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NC Gov’s Race Heats Up Over Racial Accusations

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Republican Pat McCrory blasted Democratic gubernatorial rival Walter Dalton on Thursday for releasing a video in which elected leaders and others accused the former Charlotte mayor of being insensitive to black residents on issues such as voter ID and education.

The video, released as part of an effort to bolster the lieutenant governor’s support among black elected officials and other activists, is the latest effort this week by Dalton and his allies attempting to raise questions about McCrory on race.

“Walter Dalton should be shameful for approving such an ad, and it shows desperation,” McCrory said in an interview with The Associated Press, adding that “it takes North Carolina politics to a new low.”

The two-minute video was emailed to Dalton supporters while unveiling the “African Americans for Dalton” website. It includes several black speakers with black-and-white footage recalling the civil rights movement.

McCrory “just doesn’t understand the African-American experience in North Carolina,” Skip Alston, the former state president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, says in the video, which Dalton’s campaign said could run on TV in an abbreviated format before Election Day.

The video’s speakers also accused McCrory of wanting to cut funding for women’s health, teacher benefits and early childhood education initiatives. McCrory didn’t oppose the two budgets approved by the GOP-led Legislature that contained such reductions.

State Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham also calls McCrory “a politician who doesn’t understand why I’m upset about voter ID” legislation. McCrory supported a bill last year that would have required photo identification to vote at the polls, but outgoing Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed the measure.

While Democrats have said the photo ID would discourage older adults, minorities and the poor from voting, McCrory said it’s a reasonable requirement to validate someone’s identity before casting a ballot.

“Those same people approved legislation which requires ID to get Sudafed,” McCrory said, referring to a 2006 law requiring purchasers of pills containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine to show a photo ID and sign a log.

Dalton campaign spokesman Schorr Johnson said the video features “leaders who voice a strong objection to Pat McCrory’s proposed policies … I’m sorry the truth offends Mayor McCrory. It should.”

McKissick, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, already demanded this week that McCrory take down a television ad featuring an eastern North Carolina sheriff that McKissick alleges has racial overtones. A McCrory spokesman dismissed the claim and called it a positive ad.

Also Thursday, Dalton’s campaign began running a separate TV commercial attempting to link McCrory to education cuts and potentially higher taxes. It shows Dalton standing near a construction site hole. He says McCrory’s support of education spending reductions by the GOP-led Legislature have made the state’s economic ditch worse.

Dalton also alleges McCrory has a “plan to raise taxes on the middle class.” McCrory has never said he has such a plan. McCrory’s campaign said in a video Dalton’s the one who raised taxes while in the state Senate.

The two candidates will participate in their first televised debate next week.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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