North Carolina: Will We Elect Someone Who Is Out, Proud and Ready for Capitol Hill?

Sitting at a fundraiser in the sleepy college town of Greensboro, N.C., State Representative Marcus Brandon did an impromptu meet-and-greet. I realized quickly that Brandon might be the kind of person we need to send to Congress. We need elected leaders who properly represent people on the ground here in North Carolina. Brandon is running for Mel Watts' seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. If Brandon succeeds, he will become the first gay African American in the U.S. Congress.

Brandon is down to earth. He is about creating jobs, his fingers are on the pulse of those on the ground.

As we all know, it takes money to succeed in any race. Well, money or fame. Since Brandon was short on both, he has apparently succeeded in the former.

The Marcus Brandon for Congress Committee raised $90,239 during the third financial quarter, which ran from July 1 to September 30, 2013. Brandon's campaign has now raised $143,310 through two quarters in its special election race for North Carolina's 12th Congressional district. The third quarter figure exceeds Brandon's previous quarter total, which led the field.

Brandon's campaign has raised its money exclusively from individual contributors. Over 800 people have donated money to the campaign, more than triple the amount after the second quarter.

Brandon has been able to hire a full finance and field staff for his campaign.

"This past quarter was encouraging. We now have enough money to cover our campaign's expenditures through the end of the race. Any additional money raised can go directly to voter contact," said Campaign Manager Cecil Brockman. He added, "This gives us a lot of momentum, considering the extenuating circumstances we are under with this particular race. When people hear Representative Brandon's message they respond in kind with great generosity and financial support, which allows us to remain aggressive on the campaign trail."

According to Charlotte's News and Observer:

At least four Democrats are already running hard for the Congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte, whose nomination to head the federal Housing Finance Agency still awaits Senate confirmation.

But there's a growing sense that Watt, first elected in 1992, won't run even if he doesn't get the federal post.

New reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission show Watt raised just $10 in the third quarter. That's not even lunch money in Washington.

By contrast, four people who want his seat have been busy raising money. Leading the field: two-term state Rep. Marcus Brandon of High Point. He raised $90,500 during the quarter and more than $143,000 for the campaign.

If there has been any take away from the past few weeks of uncertainty in D.C., it has been the need to fire our elected leaders and replace them with folks who will do what it takes to make this country succeed. I believe Brandon represents that change.