Local Politics

Perdue, Moore Take Gloves Off

Posted March 26, 2008 6:34 p.m. EDT
Updated March 26, 2008 6:59 p.m. EDT

— After weeks of positive image and position advertisements, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and State Treasurer Richard Moore have started duking it out over the airwaves.

The two contenders for the Democratic nomination for governor have started running negative ads about each other – a new round is expected in the next few days – and political observers said the ads should be viewed with care.

"There's some elements of truth in these ads, but context is everything," said Jack Betts, a political columnist with The Charlotte Observer.

One Moore ad chides Perdue for voting for budgets as a state senator that raised college costs.

"Bev Perdue actually led the charge to raise tuition on North Carolina students," said Jay Reiff, Moore's campaign manager, acknowledging that Moore also backed tuition increases while in the legislature.

"Politics is all about competitive races. So, I will match fire with fire," Perdue said, adding that she now supports tuition breaks for college students.

Perdue's ads attack Moore's fundraising among finance firms that do business with his office. However, she doesn't mention the state's pension fund is ranked as one of the strongest in the nation.

Betts said he sees a feisty race headed down the stretch.

"Moore sees this as his time to make his move. Perdue sees this as a time to fight it off," he said.

He said he understands the advertising strategy, but he said voters would be better served by debates.

"The fact of the matter is she's been ducking debates," Reiff said of Perdue.

Perdue said she has taken part in five televised forums. She declined an open-ended invitation to take part in a WRAL-sponsored debate that Moore accepted.

"We've really debated. I don't know, again, what the whine is about from my opponent," she said.