NC’s Burr again focuses on bipartisan work in latest TV ad

FILE – U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.
FILE – U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr’s latest campaign TV ad in North Carolina touts his work on taxpayer-friendly legislation aimed at helping people with disabilities and their families save money for long-term healthcare costs, education and housing.

The campaign for the two-term Republican senator released the ad Tuesday morning. The spot will run statewide as part of a nearly $6 million TV ad-buy strategy.

The opening of the ad features a family with two children with autism from Charlotte, N.C. The parents say Burr’s backing of the ABLE Act, which was signed into law in 2014 by President Barack Obama, has helped them save for their future.

The ABLE Act changed federal tax law to allow for 529-style saving accounts to benefit adults with disabilities or for parents and guardians to save for children with disabilities. A group of Republican and Democratic senators, including Burr are now hoping to expand the ABLE Act with legislative changes that would allow adults with disabilities to work and earn income without fear of losing government financial assistance. Another proposed expansion would increase the age of eligibility for ABLE Act savings advantages to age 46, up from the current 26.

The latest ad is the second in as many weeks from Burr drawing attention to his work on bipartisan legislation.

Two weeks ago, Burr’s campaign put out an ad called “Kirby,” which includes an endorsement from Raleigh Pastor Kirby Jones. In that ad, Jones praises Burr for supporting education programs for children from low-income families. An accompanying statement from Burr highlighted the 2014 expanded Child Care Credit and Development Block Grant, supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Burr has yet to release an attack ad on his challenger, Deborah Ross, a Democrat from Raleigh who previously worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and served as a state legislator in North Carolina. Burr and Ross are running in what pollsters say is an increasingly close contest.

The North Carolina Democratic Party on Tuesday claimed Burr’s new ad tries to “hide his real record.” Spokesman for the group Matthew Kravitz pointed to several Burr votes in support of Republican-written budget legislation that proposed cutting grant spending for states to fund special education K12 programs.

Democrats also criticized Burr’s efforts to defund and repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The ACA helps people with disabilities obtain and keep insurance coverage by prohibiting health insurance companies from denying clients based on pre-existing conditions, Kravitz said in a statement Tuesday. The law also requires insurance companies to provide certain preventive and autism screening services for children at no charge.

“The truth is (Burr) has voted repeatedly to undermine and underfund efforts to improve education, health and well-being for children and workers with special needs,” Kravitz said. “North Carolina voters can see through the spin, and they know it's time for a change.”

Also Tuesday, former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton announced he’ll spend $1 million from his super PAC to help Burr’s reelection effort. The group, according to Bolton’s statement, will target social media users and Dish Network and Direct TV subscribers. The ads will likely focus on national security and Burr’s work as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Bolton’s contribution is one of the largest independent expenditures so far in the Burr-Ross race. Last week, a national super PAC supporting GOP candidates announced it will spend $8.1 million on TV advertisements in North Carolina.

Anna Douglas: 202-383-6012, @ADouglasNews