Under the Dome

GOP governors, comfortable with McCrory’s lead, trim NC TV ads

October 6, 2012 

With Pat McCrory sitting on a double-digit lead in the polls, the Republican Governors Association is trimming its spending on TV commercials in North Carolina, according to new data.

The move signals that national Republicans are confident that McCrory is a near-lock to win the governor’s race and allows the RGA to spend more in closer races across the country.

The RGA cut $400,000 from its ad buy in the next two weeks starting Monday, independent media buyers report. “We feel comfortable,” spokesman Mike Schrimpf said.

“We are going to keep our foot on the gas but not press the pedal all the way to the floor.”

The group still plans to spend $2.5 million in the final month on attack ads against Democrat Walter Dalton in addition to the $2 million McCrory is poised to spend.

The GOP money more than doubles what Dalton and a liberal group backed by the Democratic Governors Association are scheduled to spend through Election Day.

How much the campaigns spend on TV advertising is key to whether they can get their messages to voters ahead of early voting Oct. 16 and Election Day. The numbers are likely to change again because the campaigns are constantly shifting strategies, but the RGA cutback is a significant development.

Schrimpf said the RGA could increase its TV buy in the final weeks but doesn’t see a need given the Democratic spending.

Dalton entered the contest more than $1 million in the hole compared to McCrory and fought off a primary challenger. And since the May contest, his campaign hasn’t generated the kind of energy necessary to post big fundraising numbers.

The DGA dismisses its counterpart’s confidence. The DGA’s affiliated N.C. Citizens for Progress just upped its ad spending more than $100,000 in the next couple of weeks – though it’s still dwarfed by the GOP buy.

Perdue ‘sick and tired’ of ads

Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue took strong exception Saturday to Republican charges that North Carolina was “broken” and needed to be fixed.

Speaking to a Democratic women’s breakfast, she said she was “sick and tired” of all the ads criticizing the state and the country. And while she did not mention any names, she was clearly referring to McCrory.

“I’m tired of them talking about how sorry the country is and how broken the state is” she told about 300 people at the Grove Park Inn. “Let me remind you that we are not broken.’’

If the state were broken, Perdue said, why have 250,000 new people moved to the state during the last few years – adding to the state’s unemployment rate. If the state is broken, why is North Carolina rated first, second, third or fourth as the best place to do business, she asked.

North Carolina has added 115,000 new jobs during the past four years, she said. And she said North Carolina is one of only eight states that has a AAA bond rating from Wall Street accrediting agencies.

Perdue told the Democrats that one of her proudest accomplishments as governor was vetoing the voter ID bill, which she said was a “voter suppression” effort being pushed by tea party groups across the country. If it had become law, Perdue said, “More than one million voters in this state would have been disenfranchised.”

Also speaking at the breakfast was Dalton and former Congressman Bob Etheridge.

Staff writer John Frank and Rob Christensen

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