UPDATED: A Pat McCrory fundraiser Friday in Jacksonville featured a number of names that likely were familiar to his opponent, Gov. Bev Perdue.
More than a dozen prominent people on the invitation gave money to Perdue in the past, including a few longtime Democratic donors who helped fill the coffers for former Govs. Jim Hunt and Mike Easley. And all live east of Raleigh, the governor's political base of support.
The fundraiser -- which raised north of $50,000 -- took place at the home of George Jones, the former mayor of Jacksonville, a one-time Perdue supporter. (See invite here.)
The co-hosts ($2,000 minimum contribution) included Billy Sewell and John O. Stevenson -- both major Perdue financial supporters. Among the sponsors at the $1,000 level were other well known political donors who previously backed Perdue's campaigns: Jamie Lanier, John Pierce, Elijah Morton and Jonathan Popkin.
A handful of the Perdue donors at the Jacksonville event also gave money to McCrory in the 2008 governor's race, but most of those gave more to Perdue, campaign finance records show.
The Jacksonville event wasn't the first sign that Perdue's moneymen are looking for another horse -- nor will it be the last.
Earlier this summer, former Easley and Perdue contributor Danny McQueen hosted two events in Morehead City for McCrory. And another former Democrat, Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay, is expected to host a fundraiser for the likely GOP nominee for governor later this month.
The Perdue campaign confirmed that a number of these folks were their former donors but didn't offer further comment.
But for McCrory, a couple names on the Jacksonville fundraiser may not work in his favor. Sewell, who owns a chain of Golden Corral restaurants, and Pierce, his business partner, were subpoenaed in a state investigation about Easley's questionable campaign contributions.
Back in 2008, McCrory called on Perdue -- then the lieutenant governor-- to return contributions from Sewell and his father, Louis Sewell, after the N&O reported that the elder Sewell, a state transportation board member, had steered DOT money to an intersection and a road where he and his son have financial interests.
Given Billy Sewell's prominence on the fundraising invite, it doesn't seem that McCrory considers those contributions toxic anymore.
"This is the kind of hypocrisy North Carolinians have come to expect from McCrory," said Perdue campaign spokesman Marc Farinella. "In his eyes, Sewell is a 'disgrace' until he makes a contribution to McCrory’s campaign. Then Sewell is a fine upstanding citizen. It apparently doesn’t take much money to change McCrory’s views of right and wrong."
McCrory's spokesman Brian Nick said the situation is different now. "When Pat's campaign manager made the comments about the contribution three years ago, it was obviously in the context of Perdue being the sitting lieutenant governor and the gentleman currently serving on the DOT board," he said in a statement. "It created the appearance of impropriety, as opposed to the current situation where there is not."