With Christmas season over, it seems the election season is officially underway now.  Namely, the North Carolina race for US Senate.

A pair of ads are going up against Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. One is from the state chapter of Americans For Prosperity, called "Kay Hagan Just Doesn't Get It."

While I suspect the use of a white middle-aged woman from Chapel Hill is particularly irksome to some NC liberals, the ad focuses on the "If you like your plan you can keep it" promise/lie made by Sen. Hagan and President Obama. Expect to see more of these clips between now and November:

AFP-NC told the Associated Press that its ad is going up around the state:

The latest ad, which features a small business owner unhappy with her new coverage option, began running Thursday and will run in nearly every television market over three weeks for $1.4 million, according to group spokesman Donald Bryson. The ad buy brings total spending related to AFP's three ads since October focused upon Hagan to $4.2 million, he added.

We'll be talking with Bryson today on the show.

Puzzling lapel pins

Also, Republican Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis put up his first ad, "Let's Clean Up Her Mess."

While some of the NC progressives were quick to point how all the people in Tillis' ad were white folks, this was the silliest attack:

See that little puzzle piece on Tillis' lapel? It's the logo for the non-profit Autism Speaks. More on that in a minute.

Self-described "myth maker" Frank Eaton also questioned whether there was illegal coordination between AFP-NC and Tillis because they both had ads released on January 2nd... or something.

I highly doubt Tillis is the preferred candidate among the AFP folks.

But I guess Eaton sensed this was stupid, so he returned to the puzzle piece lapel pin.

Why would the organization lose its IRS status because some pol wore a lapel pin in an ad? Is Eaton suggesting that people would press the issue to demand the charity lose its designation over this? To punish a charity because a politician supports it?

As Speaker, Tillis pushed through legislation requiring NC insurance companies cover autism diagnosis and treatment (but he's against federal mandates for insurance!). He's a supporter of the cause, obviously, so he wore the pin.

Is it an attempt to win some votes based on his support for that cause? Probably. Is it illegal? Mr. Eaton says it is.

Channeling Dr. Freud, NC blogger Sister Toldjah replied:


I see politicians wearing ribbons for every cause imaginable. It tells me that they support a particular charity or issue. I've never thought it implies that the charity supports them. Eaton is convinced it's a violation of campaign advertising rules, but I've found no prohibition in my brief searches today.

Eaton is expecting a disavowal clarification statement from Tillis or Autism Speaks by the end of business today.

We'll see.

At least we're not talking about issues - which is probably the point of Mr. Eaton's exercise. It's an attempt to put Tillis & Co. on the defensive about the ad. Will state media outlets bite on his bait?

We'll see.

Oh yeah.

And Clay Aiken is considering a run for Congress in NC.

So, there's that, too.