Republican Congressman George Holding is labeling his Democratic opponent an “odd duck” in a TV ad that began airing this week.
Holding, of Raleigh, faces little-known challenger John McNeil in the 2nd Congressional District, which is drawn to strongly favor Republicans.
McNeil, a Marine Corps veteran and attorney, has never held elected office. So the ad focuses on his support for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and a Facebook post in which he describes himself as an “urban farmer” who raises chickens.
“Look at this – it’s John McNeil, urban farmer raising chickens, a Bernie-crat,” says the woman in the ad, looking at a laptop. “John McNeil, odd duck.”
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Holding’s ad also addresses a scenario in which Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election. It does not mention the Republican candidate, Donald Trump.
“If Hillary wins, we’ll need Republicans like George in Congress,” the woman in the ad says.
McNeil posted a statement on Facebook responding to the Holding ad.
“I spent the day working for the folks in the 2nd Congressional District to help them recover from the hurricane,” he wrote. “My opponent spent his time today airing attacks ads.
“George Holding wasn’t attacking me on issues, but instead attacked my appearance at a fundraiser to help handicapped children play baseball and because I grow my own food and raise chickens ... seriously?”
The ad didn’t mention the fundraiser, but McNeil appears to be referring to video footage in the ad which shows him speaking at an event.
Holding’s campaign wouldn’t say how much it’s spending on ads, but records show at least $30,000 has been spent so far.
Congressional incumbents in North Carolina haven’t done much TV advertising this year because gerrymandered districts mean most of them aren’t in close re-election battles.
Holding had a massive funding advantage over McNeil in the latest available finance records: $2 million raised this cycle by June 30 to just $26,000 raised by McNeil.