Wednesday, September 14, 2016

#NCGA: NC-98 Rep John Bradford about to get "Blueprinted"?

Is the race for NC House 98 about to get ugly?

This spring, Unaffiliated candidate Jane Campbell of Davidson waged a successful petition effort to get on the ballot for the NC98 race after the official filing period for this election cycle was over.  HB2 was what motivated her to get into the contest according to her campaign website. 

Without a candidate of their own the Democrats have jumped in full force behind Campbell.

Over the past couple of weeks1 three different 8x10 mailers from the Democratic Party of North Carolina landed in local mailboxes.  All were in support of Campbell.  Interestingly, only one barely even mentioned HB2.  Instead, all three prominently featured Campbell's stated opposition to the I-77 HOT Lanes project.

That's a testament to the power if that issue locally.  And frankly, it would be surprising if any candidate running for office in LKN didn't use it.

On Wednesday though a fourth mailer arrived.  This one from an outfit called "NC Families First".

Attack Ad Paid for by NC Families First
So, who is NC Families First?

Well according to it's a dark money group that spent over $2.2 million on 2014 NC State Legislature races - all on ads against Republicans.

The group seems to be an end point of a money trail - meaning it's the one actually buying the ads after the money flows through other groups.

No reports are up on the State campaign finance site for this group this cycle.  But, where did NC Families First get its money in 2014? 

In 2014 it got $1.74 million from "North Carolina Citizens for Protecting Our Schools".  That group got a lot of its money from the NEA and a number of other left leaning organizations.

NC Families First also got $100,000 in 2014 from a group called America Votes.

Who is America Votes?

Well, they would probably not be known to anyone if it were not for their executive director, Jessica Laurenz.  Laurenz penned the now infamous "eviscerate" memo circulated at a Blueprint NC meeting back in early 2013.  That memo single-handedly coined the term "Blueprinting" as a reference to going after Republican candidates by any means necessary.

The dishonesty on display in the most recent ad against Bradford shows where this is likely to go.

It starts with a truth.  Yes, Bradford voted to keep the project alive as a town commissioner in Cornelius.  He also won reelection after doing that.  The ad conveniently let's readers believe Bradford has been a suporter of the project all along.  In fact, once the contract details started to be known inuding the potential toll rates Bradford opposed the project.  He was one of the signers of a letter from a majority of local commissioners asking for the contract to be delayed.  He also helped lead the charge in tbe NC House along with former Rep Charles Jeter to cancel the contract after it was signed.  Finally the ad quotes an article which is largely referencing a letter from NCDOT Sec Nick Tennyson - arguably the most pro-toll bureaucrat in the entire state.

It will be interesting to see who is funding the oh so innocently named "NC Families First" this election cycle.  If it's once again the "eviscerate" crowd the race for NC-98 could be about to get ugly.

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