Politics & Government

Environmental group targets U.S. Sen. Richard Burr in ads

Sen. Richard Burr
Sen. Richard Burr AP

In the largest burst of outside spending yet in North Carolina’s 2016 U.S. Senate race, an environmental group Tuesday announced the launch of a $640,000 ad campaign targeting Republican Sen. Richard Burr.

The League of Conservation Voters announced the “educational” campaign to ask voters to contact Burr about the proposed Clean Power Plan, which would limit carbon emissions from power plants.

The ad, which starts Sept. 8, is part of multimillion-dollar, four-state blitz that also targets GOP senators in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It’s part of a joint effort by four groups, including the Sierra Club.

The LCV ad features the mother of an asthmatic child. It first ran in North Carolina in July as part of a $100,000 buy. The ad urges viewers to tell Burr to vote against any bill that would stop or delay the plan to limit emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Burr has said the EPA plan contains “aggressive regulations” that would cost jobs without reducing carbon emissions.

“This ad is an irrational attempt to distort Sen. Burr’s record,” said Burr spokeswoman Becca Watkins. “The president expects North Carolina families to pick up the tab for his pet energy projects, which raise the cost of energy.”

The ad buy could be the tip of the iceberg in North Carolina. In 2014, outside groups spent more than $82 million on the race between Republican Thom Tillis and Democrat Kay Hagan. Tillis defeated the incumbent Hagan.

Burr has yet to have a Democratic opponent.

“Clearly this is a sign of desperation from Democrats and their special interest friends,” said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “They have no strategy and no candidate and are grasping at straws.”