A really good, in-depth look at some of the influence of money in politics from WRAL.
From Chad Barefoot's $1M state senate seat...
"You basically have the leadership vacuuming up money though the state and then funneling it through the parties to candidates," said Bob Phillips, North Carolina state director for Common Cause, a good-government group that lobbies for limits on campaign spending.
For example, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger raised $1.6 million in 2012. Because he occupies a seat where most voters are likely to back Republicans and his Democratic opponent raised less than $4,000, Berger was able turn over most of his campaign cash to the party.
...to Art Pope buying up the legislature
"My opponent did not defeat me. Art Pope defeated me," said Cullie Tarleton, a Democrat and former lawmaker who lost to Rep. Jonathan Jordan, R-Ashe, in 2010 and again in 2012.
It's a very good report that follows some of the money and illustrates the typical flow of money, including the diminishing influence of the candidate's own fundraising in favor of party and outside dark money influence.