Raleigh, N.C. — It's probably not the primary endorsement state House Speaker Thom Tillis was looking for.
Democratic super PAC Senate Majority has made a second large ad buy on behalf of incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who's facing what's likely to be a tough re-election fight in 2014, and it seems to be making a bet on who her Republican challenger will be.
While the PAC's first spot for Hagan last month didn't mention an opponent, the new one calls out Tillis by name.
After praising Hagan for supporting facets of the Affordable Care Act – the ad never mentions the law by name – it pivots quickly to attack.
"I’ve read that Speaker Thom Tillis sides with insurance companies," the actors say. "He’d let insurance companies deny coverage if I get sick. Thom Tillis, what about us?"
Senate Majority spokesman Ty Matsdorf confirmed to WRAL News that the group is spending around $750,000 for a two-week ad buy across the state.
When asked why they're going after Tillis, Matsdorf replied, "Because he has been the most brazen about attacking Medicare, and North Carolina voters deserve to know where he stands."
Tillis, an outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act, is considered the current front-runner in the five-way GOP primary. He has the support of establishment Republicans like master strategist Karl Rove, who headlined three North Carolina fundraisers in November for Tillis' Senate run.
However, the primary is still five months away, and Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte appears to be gaining some momentum among the state's more conservative Republican voters.
Tillis is already using the new ad to raise money. He.tweeted Thursday afternoon that "It is a badge of honor to be attacked by Harry Reid," the Senate majority leader.
In a fundraising email Thursday, Tillis called North Carolina "ground zero in the effort to get rid of the liberal Reid majority that is keeping Obamacare in place and keeping our country on a path to fiscal disaster."
"I need your help to fight back and am counting on your support of $35 or more today," Tillis added in the email.
Tillis and the rest of the Republican slate have already received a great deal of help from conservative PAC Americans for Prosperity.
With the general election still almost a year away, AFP has already spent a whopping $3.2 million on ad buys attacking Hagan.
In comparison, the latest buy by Senate Majority PAC brings the outside spending on Hagan's behalf to $1.15 million.