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Illegal immigration ads issue late in governor's race

Posted November 4, 2008
Updated November 5, 2008

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— The issues of illegal immigration and negative ads came up on the last day of the campaign, as Democrat Beverly Perdue's campaign aired two radio ads attacking Republican Pat McCrory on illegal immigration.

The ads said, in part, "McCrory said illegal immigrants were good because they were building all these buildings. What is he running for, mayor of Tiajuana or something?"

The ads, copies of which were provided by McCrory's campaign, were sprinkled with Spanish phrases. "It's time to say adios to Pat McCrory," the narrator says in one ad. A man in another ad says, "We'd be loco to vote for Pat McCrory."

Paula McClain, a political science professor at Duke University, said the ads "smacked of desperation."

"This really has elements of racism under the surface," McClain said. "It's an ad she didn't need to do."

A spokesperson for Perdue said the ads were released to set the record straight after "despicable" attacks on Perdue's record.

The spokesperson said that McCrory and national Republican groups falsely accused her of supporting amnesty and community college admission for illegal immigrants. Perdue pointed to three mailers from the Republican Governors Association, saying she was "rolling out the red carpet for immigrants."

A senior McCrory consultant said that outside political money is a reality, which paid for those mailers and a series of ads calling Perdue "Status Quo Bev."

McCrory said that a barrage of negative ads aired by his opponent obscured his good character.

"I saw some new ads that came out last night and heard them on the radio, and I didn't even recognize myself," McCrory said. "So I'll be glad when those ads are off the air, both radio and TV."

McCrory said that if he wins, his positive campaign could change political dialog in North Carolina.

"We were transparent. We were open. We're accessible," he said. "We're grassroots, and we were positive."

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