by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The North Carolina governor's race is getting heated over race.
Democratic candidate Walter Dalton is running a web video. It accuses Republican Pat McCrory of not understanding African-Americans. It shows civil rights images in the background while African-Americans, some prominent and some not, go after McCrory. One person says, "Pat McCrory just doesn't understand the African-American experience in North Carolina." Another says McCrory "doesn't understand our experience." Another says he "doesn't understand our journey." Another speaker says, "Pat McCrory doesn't need to be governor. He needs a history lesson."
McCrory spokesperson Brian Nick says bringing race into this race is "disgusting," "pathetic," "absurd" and "desperate."
"It is offensive. It is shameful,” he said. “And it's a personal attack against his character."
McCrory was Charlotte mayor a record seven times, and Charlotte is about 35 percent African-American.
But Dalton spokesperson Schorr Johnson said, in a way, McCrory started it. McCrory ran an ad showing a former sheriff, Wayne Gay of Wilson County, supporting him. The head of the legislative black caucus, Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr., sent McCrory a letter, saying Gay was well-known for "race-baiting." The letter says McCrory did that on purpose and that McCrory should stop running the ad. McCrory refused. Then came Dalton's video.
"There are a lot of people, including leading African-American leaders, who are very troubled by Pat McCrory's stances on issues that important to them and I'm sorry if the truth offends Pat McCrory,” Johnson said.
But is it working? Eyewitness News asked people uptown. Some seemed to be drawn in by the video.
"Just being an African-American, we go through a lot. I don't think [McCrory] knows that,” Renee Dorest said.
Briona Curbeam said, "Just because of our color."
Others didn't seem convinced.
"Campaigns and stuff, they pull out all the stops so you never know if it's true or not, so I don't know what to think about it,” Nick Whitner said.