A Raleigh pastor is featured in the latest campaign ad from U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who recently dropped $5.1 million to reserve TV airtime in North Carolina.
The two-term incumbent faces a tough re-election fight this fall against Democratic challenger Deborah Ross, a past state legislator and director of the N.C. American Civil Liberties Union chapter. Burr has said 2016 is the last time he’ll seek election to Congress. U.S. senators serve six-year terms.
Campaign ad touts Burr’s work on legislation to federally-subsidize child care for low-income families.
Burr’s new ad – released publicly Tuesday – includes an endorsement from Raleigh Pastor Kirby Jones, leader of Williams Grove Baptist Church. The ad is titled “Kirby,” according to Burr’s campaign.
Jones is also founder and director of the Raleigh-based Daniel Center for Math and Science, a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping at-risk and poor children achieve academically in technology and STEM-related studies.
Burr has “done a great deal to help the children and their families get on a path and a trajectory that leads to academic success and life success,” Jones says in the ad.
In a prepared statement from his campaign, Burr wrote of the ad’s content: “I have long fought for education opportunities for low-income families and their children because I believe it is the way to a better life.”
Ross’ campaign balked at the new ad, saying Burr has supported Republican bills in the Senate aimed at cutting federal education spending.
“This ad is a perfect example of why voters are ready for a change as Senator Burr is once again trying to distract folks in North Carolina from his record,” said Ross spokesman Cole Leiter. “The truth is that he has spent more than 20 years in Washington voting to cut early childhood education and Pell Grants that have helped millions of North Carolinians pay for college, while voting for tax cuts for millionaires like himself.”
Ross’ campaign was referring to votes like one from 2011 on a Republican-written budget bill which would have resulted in less spending in several areas, including federal school improvement grants and state technology grants. Burr has also opposed Democratic-written Senate bills that sought to increase Title 1 education spending funneled to certain school districts with large populations of poor students, according to Ross’ campaign.
On Tuesday, Burr cited his work on a 2014 child care-focused Senate bill, signed into law by President Barack Obama. The legislation provides federal grant money for low-income families to pay for child care and after-school programs. At the time, Burr said the federal Child Care Credit and Development Block Grant was a “welfare reform success story.”
The $5.1 million ad buy Burr announced in June reserved time slots through Election Day. It’s expected his campaign will roll out more ads between August and November.