RALEIGH — A national political group working to elect women who support abortion rights says it will spend $3 million to back North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election in November, starting Monday with a television ad critical of her rival.
EMILY’s List announced it began running a commercial in North Carolina’s three largest television markets panning Republican challenger Thom Tillis’ education record as state House speaker. The initial ad buy cost more than $650,000, said group spokeswoman Marcy Stech.
The broader effort by EMILY’s List, which also includes direct mail and online campaigning, involves the latest independent expenditure group to put up big money in the Senate race involving Hagan — considered one of this year’s most vulnerable Senate Democrats.
Not counting EMILY’s List, more than $10.6 million has been spent in the North Carolina Senate race by political action committees, super PACs and other outside groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said during a visit to North Carolina earlier this month that the abortion-rights group’s political arm also would spend $3 million on voter mobilization in the state in hopes of helping Hagan.
The EMILY’s List commercial running through June portrays a Raleigh teacher who says her classroom is getting more crowded. A narrator blames Tillis for spending cuts to education while allowing sales tax caps on yachts and jets to continue.
While “Hagan has fought to invest in quality education for all, Thom Tillis has taken aim at North Carolina children. He has devastated North Carolina classrooms and left North Carolina children behind,” group president Stephanie Schriock said in a release.
Tillis campaign spokesman Daniel Keylin said the candidate helped passed a state budget proposal last week that includes teacher pay raises. There’s also money inside to begin a scholarship program for thousands of children in poor families to attend private schools this fall.
“It’s no surprise that another liberal special interest group is riding to Kay Hagan’s rescue by launching more false attacks against” Tillis, Keylin wrote in an email. A tax overhaul passed by the legislature in last year also lowered individual and corporate income tax rates.