Local Politics

Perdue charges Moore ads stoop to 'race-baiting'

Posted April 24, 2008 5:48 p.m. EDT
Updated April 29, 2008 11:12 a.m. EDT

— Two political attack ads that question Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue's commitment to civil rights have become the latest battleground in the Democratic primary race for governor.

State Treasurer Richard Moore, Perdue's main rival for the nomination, on Friday rolled out an ad linking Perdue to a Georgia-based business that sells items like caps and beer can holders that bear Confederate images.

"We were shocked, and we went back several times to make sure it wasn't an isolated incident," Moore campaign manager Jay Reiff said. "We simply ask the question, is this an appropriate merchandise for future governor of North Carolina to be selling?"

The ad comes days after Moore started airing an ad citing Perdue's vote against a 1987 bill allowing the State Bureau of Investigation to look into secret societies like the Ku Klux Klan without a crime occurring first. She was one of only seven House members – and one of only two Democrats – to vote against the bill, which became law.

The vote was made during Perdue's first term in the legislature, and her campaign said her support for three civil rights bills during that term, such as making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a state holiday, shows that her vote on the SBI bill was a "misvote."

"It's nothing but race-baiting tactics Richard Moore is resorting to, and it's shameful," Perdue campaign manager David Kochman said. "He's getting desperate. He's resorting to something we'd typically see from (former U.S. Sen.) Jesse Helms. It's shameful and embarrassing and sad for the voters of North Carolina."

Purdue's campaign said Right Stuff Food Stores is operated by a stepson in Georgia. Her husband, Bob, is a part-owner but is uninvolved with managing the company and draws no salary, the campaign said.

Kochman pointed to a recent letter signed by 14 black lawmakers and elected officials endorsing Perdue and citing civil rights legislation she's supported.

"Bev Perdue has a 20-year record fighting for civil rights," he said.

The ads are the latest effort by Moore to raise questions among voters whether Perdue's campaign platform on key Democratic issues jibes with her legislative record within the General Assembly.

"This is a very competitive race. The voters will be the judge of what is out there and what are the facts," Reiff said.