Under the Dome

GOP ads go after Shuler's U.S. House seat

STAFF WRITERSMarch 21, 2011 

Democratic U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler is the target of a TV ad campaign that begins today, marking the beginning of Republican efforts to pick up several seats in North Carolina in 2012.

The National Republican Congressional Committee began airing a three-week TV campaign that portrays Shuler as fiscally irresponsible.

"Shuler voted for the Obama-Pelosi budget that had massive deficits," the announcer says. "Shuler voted against cutting $61 billion from this year's spending. So don't look at what Heath Shuler says. ... Look at his votes."

The NRCC also began running ads Monday against Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia about gas prices.

That the Republicans are running ads so early in the season against Shuler, the 11th District congressman from Haywood County, is an indication that they are likely to make a major effort in North Carolina.

With Republicans in control of the state legislature for the first time in more than a century, Republican lawmakers have a chance to redraw the map to increase the number ofGOP-friendly legislative districts.

Other likely Democratic targets include 13th District Democrat Brad Miller of Raleigh, 7th District Democrat Mike McIntyre of Lumberton and 8th District DemocratLarry Kissell of Biscoe.

Cable competition?

Legislators will give the masses a chance to a have their say about cable competition before they stop cities from building their own broadband networks. The House Finance Committee has a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

The lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it harder for municipalities to step in when cable and phone companies decide not to build high-speed Internet systems in their communities. Cable and phone companies have been pushing such broadband legislation for years.

2nd place looks better

Democratic Senate candidate Elaine Marshall may not have won the gold medal - the Senate seat - but her campaign team came home with the silver.

Bates & Mills, her main campaign consulting firm, won a silver medal from the American Association of Political Consultants.

The award was for a fake bank card that the Marshall campaign distributed to criticize Republican Sen. Richard Burr. The "BankRun" Bank Card was designed to highlight an episode in which Burr told his wife she should go to the ATM machine and make withdrawals during the 2008 credit crunch.

The president of the firm is Thomas Mills of Carrboro, a longtime North Carolina political consultant.

Marshall, the secretary of state, appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" last week, talking about efforts to combat the sale of counterfeit goods. But presumably not counterfeit bank cards.

rob.christensen@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4532

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