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Hagan radio ad goes after Tillis

Posted April 17, 2014 10:41 a.m. EDT
Updated April 17, 2014 4:59 p.m. EDT

— U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's re-election campaign is attacking House Speaker Thom Tillis with a new radio ad.

The 60-second spot is divided between two 30-second portions, one which focuses on the Affordable Care Act and the other that focuses on a sex scandal in Tillis' office from 2012. 

Hagan, a Democrat, is running for re-election and will face the winner of this spring's Republican primary. Tillis is the front-runner in that primary field, although it's far from clear that he will reach the 40 percent of the vote he will need to avoid a summer runoff against one of his chief rivals: Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary and Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte.

One part of the ad attacks Tillis over a scandal that involved two staffers in his office who had affairs with lobbyists. Outside spender Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC that aids Democrats, used the same issue in a recent television advertisement

"Instead of firing them, Tillis arranged for golden parachutes, paid for by taxpayers, worth over $19,000," says a female narrator. "Our tax dollars, bailing out the indiscretions of Thom Tillis' staff. Those may be values, but they're not North Carolina's." 

The other section of the ad focuses on Tillis' position on the Affordable Care Act, what some people call "Obamacare."

Tillis has been critical of Hagan's support for the law, as have Republican-allied outside spending groups that have spent more than $10 million on ads attacking Hagan.

The ad turns that thread on its head, saying Tillis "wants it both ways" on the Affordable Care Act. 

The ad uses a recent radio clip of Tillis saying of the ACA, "It's a great idea."

The full quote was, "It's a great idea that can't be paid for," and Tillis has been consistent in saying that he would vote to replace the law. Hagan's line of attack is one that has been used by Brannon and FreedomWorks, an outside spending group that favors him over Tillis. 

Hagan's campaign did not specify the size of the radio buy, simply calling it "significant." 

For his part, Tillis' campaign brushed off the criticism, saying it's a sign that Hagan and Democrats are worried by his candidacy and are trying to help a lesser opponent rise in the polls. 

"Yesterday, (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid hit the panic button, and today Kay Hagan is joining her far-left cronies in an attempt to meddle in the Republican primary," said Tillis spokesman Jordan Shaw. "Reid and Hagan know they cannot win against Thom Tillis in November, but North Carolina conservatives won’t be fooled by misleading attack ads by D.C. liberals."