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 19992, 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 3rd 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.
Brandon, the legislature's only openly gay member, appears to have a national fundraising base with contributions from New York to California.
Behind him was George Battle III, general counsel for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board. He's raised a total of $109,620.
State Rep. Alma Adams, an 11-term House member from Greensboro, has raised $89,493. And state Sen. Malcolm Graham of Charlotte has raised $57,150.
The 12th District stretches from Charlotte to Greensboro.
Other Democrats who have talked about running for the seat, including Reps. Beverly Earle and Rodney Moore of Charlotte, have yet to file reports.