Negative Campaigning in Raleigh

The N&O today had an interesting article about Vernon Robinson, the man who is challenging Brad Miller to represent North Carolina's 13th Congressional District (which includes the NCSU area). Apparently, Robinson has made quite a name for himself nationally by being an extremely nasty campaigner.  (Kudos to the N&O for fact-checking his recent claims)  Fortunately, his negative efforts have met with little reward so far.  Most recently, he ran against Virginia Foxx for NC's 5th district.  He suggested she was way too liberal– since her election she has proven to be NC's most conservative members of the U.S. House.  Apparently, Robinson has an ongoing habit of subtly suggesting that his opponent is gay.  Miller's wife has had to face interviews justifying the fact that they do not have any children (apparently, she had to undergo a hysterectomy as a young woman).  Miller is known for running a pretty negative campaign himself last time around, but Robinson seems to be in a league of his own.

A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine played me one of Robinson's radio ads from his website.  When I first heard it, I truly thought it was political satire, it was just so extreme.  Please, take a listen for yourself, and check out his television commercial, too.  Apparently, Brad Miller's dream would be to have Al Qaeda members come over here to have same-sex marriages with illegal Mexican immigrants.  Generally, political candidates save their harshest and most negative attacks for radio, as they can be much more narrowly tailored due to the self-selection of radio station audiences.  This is certainly true of Robinson as well, but his TV ad is about as inflammatory as they get. 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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