Thom Tillis to launch first TV ad

01/02/2014 2:32 PM

01/02/2014 2:34 PM

Republican Thom Tillis is poised to become the first candidate to launch television ads in the U.S. Senate race, spending $300,000 in what his campaign calls a “sign of strength.” (See the ad below.)

In the 30-second spot that debuts next week, Tillis talks to the camera and highlights the federal health care law and the nation’s debt as his top priorities, blaming President Barack Obama and Democrats for the first and both political parties for the latter.

The state House speaker emphasizes the need for accountability in Washington – the same buzzword being used by Americans for Prosperity, an outside conservative organization also airing a new TV ad this week that hits Democrat Kay Hagan.

Tillis points directly at the Democratic incumbent in his ad. “Kay Hagan enabled President Obama’s worst ideas and she refuses to clean up his messes, so you and I have to clean up hers,” he says.

The ad is running in Asheville, Wilmington and the Greensboro-Winston-Salem TV markets. But it avoids the state’s two most costly and most dense TV markets, Raleigh and Charlotte. The two areas left off the map know Tillis best, given the state capital in Raleigh and Tillis’ hometown of Charlotte.

Campaign manager Jordan Shaw said the ad shows Tillis “is running a serious campaign.” The other four candidates in the race – Mark Harris, Greg Brannon, Bill Flynn and Heather Grant – are raising far less money than Tillis, who is getting financial backing from House Speaker John Boehner, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP strategist Karl Rove. The GOP primary is May 6.

Democrats responded to the ad quickly. “With a record of accountability to nobody but the shady special interests bankrolling his campaigns, Speaker Tillis is trying to paper over his record of slashing education by $500 million and selling off seats on the UNC Board to the highest campaign contributors,” said Ben Ray, a Democratic Party spokesman. “North Carolinians won’t be fooled.”

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