McCrory campaign takes to the air

Posted August 7, 2012

— Republican Pat McCrory is putting his fundraising advantage to work in the race for governor by buying television commercial air time from now through Election Day. 

Reports filed in television station public  files show the former Charlotte mayor has bought time to put ads on both cable and broadcast television starting Tuesday and keep them on for the duration of the race. 

Democratic rival Walter Dalton has not made similar purchases in advance of the fall campaign season. A spokesman for the lieutenant governor says Dalton will have an "aggressive" media strategy but wouldn't discuss its parameters.

When the two candidates reported their fundraising for the first half of the year, McCrory reported having $4.4 million on hand as of July 1, while Dalton had $714,479 on hand. 

McCrory's first ad of the fall campaign is a minute-long remix of a 30-second spot he aired earlier in the year. In the ad, McCrory is walking through a vacant warehouse space and talking about the need for North Carolina to tap its energy resources and for leaders to work together across party lines.

Like the lighting in the ad, the candidate's claims are gauzy, aimed not at communicating a specific platform but reintroducing the former Charlotte mayor to an electorate that has paid little attention to politics over the summer. 

"Out main goal in the advertising through television is certainly to articulate Pat's vision and reintroduce him to voters in North Carolina. That's something that will be the lion's share of our advertising. Pat has a lot to talk about in terms of himself," said McCrory campaign spokesman Brian Nick.

Nick would not say if any of McCrory's ads would criticize Dalton directly or how much McCrory plans to spend on television advertising. However, public records sketch out an aggressive campaign. On Raleigh-area cable channels, for example, records show the McCrory campaign has spent roughly $447,000. Cable is typically the least expensive form of television advertising. 

Local broadcast purchases include $102,015 in order on FOX 50 and $230,875 on WTVD, the local ABC affiliate. McCrory has $32,350 worth of ads scheduled to run on WRAL over the next two weeks, with orders pending through the fall. While an exact total was unavailable, multiple sources said that buy would top $300,000. The campaign has also placed orders with NBC-17.

Nick said the campaign might buy more time during the fall, depending on how much money he has on hand and how the campaign goes. However, because North Carolina is a swing state in the presidential campaign – bringing millions of dollars worth of ads from national candidates and allied organizations into the state – Nick said it was important to reserve time before it was bought by others.

"It's really a resource situation," he said.

Andrew Taylor, a political science professor at North Carolina State University, said McCrory was wise to begin advertising early.

"It's going to be difficult to break through the cacophony of the presidential candidates and their surrogates, the super PACs," Taylor said. While McCrory's first ad is positive, Taylor said he would be surprised if the Republican didn't use some of his ads to link Dalton to Gov. Bev Perdue, an incumbent who decided not to run for re-election. 

Given McCrory's fundraising lead, it is tempting to read Dalton's lack of ad buys as the flip side of that resource situation. That's not so, said Schorr Johnson, a spokesman for Dalton.

"We'll have the money to go on television," he said. Pressed for details, Johnson offered, "The Dalton campaign will have an aggressive television advertising campaign, but I cannot comment on specifics or our strategy."

Taylor said that Dalton, who had to spend heavily to win the Democratic primary, may find it easier than expected to raise money after recent polls showed him so close to McCrory that their numbers were within the margin of error for the polls. Candidates who trail badly typically find it hard to raise money from major donors. 

Both candidates for governor will have outsides backers pressing their cases as well. North Carolina Citizens for Progress has aired several attack ads targeting McCrory this summer and has promised more. Reports filed with the IRS show that the group's major backers are the Democratic Governors Association and political arm of the National Education Association, a national organization representing teachers. 

The Republican Governor's Association has run ads in support of the GOP candidate.


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  • SARCASTICLES Aug 8, 2012

    It don't matter how much he spends......NC ain't NEVER put a Charlatan in the Gov's mansion...ESPECIALLY one who works for a lobbying firm when he ain't even a lawyer. "Where do YOU stand, PAT?" (sorry, couldn't resist)

  • wral mods blow close my account Aug 8, 2012

    "Anyone in bed with Duke Energy certainly has some flawed character traits and a possbile criminal history." KC

    I could not have said it better myself.

  • Keyboard cat Aug 8, 2012

    What makes you say that?

    This guy is slimier than the slugs eating my plants on the back porch.

    Anyone in bed with Duke Energy certainly has some flawed character traits and a possbile criminal history.

  • wral mods blow close my account Aug 8, 2012

    If WRAL is such a liberal bias media, why has this McCory story been front page for 2 days?

  • Ripcord Aug 8, 2012

    "I wouldn't be surprised if McCrory has a hidden criminal background."

    What makes you say that?

  • glarg Aug 8, 2012

    The fact is that Obama is vacuuming up all available cash so downticket races are going to be underfunded.

    Dalton's plan is to get as much free air time out of the convention as possible, especially local stations and to piggyback on Obama's volunteers.

  • Banned4Life Aug 8, 2012

    "Vast untapped energy sources". And there you have it. McCrory is going after the "we're all gonna be RIIICHHHHHHHHHH" crowd hoping that somehow, there will suddenly be a huge interest in tapping the gas in the center of the state and it will be worth gazillions of dollars. If that is his economic plan, we're in for a long, hard ride downhill. And of course, if he's for that right wing standard, "trickle down" with lower taxes, then we can simply close up shop, turn out the lights and lock the door behind us, cause this state is history.

  • tmstubbs63 Aug 8, 2012

    Pat McCrory will win the Governorship in a cake walk.....

  • arfamr1007 Aug 8, 2012

    This story has been up for 2 days and only 19 posts. I feel the love for McCory LOL.
    August 8, 2012 9:52 a.m.

    Funny thing is nobody has anything bad to say and there is no defense needed so no comments. Look at te Obama stories on the other hand

  • Spidey Aug 8, 2012

    cvdurham....you'll feel it in November.