There’s no escape. Political ads in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina picked up the pace this week.
Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit group, has more than $5 million to spend in the final weeks of the campaign benefiting Thom Tillis and opposing U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who is responding with her own TV blitz.
Both are nimble enough to get ads on the air in response to the controversy of the week.
Friday’s Crossroads target was Hagan’s missed Senate committee meetings, particularly her acknowledgment on Wednesday that she skipped a classified briefing to attend a fundraiser in Manhattan, because it had been rescheduled. PolitiFact found she missed half the open meetings. Her staff has said she missed some meetings because of scheduling conflicts.
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But attendance is a fluid thing: Senators commonly miss meetings or only attend for a few minutes and are briefed later.
Crossroads new ad will air in rotation with another spot that began earlier in the week.
Hagan’s campaign responded with a new line of defense: That Hagan has had a “98 percent voting attendance record” in the Senate Armed Services Committee, citing Congressional Quarterly data indicating she voted on 57 out of 58 votes between 2009 and 2014. The reference is to “markups,” which are hearings with recorded votes, but do not reflect all of the committee hearings. The campaign also said she has run 21 hearings of Subcommittee on Emerging Threats between 2011 and 2014, citing subcommittee records.
Tillis had pursued that line of attack in a pair of ads last week accusing Hagan of failing to do more about the Islamic State threat. Hagan met those spots with an ad on Wednesday saying Tillis’ ads were “outrageous” and that he “should be ashamed.” She continued her counter-punch that Tillis has criticized but not come up with any suggestions of his own about what the United States should do about the terrorist threat.
Hagan also has money stockpiled. She is spending close to $5 million on a fall TV ad buy, including a new one released late Friday afternoon, saying Tillis has reached “a new low” and had his own attendance problems at the General Assembly: