KERNERSVILLE — The Democratic National Committee unveiled a billboard this week near N.C. 66 in Kernersville that touts the president’s American Recovery Plan while criticizing the state’s Republican senators who voted against it.
“HELP IS HERE,” the billboard reads. On the left is a photo of the president with the text, “Thanks to President Biden.” On the right are photos of U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, both Republicans who voted against the president’s relief package, with the text: “No thanks to Sen. Burr, Sen. Tillis.”
National Democratic officials say they bought the billboards in 20 states to promote the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan’s $1,400 relief checks, “$$$ to reopen schools” and “$$$ for vaccines.”
At 60 mph on westbound U.S. 421/Salem Parkway, motorists have to glance left quickly to see the billboard.
Its timing is already raising the ire of a Tillis spokesman because this is the week that the senator is undergoing surgery for prostate cancer.
“The return to civility that President Biden called for is clearly not being practiced by his own party,” Tillis spokesman Daniel Keylin told the News & Record in an email. “Last week, the (North Carolina Democratic Party) sent well wishes after Senator Tillis announced his cancer diagnosis and that he is undergoing treatment this week. Astonishingly, the NCDP subsequently decided that now was also the appropriate time to launch a political attack ad against the senator and gloat about their ad to the media.
“The NCDP’s pathetic partisan behavior is part of a larger problem in politics where some are incapable of showing basic human decency for even just a few days if it interferes with their desire to score cheap political points,” Keylin wrote.
National Democratic officials said billboard campaigns are planned weeks in advance and they had little control over the exact timing. They say they believe the message is one that the people of North Carolina need to see. Billboards in other states also thank Democratic senators who voted in favor of the package.
“The DNC chose this high-traffic area ... in the hopes that many North Carolinians see this billboard and know that the American Rescue Plan passed, thanks to President Biden and no thanks to Republicans,” the committee said in a written statement.
MSNBC Anchor Rachel Maddow featured the billboards, including the one in the Triad, on her show Monday and called it “the Democrats taking a victory lap.”
Burr’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Contact Richard M. Barron at
336-373-7371 and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.