Congressional candidate's first ad provocative?

Renee Ellmers

September 23, 2010 4:45:48 AM PDT
Congressional candidate Renee Ellmers is facing an uphill battle as she tries to unseat a Democrat who's held the state's second district seat for the past 13 years.Ellmers first television advertisement running on cable TV across the Triangle, invokes the controversy over the Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero.

Click here to see the ad on YouTube.

In the ad, she criticizes Congressman Bob Etheridge for not speaking out on the matter. The Republican says a mosque near Ground Zero is a relevant issue for voters in North Carolina's Second Congressional District.

"Out of respect for the families of the 9/11 victims, to have a mosque built there is just wrong," she said. "People in the district really don't want the mosque built there."

Ellmers is hammering Etheridge, who has said nothing about what technically is a local land use decision of a municipal zoning and planning board in New York City.

"I think it's just another little piece of who he is and who they want to go to Washington and stand up for them," Ellmers said.

Etheridge's campaign released a statement saying, "Bob Etheridge has never thought building this mosque and community center so close to Ground Zero is a good idea. Mrs. Ellmers is desecrating this hallowed ground with her obvious and offensive attempt to raise her profile. No further proof is needed that she will say anything to get elected."

"We should be respectful of the 9/11 victims, and I think we're losing sight of that," Ellmers said.

Others say an ad like this is a sign that Ellmers has an uphill fight.

So far, her campaign and the national Republican Party have aired no ads for her on wider broadcast TV.

"We're just not seeing any indication that national Republicans think this is a top-tier pick-up opportunity for them," said Tom Jensen with the Public Policy Polling. "They're spending most of their money in other parts of the country."

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