Under the Dome

Mark Harris camp cries foul over Thom Tillis abortion ad

Republican Thom Tillis’ new television ad highlighting his opposition to abortion and gay marriage is turning heads – and eliciting reaction from rivals.

“Being conservative, it’s not something you say, it’s something you do,” he says in the 30-second spot, which notes his endorsement from National Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization. (See it below.)

The 30-second spot is airing in all markets except Charlotte and Raleigh as part of the campaign’s regular ad buy. It started early last week but Tillis’ campaign didn’t promote it until days later.

“We though it was a good message to close with,” said spokesman Jordan Shaw.

But rival Mark Harris’ campaign is pushing back. Spokesman Mike Rusher suggested touting Tills as a leader on the issues was disingenuous, saying his “actions don’t line up with the words.” He referred to Tillis’ remarks in 2012, amid the marriage amendment campaign, in which he told a college audience he expected the ban to be repealed in 20 years because of changing political sentiment.

“This is a perfect example of the massive difference between what Mr. Tillis is saying now to a conservative audience and what he did as an elected official with public statements predicting the marriage amendment would soon be overturned,” Harris said in a statement Monday.

Harris has staked out ground as the social conservative candidate, winning endorsements from the political committees of the National Organization of Marriage, Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council, three leading organizations.

“How in the world can (Tillis) take that much credit if NOM has endorsed Mark over him,” Rusher said.

Democrats, too, jumped on the ad, which may have implications for the fall race. Tillis largely aligned himself with the more conservative end of his party when it came to abortion issues in this campaign.

“Tillis has a record of reducing women’s access to health care and even supports measures that could make birth control illegal,” said Sadie Weiner, a Kay Hagan campaign spokeswoman, in a statement.