Berger touts voter ID in new ad

Posted September 9, 2013
Updated September 10, 2013

Sen. Phil Berger

— A new cable television spot by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger is spurring renewed speculation about whether he'll run for U.S. Senate. 

Berger, R-Rockingham, has toyed for months with a possible run in the 2014 election but had been putting off a decision. 

House Speaker Thom Tillis is already a declared candidate. If Berger were to get into the race, it would set up a showdown between the legislature's two top Republicans for the chance to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.

"He's still very much undecided," said Ray Martin, a political adviser to Berger. Others close to Berger expect an announcement within the next 10 days or so.

Berger's new television ad highlights the issue of requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. 

"Shouldn't you show a photo ID to vote? Liberals like Obama and Kay Hagan say no," intones an announcer during the 30-second spot. "Now, thanks to Phil Berger, voters must show a valid photo ID to vote." 

Leaving aside the debate over whether requiring voters to show ID is a good idea, it's worth noting that it was the House, led by Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, that first passed a voter ID bill following a pair of high-profile public hearings. Berger's ad also doesn't mention the other parts of the election bill that made the measure much more controversial, including provisions that alter the early voting period, end same-day registration for in-person absentee voting and dozens of other changes to how people vote and how elections are funded.

Voting Q&A: Changes to NC election laws

It's also noteworthy that the ad takes aim at national politicians, including Hagan, who hasn't served in the state Senate since 2008. 

"He (Berger) thinks its important to educate the voters about the successes of the legislative session," Martin said.

Hagan has called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review the new voting law. 

"I strongly encourage the Justice Department to immediately review North Carolina House Bill 589 and take all appropriate steps to protect federal civil rights and the fundamental right to vote," Hagan said in August.

The ad attracted the attention of national press, with The Washington Post touting the ad as a sign that Berger would run for U.S. Senate over the weekend. A Post story described the ad as "a statewide advertisement" that indicated Berger was "hinting he might have a grander stage in mind."

However, the ad is running only in the Greensboro market and only on cable, not broadcast television. 

A news release from the Berger committee describes the effort as a "six-week TV and web campaign" that "totals more than $100,000." A public disclosure form filed by Time Warner Cable showed Berger spending $68,000 on the cable television end of the buy.

Hagan's campaign responded to the Berger ad on Monday.

“Kay is standing up for access to the ballot box for all voters because she believes this fundamental right shouldn’t be a political football,” said Preston Elliott, Hagan’s campaign manager. 


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  • HockeyPlayerX Sep 12, 2013

    Oh, don't let these whining liberals fool you, this has nothing to do with disenfranchising or voting rights, and everything to do with them being upset that their candidates will no longer be able to cheat.

  • kdogwnc Sep 11, 2013

    to IndependentAmerican: A poll tax is unconstitutional, period. There's nothing in the Constitution that says a poll tax is ok if one can afford it.

  • wildpig777 Sep 11, 2013

    maybe the freedom loving repubs will require fingerprints next.....

  • lem07 Sep 10, 2013

    Have you tried working an 8 - 4:30 job which you get a ride from a charitable coworker where you have a 30 min commute. Then have to find time to get to the county you were born in to get a birth certificate (for free if you were born in an NC county, supposedly) then get to a DMV to wait in line to get a free ID. Your vacation (PTO, sick, etc.) are few, if any, and may have been used up due to illness. How do you pay your bills if you do not work? How do you do this sequence of events if you have to work? What if you were born out of state? NC can't compel another state to give you a free birth certificate because they require one to obtain a free ID. Think about someone other than yourself.

  • IndependentAmerican Sep 10, 2013

    to kdogwnc: I admit I do not know for sure, but does this law allow for ID's to be available free to those that can't afford one? In which case there is no 'poll tax'. Also, no one is disenfranchised... show up at the poll and vote. No ID, it's a provisional ballot, and you'll need to prove at some point that you are who you say you are for that vote to count. Again, I'm not sure what that entails... but how does anyone prove who they are? You want your vote to count without going through hoops, use your ID. Don't have one get one. Can't afford one, get a free one. My original point, let's wait until the next election and see how much of a problem it really is, other than those who will refuse to show an ID just to make a point.

  • goldenosprey Sep 10, 2013

    "Pirate01: "The US Supreme Court has ruled that voter ID is in fact Constitutional. NEXT!!!"

    Not in the egregiously over-reaching way the NCGA and guvna Pope have outlined. Defending this mess will keep taxpayers' money busy.

  • Krimson Sep 10, 2013

    Pirate01: "The US Supreme Court has ruled that voter ID is in fact Constitutional. NEXT!!!"

    Hey! That's a great argument why the GOP led House is just wasting tax-money and time trying to defund ACA... Let's both remember that when you next decide to spout off about "Obamacare"...

  • Krimson Sep 10, 2013

    "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

  • lem07 Sep 10, 2013

    Let's all be required to get a microchip implanted in us, like you can have for your companion animal, right at birth. Then we wouldn't need to have an ID carried on our person. What? Is that going to far? You don't want to be ID'd unless it suits you or your particular agenda?

  • junkmail5 Sep 10, 2013

    Gvt says we must buy health insurance- Alex25

    Not quite.

    they say you must do so, or pay a tax.

    You're perfectly free to NOT get it and pay the tax instead.


    Not for exercise of basic constitutional rights you don't.

    I don't need ID to exercise freedom of speech, freedom of religion, be immune from illegal search and seizure, be permitted due process, and so on...

    Voting is a right just like those.

    Only one state allowed same day registration- Pirate01

    meanwhile, back in reality-


    "Eight states currently have some form of Election Day voter registration"

    It goes on to mention 2 more just added one that hasn't kicked in yet, another requires NO registration AT ALL... and TWO more allow it during early voting (Ohio and NC)

    On 16/17 yr olds-