filed last month, the Charlotte Observer reported that Democratic candidate for House District 104, lawyer Brandon Lofton, had almost twice as much on hand as the incumbent. Dulin’s City Council tactics, with money raised heavily from real estate developers who wanted his zoning votes, are not cutting it in higher profile races. Dulin, a long-time Charlotte insider, is being outraised by a first-time candidate.

This isn’t very surprising.

During his 2016 race for NC House Dulin had to be bailed out by the NCGOP in October. The North Carolina Republican party gave $48,321.79 to Dulin’s campaign in in-kind donations between October and November 2016, accounting for 43 percent of his total 2015-16 election cycle fundraising. Meanwhile, Dulin’s Democratic opposition, Peter Noris, raised just $2,615 the entire 2015-2016 election cycle.

Name

Address

Committee

Date

Amount

Type

NC REPUBLICAN PARTY

PO BOX 12905 RALEIGH NC 27605

VOTE ANDY DULIN

10/19/16

7344.48

In Kind

NC REPUBLICAN PARTY

PO BOX 12905 RALEIGH NC 27605

VOTE ANDY DULIN

10/19/16

10500

In Kind

NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY

PO BOX 12905 RALEIGH NC 27605

VOTE ANDY DULIN

11/21/16

1087.15

In Kind

NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY

PO BOX 12905 RALEIGH NC 27605

VOTE ANDY DULIN

11/21/16

7344.48

In Kind

NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY

PO BOX 12905 RALEIGH NC 27605

VOTE ANDY DULIN

11/21/16

7350.6

In Kind

NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY

PO BOX 12905 RALEIGH NC 27605

VOTE ANDY DULIN

11/21/16

7350.6

In Kind

NORTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY

PO BOX 12905 RALEIGH NC 27605

VOTE ANDY DULIN

11/2/16

7344.48

In Kind

Total: $48321.79

(NCSBE, retrieved 12/01/17)

Dulin consistently out-fundraised other Charlotte City Council candidates and used his resources to run radio ads to help other Republican candidates. Fellow Councilman Michael Barnes called him “George Bush-ish.” (Charlotte Observer, 11/02/07)

While on the Charlotte City Council, Dulin received a significant amount of political contributions from developers, real estate, and construction companies.

  • “Even though Dulin is unopposed in his bid for re-election to the District 6 seat, he also received financial backing from real estate and construction employees. He raised $4,400 from such sources, with his main donors being D. Edwin Rose, president and CEO of Shelco Construction ($1,000); Henry Faison, founder of Faison Enterprises ($1,000); and Daniel Levine, owner of Levine Properties ($1,000).” (Mecklenburg Times, 10/14/11)
  • “Many of Dulin's donors were developers and attorneys. Attorney John Carmichael, who often represents developers in zoning cases, gave $200. The NC Realtors political action committee gave $1,000 and the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition PAC gave $500. Two executives at JDH Capital, an open-air shopping center developer, donated a total of $3,000. Six attorneys from the Charlotte firm Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson donated a total of $900.” (Charlotte Observer, 10/31/09)

But Dulin’s fundraising and confidence haven't always paid off.

He made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination for the 9thCongressional District in 2012. Despite putting his cellphone number on yard signs and claiming he would “take anyone’s call,” Dulin earned just 5.1 percent of the vote in the primary. He also raised less money than his rivals. (Charlotte Observer, 5/5/12)

In 2008, Dulin challenged Bob Rucho for the NC Senate seat being vacated by Robert Pittenger. Despite receiving the endorsement of the Charlotte Observer and the support of Pat McCrory, he lost the primary with 48 percent of the vote. Dulin owed himself $47,500 after the race.

Dulin came in a “distant sixth” in the 2004 election for Mecklenburg County Commission despite raising more than any other candidate. He raised $112,221 by late October 2004, more than any other candidate. (Charlotte Observer, 10/26/04; Charlotte Observer, 11/3/04)

In fact, Dulin’s 2016 win was his only successful attempt at winning in a district larger than the Charlotte City Council. And he had to be bailed out by the NCGOP to pull it off against a challenger who was only able to raise a little more than $2,000.

Though Dulin retains the advantages of incumbency and faces a political outsider, his ability to deliver on his overconfident promises looks unlikely based on his past electoral history. So much for the Andy Dulin Factor?