Under the Dome

McCrory, Cooper ad wars picking up

Roy Cooper
Roy Cooper N&O

Gov. Pat McCrory said after Tuesday’s debate that he welcomed the confrontation with Attorney General Roy Cooper because it cut through the TV advertising that he says has distorted his record.

Speaking to reporters afterward, McCrory complained he is being outspent on TV ads by Cooper’s campaign and outside groups. A report last week by the Center for Public Integrity showed ads benefiting Cooper so far total $7.9 million and for McCrory $4.6 million.

Here are the latest two ads from each campaign:

Released Tuesday, McCrory’s ad features Gene Boyce, who has had a 14-year beef with Cooper over an ad Cooper ran in 2000 when campaigning for attorney general against Boyce’s son, Republican candidate Dan Boyce. The Boyces sued for libel, and that lawsuit was settled in 2014 with an apology from Cooper for any implication in the ads that the Boyces were not ethical.

Gene Boyce sued again in January arguing that a judge, not the state bar, should determine whether Cooper committed misconduct as an attorney because of his role in the ads. The bar never took action against Cooper. In May, a judge dismissed the lawsuit; Gene Boyce said he would appeal.

Cooper’s new ad, which came out Wednesday, reprises his theme that the election is not about “one bad law,” House Bill 2, which limits local anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

Cooper in his post-debate appearance didn’t say if he supported Charlotte’s LGBT ordinance, which prompted HB2. He reiterated that HB2 should be repealed. When the issue first came up, Cooper said there were sufficient laws on the books and the Charlotte law was unnecessary, and he refused to defend it in court. He continues to say that it should be a local decision, not one made by the state legislature.

McCrory told reporters Tuesday after the debate that HB2 was about common sense, not about being conservative or liberal.

“The definition of liberal is moving so far to the left that we’ve lost the center here in North Carolina, and we obviously have lost the center in the city of Charlotte,” McCrory said.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO