NC could see heated presidential race
Posted January 16, 2012
Updated January 17, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Even though the presidential election is months away, a political ad attacking President Barack Obama is already running on North Carolina airwaves.
The minute-long ad, "Obama Sacrifices Pawns for Politics," is part of a $1 million statewide campaign by Americans for Prosperity, which started running the ad Monday and is expected to run it up until the president's State of the Union address next week.
Gary Pearce, a Democratic political consultant, said it's likely the first of such ads by independent, or third-party groups, that will run in the state over the next 10 months since North Carolina will be key in determining the next president.
"Get used to it. We're a battleground state," Pearce said.
The ads are already playing a role in the Republican race for the White House.
In Iowa, New Hampshire and now, South Carolina, independent groups are dominating the airwaves with little to no regulation and oversight as to the accuracy of the ads.
In Iowa, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was knocked out as being one of the top presidential contenders once a so-called Super PAC ran an ad supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
"They're playing a huge role in South Carolina," Pearce said. "They're going to play a role here. They're here to stay."
Dallas Woodhouse, state president of Americans for Prosperity, agrees.
"There is going to be a long election cycle where there are lots of voices talking about lots of things," he said.
That number of voices is expected to only grow.
"As much political speech as we can have is good," Woodhouse said.