Raleigh, N.C. — Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, calls Republican candidate Pat McCrory's latest ad in the race for governor "divisive," saying it has racial undertones.
The ad features former Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay, a one-time Democrat who changed his party affiliation to Republican after losing the 2010 primary. Gay, who is white, lost to a former SBI agent and Wilson County deputy who is black and blamed the loss at least partly on African American voters being motivated by race.
Gay appears in a recent ad by McCrory and says the state is heading in the wrong direction.
"Our only hope is Pat McCrory," Gay says in the ad.
McKissick says the use of Gay was meant to stir up racial undertones in the election.
"Who is the 'our' that he is referring to?" McKissick asked during a phone interview Tuesday morning. "You just have to wonder what kind of message he is trying to send."
McKissick pointed to the ads producer, Fred Davis, as someone who has produced racially charged ads in the past, including one that targeted President Barack Obama using footage of the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In a letter to the McCrory campaign on Monday, McKissick asks the Republican to step away from racially charged campaigning.
A McCrory campaign spokesman dismissed McKissick's criticisms.
"It's puzzling to see how this has anything to do with the ad or the election," said Brian Nick, a spokesman for McCrory. "This gentleman has an issue with Sheriff Gay. Our ad is focused on turning North Carolina around and its strange for someone to attack a positive ad."