A super PAC launched by donors who House Speaker Thom Tillis helped appoint to a UNC governing board launched a $100,000 ad campaign this week to boost his U.S. Senate campaign, just as early voting starts.
Grow NC Strong’s minute-long radio advertisement – which is airing statewide and particularly aimed at news/talk stations – calls Tillis a “proven conservative” who supports anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage efforts. (Hear ad below.)
“In North Carolina, one conservative has the guts to stop Barack Obama and Kay Hagan’s liberal agenda – Thom Tillis,” it says.
The spot also repeats a falsehood that Tillis uses on the campaign trail – that Hagan cast the deciding vote on Obamacare.
To get it on the air, Grow NC Strong needed a boost from another super PAC supporting Tillis’ bid: American Crossroads, a group airing $1.6 million in TV ads promoting Tillis and bashing Hagan, the Democratic incumbent.
Crossroads gave Grow NC Strong $65,000 earlier this month ahead of the ad campaign, FEC reports show. The groups are using similar campaign messages, too. Outside political groups are allowed to coordinate with each other but not the campaign.
The Grow NC Strong radio ad says Tillis “is fighting Obamacare and has the guts to repeal and replace it.”
The first Crossroads ad, that debuted earlier this month, said Tillis had “the conservative guts to replace Obamacare with honest health-care reforms.”
Republican rival Greg Brannon has attacked Tillis for pay-to-play politics, citing Tillis’ role in helping the donors get elected to the board.
Hagan’s campaign said it suggested Tillis was “bought and paid for by Karl Rove.” From spokeswoman Sadie Weiner: “As if claims about Tillis’ ‘values’ weren’t laughable enough already, the Grow NC Strong radio ad has even less credibility now that we know it was funded by special interest kingpin Karl Rove.”
*** Listen to the radio ad at the bottom and get more intelligence on the Senate race below in the Dome Morning Memo.***
On Saturday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will speak on N.C. State’s campus in Bostian Hall room 3712 at 1 p.m. It is open to the public.
Donations from McCain’s “Country First” PAC and the Koch Industries PAC contributed to Tillis’ total fundraising of $3.1 million, according to a report posted Thursday by the Federal Election Commission.
Reports also show that Republican Greg Brannon, a Cary physician, tapped a national fundraising base in raising a total of nearly $1.1 million. And Mark Harris, a Charlotte pastor, has raised $803,000. He had twice as much cash on hand as Brannon at the end of March.
Heather Grant, a Wilkesboro nurse who took part in this week’s debates, raised a total of $16,540 with the help of a $12,000 loan. None of the other four GOP candidates reported raising any money. Read more here.
As The News & Record reports, Tillis put it in his campaign flier next to lines describing his endorsement from National Right to Life. Read more here.
Tillis took 39 percent in the poll of likely primary voters, just shy of the 40 percent threshold he will need to avoid a runoff election. Greg Brannon received 20 percent and Mark Harris 15 percent.
The remaining five candidates, including Heather Grant, finished in the low single digits. The undecideds fell to 19 percent. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.1 percent.
The bigger question is whether the numbers hold. The mostly automated poll was conducted April 16-22, ending before the first U.S. Senate debate. Political observers expected two back-to-back debates to shift the race, particularly the undecided voters, so the numbers may not be relevant any more.
From the Washington Post: When campaigns flag “Important” messages online, it eases the burden for super PACs. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has pointed out similar “Important” online messages in recent months about Republicans running in North Carolina and Arkansas that were followed soon after by TV ads from the Democratic super Senate PAC Majority PAC and the Democratic nonprofit Patriot Majority USA attacking those Republicans on the same grounds. ...
Republicans do the same thing. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was widely mocked last month for posting a clip reel of himself on YouTube. Sure enough, footage from the reel found its way into a positive commercial a group supporting him launched a week later. Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock tried the same thing in Indiana in 2012. The National Republican Congressional Committee has a Web site with customized opposition research on Democrats sorted by district.
“So why aren’t Republicans likely to divide and conquer each other in 2014? Because the social and economic hardliners are out of favor. The government shutdown in October 2013 was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Republicans have now turned their attention away from ideological purity to winning legislative majorities, the U.S. House, and seizing the U.S. Senate.”
A draft bill replaces the Common Core State Standards in reading and math with new education benchmarks to be created by the State Board of Education, in consultation with a new Academic Standards Review Commission, made up of political appointees. The bill is expected to come up in the legislative session that begins in May.
Republican lawmakers said the bill is not merely a renaming of the standards but a removal of the Common Core, to be replaced with standards that “meet North Carolina’s needs.” If it passes the legislature, the Common Core could be history by July, though it likely would have to remain in place until new standards are finalized. ...
Several Democrats voted against dropping Common Core. Rep. Tricia Cotham, a Matthews Democrat, called the whole affair “political theater” that does a disservice to children and teachers.
However, the proposal, which was approved by voice vote Thursday, was far from unanimous. The recommendation will be accompanied by a minority report, signed by four of the 11 commission members, that advocates tweaking the current system rather than overhauling it.
The majority contend the current system, under which the treasurer is the sole fiduciary with final authority over pension fund investment decisions, is working but could nonetheless be better. North Carolina is one of just four states where the treasurer has sole authority on investment decisions. ...
The next step is up to Cowell ... Schorr Johnson, spokesman for the Treasurer’s office, said Cowell will review the majority and minority reports “and send a proposal to the General Assembly before the beginning of the session.” The legislature convenes May 14. Read more here.
Dan Whittacre of Henderson said he filed a request for Butterfield’s record with the National Personnel Records Center near St. Louis. The center wrote back in a letter Whittacre received last Saturday that the documents could not be found.
But on Wednesday, Matthew Moll, an expert archives technician at the center, said he found the records in the center’s vault on Tuesday in a subsequent search. Moll provided a copy of Butterfield’s documentation to The News & Observer that showed that the congressman served in the Army from 1968 to 1970 and was discharged in 1974 after serving in the Reserves.
But Whittacre, who has run against Butterfield for the 1st Congressional District seat previously, said he still wasn’t satisfied. Read more here.
Anna Fesmire, from the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad, moderated the forum. The league and six other community groups hosted the candidates for N.C. Senate District 28 and House Districts 57, 58 and 60. ... All four races could be decided by the May 6 primary. Read more here.
The letter from charter Director Joel Medley came in response to the [Charlotte] Observer’s effort to get salaries from 21 Charlotte-area charter schools, which are independent public schools run by nonprofit boards. The letter reminds them that each board signed an agreement to follow the N.C. Public Records Law. Read more here.
“Duke Energy has given Governor McCrory nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions, which is $85,000 more than they have given to any North Carolina Governor in over a decade. Now Duke wants North Carolina families to pay to clean up the coal ash that they leaked and that is threatening drinking water statewide. Working families shouldn’t have to foot the bill for Duke’s mess. Instead of sitting silently, Governor McCrory should return Duke Energy’s money and require this energy company to clean up their coal ash contamination before it poisons drinking water across the state.
“Governor McCrory has a choice here: publicly stand up for working people or continue to side with the giant energy company where he used to work and that helped fund his political campaigns. I hope he will do the right thing,” said Rep. Larry Hall, in a statement.
U.S. must stay involved in global aid and trade, Richard Burr says. Read more here.
State board agrees to give charter schools another chance. Read more here.
New monument marks Elizabeth Edwards’ grave. Read more here.
Bill to revise hospital rules dies. Read more here.