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NC billboard campaign features Republican voters — for Biden

NC billboard campaign features Republican voters — for Biden
NC billboard campaign features Republican voters — for Biden(Republican Voters Against Trump)
Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 4:32 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Raleigh’s Jay Copan never expected to see his face, much less his politics, plastered on billboards across North Carolina.

But they will be starting Friday, along with those of a handful of other North Carolina voters.

They’re part of a campaign sponsored by Republican Voters Against Trump. This week the group plans to erect more than 100 billboards across North Carolina at a cost of nearly $700,000.

Each features the face of a conservative voter who’s voting for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Copan, 69, voted for Republican Donald Trump in 2016. His billboard has a simple message: “I’m conservative. I value decency. I’m voting Biden.”

“Honestly I felt (in 2016) that Trump was the lesser of two evils,” the retired executive told the Observer. “I just didn’t realize how evil he could be.”

The anti-Trump group spent $1 million on TV ads in North Carolina this summer. One featured former Matthews Mayor Shawn LeMond. It’s an offshoot of Defending Democracy Together, an advocacy group formed by conservative Bill Kristol, founder of the now-defunct Weekly Standard.

On Thursday Kristol’s group ran full-page ads in the Observer and newspapers in six other mostly swing states that feature the names of 129 former Republican diplomats and national security officials endorsing Biden.

Both presidential campaigns and their allies have spent more than $100 million so far in North Carolina. The candidates alone have spent more here than in any state but Florida.

Sarah Longwell, founder of Republican Voters Against Trump, said the blitz of TV and digital ads led them to go back to billboards.

“We’re putting millions in digital and a smaller percentage in TV,” she said. “But I’m an old-school believer in the persuasion value of billboards. I think it’s an opportunity to give people a stickier message, something that sticks with them.”

Trump campaign spokesperson Gates McGavick said “Nobody cares” about the billboards.

“President Trump enjoys massive support from the Republican Party, and he will be re-elected this November,” McGavick said in a statement.

Mark Viehweg hopes they care. His billboard reads: “I’m a Christian. I’m a Republican. I’m voting Biden.”

A video producer in Cabarrus County, Viehweg said he was “looking for an organization I could support that would allow me to be faithful to my Republican values but not support this Republican.”

“Past presidents grow into the office,” Viehweg said. “This man has done just the opposite. He is divisive, mean and a bully. And he showed all those traits in the debate.”

IVANKA IN GASTON

The president’s daughter, White House adviser Ivanka Trump, visited Gaston County Thursday morning.

She toured three businesses in downtown Belmont run by Holy Angels, which serves the disabled.

Then she appeared at The Barn at Sandcastle, an event venue in Dallas, with Mercedes Schlapp, a columnist and former official of the Trump White House. They discussed the president’s record and said why they think he should be re-elected.