The Charlotte Observer (Sunday)

Republican group attacks McCrory in Panthers’ game TV ad

- BY BRIAN MURPHY bmurphy@newsobserv­er.com Brian Murphy: @MurphinDC

Charlotte fans watching the first Carolina Panthers game of the season will see a football-themed political ad taking on U.S. Senate candidate Pat McCrory, the city’s former mayor and former North Carolina governor.

The ad attacks McCrory for his 2016 gubernator­ial re-election bid loss to Democrat Roy Cooper, saying he was “disloyal” to then-candidate Donald Trump and was the only Republican incumbent to lose a statewide race that year.

“Why? McCrory quit on his team, publicly trashing Trump. Disloyal, liberal, loser,” said the ad, which was purchased by Club For Growth Action, which is backing U.S. Rep. Ted Budd in the Republican primary.

It is the third television ad from Club For Growth, which promised to spent at least $5 million on Budd’s behalf. The group is currently airing a television ad across the state, as part of a $3 million campaign, promoting Trump’s endorsemen­t of Budd.

The football ad will air just once — during Sunday’s Panthers home game against the New York Jets — and only in the Charlotte television market. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. It is the first weekend of regular-season games in the NFL. The ad cost $35,000. It is designed to look as if the Panthers are playing the Jets in the commercial.

TRUMP ENDORSEMEN­T IN NC SENATE RACE

Club For Growth also aired an Olympic-themed ad, hitting McCrory on China, during the Summer Games. That ad called McCrory a “fool.”

The McCrory campaign has yet to begin airing television ads ahead of the March 8 primary. Nor have any outside groups placed ads on his behalf at this point. McCrory, who was Charlotte mayor

from 1995 to 2009 and ran for governor three times, holds a large edge in name recognitio­n over Budd, a third-term congressma­n from Davie County.

McCrory lost his 2008 run for governor, but claimed the job in 2012, giving Republican­s control of the state House, Senate and governor’s mansion for the first time in more than a century. He narrowly lost his reelection race to Cooper, falling by fewer than 11,000 votes.

Trump won North Carolina in 2016, en route to his Electoral College victory. He won about 64,000 more votes than McCrory did.

“In 2016, Trump crushed in North Carolina, leading our team to victory,” the ad says.

McCrory made appearance­s at Trump campaign events in North Carolina in 2016, including speaking at a rally on election eve in Raleigh. McCrory also visited Trump at Trump Tower after the

election when he was under considerat­ion for a job in the administra­tion. McCrory did not get a job, but hosted a top-rated morning talk radio show in Charlotte after leaving office.

The ad includes with a clip from Trump’s endorsemen­t of Budd at this year’s NCGOP convention.

“You can’t pick people that lost two races and do

not stand for our values,” Trump said in a not-soveiled shot at McCrory.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is retiring after his term ends, creating a vacancy in 2022. McCrory, Budd and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker are the top candidates on the Republican side, though the field is wider than that. The November election could determine which party controls the U.S.

Senate.

For more North Carolina government and politics news, listen to the Under the Dome politics podcast from The News & Observer and the NC Insider. You can find it at link.chtbl.com/ underthedo­menc or wherever you get your podcasts.

 ?? CHRIS SEWARD cseward@newsobserv­er.com ?? Gov. Pat McCrory at a Donald Trump “thank you” rally at Crown Coliseum in Fayettevil­le on Dec. 6.
CHRIS SEWARD cseward@newsobserv­er.com Gov. Pat McCrory at a Donald Trump “thank you” rally at Crown Coliseum in Fayettevil­le on Dec. 6.

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