Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A rule of thumb in politics: The candidate who is on the attack is also the candidate who is behind.
That's true in North Carolina where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Moore has run a series of negative ads against his primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue. The ads criticize Perdue for raising tuition, supporting tax cuts for the rich and being soft on the KKK.
Moore, North Carolina's state treasurer, was always an underdog in the race, so his ads reflect his campaign's need to shake things up. Moore is still down in the latest poll 45%-36%. On the Republican side, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory edges state Sen. Fred Smith 36%-32%.
The strategy behind the KKK ad is pretty clear when you realize that Perdue currently leads 55%-30% among black voters. Blacks are a key swing group in Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, where African-American turnout should be high because of Obama's candidacy.
The Democratic primary between Moore and Perdue may have gotten nasty enough that the Republican nominee will have an opening (the Democrats have been favored to win). Perdue was running negative ads earlier in the race, but stopped them a few weeks ago. Her "Ha! Ha! Ha!" ad may have been the most entertaining of the campaign:
Despite what you might have heard, Moore did not respond by saying, "Nanny nanny boo boo."
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