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Democrat Walter Dalton of Rutherfordton is running this ad in his race for lieutenant governor against Charlotte Republican Robert Pittenger. The Pittenger campaign says the reference to Charlotte is not playing in versions of the ad running in Charlotte.

What the ad says

Announcer: “Only one candidate has the experience to be lieutenant governor.

Voices: “Walter Dalton. Walter Dalton. Walter Dalton.”

Announcer: “Walter Dalton created thousands of new jobs. Walter Dalton capped the gas tax. Walter Dalton strengthened community colleges.

“Walter has raised the salaries of community college professors, supported workplace development programs, supported the historic community college-university bond that has helped strengthen the community college system, and the list goes on.

“And millionaire Robert Pittenger? He opposed raising the minimum wage. He opposed capping the gas tax. And Pittenger opposed incentives that created new jobs.

“Robert Pittenger. A Charlotte millionaire we just can't afford.”

Dalton: “I'm Walter Dalton candidate for lieutenant governor and I sponsored this ad.”

The ad features pictures of a handful of people repeating Dalton's name and then cuts to photos of Pittenger in front of gas pumps and an unemployment office. It also shows Pittenger in front of a lavish home. It's not his.

The background

Dalton voted for jobs and to cap the gas tax, but didn't pass those measures single-handedly. While he co-chairs the Senate budget committee, the Democratic majority passed those measures.

In 2006, Pittenger did join other Republicans in voting against a bill raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.15 an hour in North Carolina, the first hike in nine years. Republicans argued that the increase would hurt employers.

The 2006 and 2007 provisions to cap the gas tax were included in budget bills passed largely along party lines. Pittenger and other Republicans objected to the overall bill on principle, which raised state spending by 10 percent. Pittenger and other Republicans supported a separate GOP bill to cap the gas tax. It died in committee.

Pittenger, who has consistently favored lower taxes, has generally opposed using tax dollars for economic incentives.

As for the “millionaire” label, Pittenger and his wife Suzanne have loaned or contributed $2.6 million to his campaign, according to a recent report filed with the State Board of Elections.

Is the ad true?

Yes, though Dalton may be overstating his role in Senate accomplishments. And the votes on the gas tax cap were largely partisan votes Republicans like Pittenger opposed for other reasons.

Jim Morrill
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