Ad by McCrory backer signals change to campaign cycle

Posted September 9, 2013
Updated September 10, 2013

— If it seems a bit early for Gov. Pat McCrory to be launching a re-election campaign, it is.

But the ad that will tout the governor's goals on TV across the state over the next month or so is not quite a campaign commercial, and it is not funded by the McCrory machine.

The Renew North Carolina Foundation, which spent at least $166,000 on air time for the ad, is a 501(c)4 – an independent group outside of the formal campaign structure that promotes McCrory's policies.

Brent Laurenz, executive director of the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Voter Education, says similar groups are popping up around the country for Democrats and Republicans alike. 

"I think we're getting into this 24-hour, 365-day-a-year campaign cycle. It never stops," Laurenz said.

Renew NC Off-cycle ads signal change in campaigns

501(c)4 groups can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to support a candidate. There are no contribution limits, and they don't have to disclose their donors, like actual campaigns do.

"We want to know if Industry X is paying $200,000 to help elect a state senator," Laurenz said. "You know, that's in the public interest to know that information, and with these outside groups, we don't get that information unless they want to volunteer it." 

There is one limit: 501(c)4s are not supposed to coordinate with any campaign. Renew North Carolina's ad slides right through that loophole. This far out from the next gubernatorial election, McCrory is not technically a candidate.

Laurenz said the ads may simply be to boost the governor's approval rating, which has seen a dip.

"We're stepping on the toes of the left and the right to make tough necessary changes," McCrory says in the ad.

He talks about lowering taxes, beefing up vocational training and cutting down on waste and fraud in government.

"We're getting more efficient now with your tax dollars (and) plan to use the saving to reward our best teachers," McCrory says.

The tag line: "North Carolina's future is worth stepping on a toe or two." 

A statement on Renew North Carolina's website defines the group's mission this way: "Renew NC advocates for policies and issues we support as a foundation committed to moving North Carolina forward."

The group says it supports specific aspects of policies McCrory has pushed while in office.

"An agenda that calls for efficiency in government, excellence in education, and improving our business climate to put people back to work is not only in the best interests of the citizens of North Carolina today, but those who follow in the future," says the statement.


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  • HeadsUp Sep 17, 2013

    Run, Elaine, run!!!

  • Inside The Beltline Sep 14, 2013

    McCrory now has the lowest ratings of any Governor in the United States. No wonder he is having his cronies show ads on TV. And he needs to stop the middle man hogwash. He has stepped on toes on the left AND RIGHT? lol. Give me a break. Pat, you are one and done, just like Bev.

  • ChgoGrl Sep 12, 2013

    Total joke!

  • marty121010 Sep 12, 2013

    McCrory's approvals are in the 30s - hence, an ad touting his marvelous actions that harm the majority of North Carolinians.

  • Krimson Sep 12, 2013

    "No Asians?"

    Maybe they couldn't find any willing to embarrass themselves by being seen in a McCrony AD???

  • kdogwnc Sep 11, 2013

    The renew NC foundation is not part of the McCrory machine? Isn't Jack Hawke president of civitas, and an officer in renew NC?

  • dontstopnow Sep 11, 2013

    I don't need to see the ads because I love the job McCroy has done as Governor! Keep going is all I have to say.

  • Bogged Down Sep 11, 2013

    Marsupial is right. It reeks of DESPERATION.

  • Bogged Down Sep 11, 2013

    Though it was a nice touch tossing in that sole dark-skinned guy. No Asians? Oh well, I guess Republicans can't have too many tokens in their ads. It reminds me of the ad Rosey Grier did for Jesse Helms. Fake then. Fake now.

  • jtd1969 Sep 11, 2013

    What a joke!