Fact-checking the congressional race between Kathy Manning and Rep. Ted Budd

Kathy Manning, left, is challenging Republican incumbent Ted Budd in North Carolina's 13th Congressional District.
Kathy Manning, left, is challenging Republican incumbent Ted Budd in North Carolina's 13th Congressional District.

Candidates across the country have made some loaded statements ahead of the midterm elections, and North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District is no exception.

The race for the 13th District, which includes Statesville, High Point and parts of Greensboro, pits incumbent Republican Ted Budd against Democrat Kathy Manning, an attorney and small business owner.

Our fact-checks in the 13th District race involved PAC money, "out-of-state liberal donors," pre-existing conditions and a parking lot.

Budd on Kathy Manning’s out-of-state donors

"Most of Kathy Manning’s support is coming from out-of-state liberal donors," Budd tweeted in August.

PolitiFact checked using data from the FEC and Open Secrets, a news arm of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Both sources confirmed Budd’s claim, which was based on a report from Axios that said 55.5 percent of Manning’s individual campaign donors hailed from another state.

We rated the statement True.

Manning on Budd and pre-existing conditions

A Manning television ad said Budd "voted to gut protections for pre-existing conditions … letting insurance companies deny coverage for (necessary) treatment." That’s an attack line Democrats have used against many GOP incumbents.

The vote in question was for the American Health Care Act of 2017, a Republican bill to overhaul Obamacare that passed the House but died in the Senate.

Budd voted yes on the AHCA, and while it said insurance companies could not refuse coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, it did open the door for insurers to hike premiums under certain circumstances for those same people.

An amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., would have allowed insurers in states that applied for waivers to consider pre-existing conditions when writing policies for people who had lapses in coverage during the previous year.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that this would have caused 6.3 million people to face higher premiums because of pre-existing health conditions. That’s a significant number, but a small portion of the estimated 50 to 120 million people under 65 with pre-existing conditions.

We rated Manning’s statement Half True because the AHCA would have rolled back protections for pre-existing conditions, but only in a limited way.

Budd on Manning and taxpayer money

A television and radio ad from the Budd campaign said "Kathy Manning got "$30 million of your tax dollars plus $2.3 million a year" to build a luxury hotel and parking lot.

We checked the facts and found that wasn’t true. Manning’s husband, Randall Kaplan, is a leader of the group behind the development of the Westin Hotel in Greensboro, but Manning herself has not played any role in the project.

The $30 million the city put into the project represents the entire cost of building the parking deck, rather than the net profit for Manning or Kaplan. Plus, Kaplan had committed to donating his earnings to the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.

The $2.3 million is also not going to Manning, Kaplan or Kaplan’s group, either. The city plans to use that money to maintain the parking deck and pay down the debt, according to its website.

We rated this statement False because Manning is not involved in the project and it’s simply not true that any of the city’s allocated funds will go to her pocket.

Budd on Manning’s political donations

Throughout the campaign, including in an Oct. 24 television ad, Budd said Manning gave "nearly $1 million to liberals."

PolitiFact reached out to Budd’s campaign and found that they had been counting donations from Kaplan, Manning’s husband, in their calculations. Data from Open Secrets and the N.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement website show that the couple has given a combined $769,521 in federal and state-level donations.

But on their own, Manning has given $243,746 and Kaplan has given $525,775. In some cases, they have donated to the same candidates, but Manning has also made donations to candidates that Kaplan did not help, and vice-versa.

We rated this statement Mostly False because the Budd campaign conflated Manning’s individual donations with the contributions her husband made on his own.

Manning on taking no corporate PAC donations

Manning said, "I’m not taking any corporate PAC money."

It’s true that she technically has not taken corporate PAC money, but she has taken money from other PACs, including from non-corporate PACs that are funded by corporate PACs.

She also has taken money from employees at several large corporations, including executives from major investment banking, real estate, chemical and tech companies — the very same people who tend to fund the corporate PACs she claims she has steered clear of. 

We rated this statement Half True because while Manning has not taken any corporate PAC dollars, she has taken the nearest equivalent: donations from non-corporate PACs funded by corporate PACs and donations from employees or large corporations.

This story was produced by the North Carolina Fact-Checking Project, a partnership of McClatchy Carolinas, the Duke University Reporters’ Lab and PolitiFact. The NC Local News Lab Fund and the International Center for Journalists provide support for the project, which shares fact-checks with newsrooms statewide.

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