N.C. Senate race flares up over TV ad
MOORESVILLE – N.C. Senate candidate Karen Ray blamed MI-Connection for not airing a TV commercial criticizing Sen. Chris Carney’s role in the town’s ownership of the broadband company.
MI-Connection leaders said Ray’s claims were unfounded.
Ray’s campaign issued a statement April 23 stating that representatives from advertising partner Via Media refused to air her attack ad of Carney on MI-Connection. She cited people from the company that said the ad wouldn’t run because Carney was an executive with MI-Connection.
Carney and Ray, both of Mooresville, face David Curtis, of Denver, in seeking the District 44 seat, representing Iredell, Gaston and Lincoln counties in the N.C. Senate.
Ray had been running television spots with MI-Connection for about three weeks when her campaign submitted a new commercial to Via Media, the independent firm that handles advertising on MI-Connection.
“This is America. Candidates have the right to take issue with their opponents’ actions,” Ray said in a statement. “(MI-Connection is) only in business because of taxpayers’ money, and now they are violating my First Amendment Rights because they don’t agree with me.”
When asked about Ray’s criticism, MI-Connection CEO David Auger said that the commercials were scheduled to air that day. Auger also said that Carney was not an employee of MI-Connection and never has been on the company’s payroll.
Via Media President Todd Donnely said the new ad had to go through an extended review process since it involved political criticism. Donnely said the commercial underwent standard procedure, going through legal review before it could air.
Ray’s ad compares Carney to President Barack Obama and describes MI-Connection as a “failing business.”
“Just like Barack Obama, Chris Carney uses our tax dollars to bail out a failing business, leaving taxpayers more in debt,” the commercial’s narrator says, referring to the town’s purchase of the cable system.
“We asked for verification, asked for something in writing saying that what she claims is true. We never said we would not run her ad,” Donnely told the MI-Connection Board of Directors at its April 26, meeting. “I still would not run it yet, because I have not seen verification.”
Auger said Ray had not returned phone calls or responded to the company running her ad.
Carney also denied that he was ever an executive for MI-Connection.
“It’s disappointing because 30 seconds of research would have disproved her claim,” Carney said. “She knew that and used that for political gain. We’re disappointed to see her do it again.”