Local Politics

Election to bring political ads nauseam to N.C.

Posted August 18, 2008 6:31 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina appears to be in play up and down the ticket in the November election, prompting millions of dollars in advertising from candidates and special-interest groups.


"North Carolina is the only state in the entire country that has a targeted presidential race, a targeted Senate race and a targeted gubernatorial race by the national parties," said Jerry Meek, chairman of the state Democratic Party.

The U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole and Democratic challenger Kay Hagan has already generated more than $1 million in television ads from outside groups. Dole will begin airing a new round of ads Friday that a national campaign committee paid more than $675,000 to air in Raleigh, while another national committee spent $1 million for Hagan ads.

"Senate races nowadays are not just state-level races anymore because the control of the U.S. Senate is at stake," Meek said.

Republicans admit North Carolina is critical for presumed GOP presidential nominee John McCain to win the White House.

"I think it's fair to say we have to win North Carolina. I mean, it will be hard to conceive losing states like North Carolina," said Frank Donatelli, deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Donatelli said the GOP isn't taking anything for granted and plans to match the Democrats in spending to win the state in November.

"We're keeping our eye on North Carolina. We will spend what we have to to win the state," he said.

That means almost daily doses of McCain, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, Dole, Hagan and gubernatorial candidates Pat McCrory and Beverly Perdue on television and radio in the coming weeks.

"It's going to be a competitive process between now and November. I hope people don't get sick of all the TV commercials," Meek said.