State News

Outside ads force McCrory onto airwaves

Posted August 13, 2008 4:21 p.m. EDT
Updated August 13, 2008 9:06 p.m. EDT

— Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory on Wednesday unveiled his first television advertisement, in part to challenge an ad from an outside group.

In his ad, the Charlotte mayor said he supports deep-sea oil exploration as well as conservation. It says his challenger, Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, is 100 percent opposed to drilling.

McCrory campaign strategist Jack Hawke said the campaign is spending $150,000 to run the ad for 10 days.

McCrory said he hadn't planned on running any TV spots until after Labor Day, but that ads questioning his economic policies forced his hand.

"We would have preferred to wait, but when you have this mysterious group playing ads that we think are misleading and incorrect and not giving a counter position, I felt like we needed to come out," he said.

The ads targeting McCrory were paid for by the Alliance for North Carolina, a so-called 527 group that is funded by the Democratic Governors Association and the political action committee of the National Education Association.

In addition to challenging some of McCrory's positions, the ads instruct viewers to call his office in Charlotte. McCrory said his office has received about 300 calls during the past two weeks.

He said he wouldn't enter into a public war with the Alliance for North Carolina, choosing to focus his ad on his support of offshore drilling while questioning Perdue's stance.

Perdue's campaign said McCrory's ad is untrue.

"The ad continues Pat McCrory's untruthful claims about Bev Perdue," campaign spokesman Tim Crowley said. "Bev Perdue has consistently said she supports offshore drilling on America's coasts."

Scott Falmlen, a Democratic political consultant and a spokesman for the Alliance for North Carolina, said the group's backers are glad their ad provoked a response from McCrory.

"We're delighted that the issues – a higher minimum wage for North Carolinians, free community colleges and no perks for politicians – are being debated in the public square," Falmlen said.