Under the Dome

New PAC boosts Gurley, as candidate puts $350,000 into his race

A month before the July runoff election, a new political committee formed to boost Tony Gurley's Republican bid for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary.

Dubbed "A True Direction," the independent expenditure committee was formed June 28 by Dan Spuller, a Republican operative and former aide to Pat McCrory's campaign. Its initial reports list a $2,500 contribution from Gurley's Medical Supply LLC, a Durham business formed earlier this year by Gurley's brother Danny. 

Spuller said the group is soliciting money from Gurley friends and allies to tout the candidate with positive messaging and "setting the record straight" about his record as a business leader and Wake County commissioner. Unlike many outside political groups, Spuller said there are no plans to attack the GOP rival Dan Forest.

"We wanted to figure out how we could get Tony through this primary," Spuller said.

The group will file a new report Wednesday disclosing donations through June 30. But because it formed so close to the deadline, much of it's activity will remain hidden until well after the runoff election.

Spuller declined to share details about how the committee would get out its message, whether through TV advertising or mailings, and he didn't commit to a fundraising target. The committee is acting independent from the campaign, per state law.

The group's website appears like a campaign mailer, touting Tony Gurley as "a true conservative reformer." It claims "Only Tony Gurley" fought for voter ID legislation, a constitutional ban on gay marriage, tougher immigration laws and tax cuts -- a not-exactly-true claim, given that most Republicans claim all the same, including his opponent Dan Forest.

Tony Gurley is essentially self-funding his campaign. Campaign finance reports show he has sunk $354,000 of his own money into the race, including $20,000 on July 5 and another $80,000 chunk July 6.

By comparison, his GOP rival for the state's No. 2 post raised just $6,000 since June 30. Forest and Gurley will file more detailed campaign reports Wednesday.

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