The leader of the N.C. legislative black caucus is calling on Republican Pat McCrory to take off the air a television commercial featuring a former county sheriff who blamed race for his failed re-election bid.
Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay, who is white, lost the 2010 Democratic primary to a former SBI agent, who is black, by 24 points. Gay, who switched to the Republican Party after his loss, said race played a role. "Ninety-eight percent of them voted based on race. They didn't vote based on qualifications," he told a TV station at the time.
In a letter to McCrory, Democratic state Sen. Floyd McKissick said he was appalled by the campaign commerical. "This ad, with this script, featuring this man was no accident. He triggers a racial cue that has no place in this campaign," McKissick wrote. "The ad featuring Wayne Gay is offensive and plays upon fear. Thus, I call on you to take it down."
McCrory's campaign did not immediately return a message about whether he would comply or whether he knew about Gay's racially tinged remarks.
McKissick noted in his letter that McCrory hired Fred Davis as his advertising consultant. Davis drew controvsery for a proposal to attack President Barack Obama by using Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the controversial pastor. "The Miami Herald said these ads were designed “to fire up the bigots” and were “playing the race card,'" McKissick wrote. "Mitt Romney denounced the idea. You declined to do so, even though you employ Fred Davis."
McKissick ended his letter by asking McCrory to "pledge to run a campaign that will avoid racial divisions of any kind.”