Politics & Government

GOP group attacks Hagan in new TV ad

A national Republican committee took to the air on behalf of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole on Tuesday, becoming the latest group to jump into North Carolina's increasingly heated Senate race.

The ad, by the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Charlotte and at least two other N.C. markets, comes a week after one poll showed Dole narrowly trailing Democrat Kay Hagan.

It also comes after the group's Democratic Party counterpart has spent heavily in ads against Dole.

Playing off the Olympics, the new GOP ad features a picture of Hagan on an orange cereal box with gold medals draped across her neck.

“What if they gave gold medals for financial irresponsibility?” an announcer says. “… And the gold for twisting the truth?”

Hagan spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan said the ad belies not only Dole's pledge to run a positive campaign, but her appeal to Hagan to avoid third-party ads. Dole was chairman of the NRSC in the 2006 election cycle.

“We just felt from the very beginning that this pledge was completely disingenuous,” Flanagan said.

“Who does Kay Hagan think she's kidding?,” responded Dole spokesman Hogan Gidley. “Sen. Dole asked Sen. Hagan to swear off third-party ads back during the primary. Miss Hagan refused and we saw why, because Hagan's shady, ultra-liberal friends have spent $2,298,647 to date on negative ads.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent more than $1 million on TV advertising in North Carolina so far, and reserved around $8 million in TV time. A Democratic-leaning group called Majority Action also has run an ad on Hagan's behalf. And so has the liberal group Move On.org.

The U.S. Chamber is running ads for Dole.

An NRSC spokeswoman declined to say how much the group was spending on the N.C. ad. However, Democratic sources say it's around $300,000.

Last month, the group's chairman, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, said lack of money forced the group to reduce spending on races such as Dole's.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a 2-1 financial edge.