Pro-Israel group says ad targeting Erica Smith hasn’t been pulled | The Wilson Times
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Pro-Israel group says ad targeting Erica Smith hasn’t been pulled

Posted on May 13, 2022

Updated on May 14, 2022

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Erica Smith

Erica Smith

A political action committee taking aim at Democratic congressional candidate Erica Smith through critical commercials is standing by its ad.

The Democratic Majority for Israel’s DMFI PAC denies the Smith campaign’s claim that eastern North Carolina television stations have stopped airing the commercial due to a dispute over its accuracy.

RELATED STORY: Erica Smith denounces pro-Israel group's attack ad

“The DMFI PAC ads have not been taken off the air,” DMFI communications director Rachel Rosen said in a Friday email to The Wilson Times, adding: “It’s unfortunate that Erica Smith and her campaign are knowingly misleading the press and the public.”

Rosen provided a post-run log from Greenville station WYDO Fox Eastern Carolina showing the ad aired 41 times from Monday through Thursday.

In a Monday news release, Smith’s campaign said stations pulled the ad “due to blatantly false accusations of Erica of having endorsed a Trump Republican and (having) been bankrolled by Republicans in 2020 during her Senate run.”

Campaign manager Morris Katz told the Times on Friday that New Bern-based WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12, an ABC affiliate, agreed to pull the ad from its programs. A phone message for WCTI’s sales department wasn’t returned Friday.

After this story’s initial publication online, Rosen provided the Times with logs showing NewsChannel 12 aired the ad five times on Monday, the day Smith’s campaign sent the news release, and has run continuously through Friday.

WYDO and WCTI are sister stations. The Sinclair Broadcast Group owns NewsChannel 12 and operates the Cunningham Broadcasting-owned Fox Eastern Carolina under a shared services agreement.

The conflicting claims can’t be reconciled without a list of all TV stations paid to run the spot. The Smith campaign didn’t say the commercial was no longer on the air anywhere.

“Multiple stations across the district have already pulled this advertisement,” Monday’s news release states.

The DMFI PAC endorsed Smith’s Democratic primary opponent, state Sen. Don Davis, in March.

Both candidates hope to secure the party’s nomination in the 1st Congressional District, which also features a bruising Republican primary fight between “America First” populist Sandy Smith and establishment favorite Sandy Roberson, the current mayor of Rocky Mount.

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