- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A candidate for North Carolina governor is running his first ad of the 2016 campaign.

Durham attorney Ken Spaulding said the radio ad began airing Wednesday and will run in markets statewide this week and next.

The former Democratic legislator and state transportation board member criticizes both Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper for defending in court an elections overhaul law that placed new restrictions on voting. McCrory is seeking re-election, and Cooper is preparing a gubernatorial bid as well.

Spaulding says in the ad that Cooper through his office is siding with McCrory in court to uphold the law. Cooper has said he is personally opposed to the law but his job obligates him to defend the state.

Cooper’s office stopped defending North Carolina’s gay marriage ban last summer when a federal appeals court overturned Virginia’s similar ban.

“I am one Democrat who is not afraid to fight for all of the people of North Carolina against Pat McCrory and Roy Cooper and these bad laws,” Spaulding says in the ad.

Spaulding declined in an interview to reveal now how much money he’s spending on the radio.

Morgan Jackson, a spokesman for Cooper’s political committee, said Cooper “spoke out forcefully against this bad (elections) law, and he would have vetoed it if he were governor. Pat McCrory pushed for the law and signed it.”

There was no immediate response late Wednesday from the McCrory campaign to an email seeking comment.

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