Elections

Attorney general candidate demands TV stations stop airing attack ad

Buck Newton, Republican candidate for N.C. attorney general speaks prior to the appearance of Mike Pence, Republican candidate for vice president at a town meeting event at the Fletcher Opera Theater at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, N.C. Thursday, August 4, 2016.
Buck Newton, Republican candidate for N.C. attorney general speaks prior to the appearance of Mike Pence, Republican candidate for vice president at a town meeting event at the Fletcher Opera Theater at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, N.C. Thursday, August 4, 2016. cliddy@newsobserver.com

Republican attorney general candidate Buck Newton on Monday demanded that TV stations stop airing an ad that falsely claims his real-estate business was “dissolved.”

The ad is sponsored by a shadowy group called Protect North Carolina’s Future. It does not disclose its donors, and IRS records list its address as a mailbox inside the Cameron Village UPS store in Raleigh. No one responded to a voicemail message at the phone number listed on the group’s website Monday.

The group is not connected to Newton’s Democratic opponent, former state Sen. Josh Stein.

The ad suggests Newton, a state senator and Wilson attorney, isn’t following tax requirements for businesses.

“Ten times, Buck was penalized for missing tax deadlines,” the narrator says. “His business was dissolved.”

Newton’s campaign provided correspondence with the N.C. Secretary of State’s office showing that the dissolution of New-Boy Properties LLC was a mistake.

“We hereby demand that your station immediately cease airing this false claim against Sen. Newton ... failure to stop the airing of this false advertisement may result in potential liability,” Newton’s campaign attorney, Brad Overcash, wrote in a letter to TV stations.

It’s unclear how much money is being spent on the ad, but records indicate nearly $112,000 was spent with just one of the stations airing the commercial.

Newton’s campaign isn’t disputing any of the other claims in the ad, including the claim about missing tax deadlines and a claim that he missed votes in the state Senate. A quick review of Wilson County tax records indicates Newton and his business have paid all property taxes owed to the county.

“With this race deadlocked even after outspending my campaign, Democrats are desperately resorting to dirty tricks again – putting millions behind a flat-out lie,” Newton said in a news release.

While the attorney general race hasn’t received much attention, the campaigns and outside groups are spending millions on TV ads.

Stein’s latest TV ad blasts Newton for his support for House Bill 2, saying he’s “the cheerleader for HB2, legalizing discrimination.”

The Republican Attorneys General Association, which is backing Newton, also released a new ad this week. Its ad addresses Stein’s votes on state trooper pay and police resources, saying he’s “wrong on law enforcement.”

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