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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Pat McCrory’s gubernatorial campaign is dismissing criticism that his television ad featuring a former North Carolina sheriff has racial overtones.

Democratic Sen. Floyd McKissick asked McCrory’s campaign to stop running what he called an offensive ad in which former Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay speaks. Gay was a longtime Democrat now backing the Republican McCrory, and McKissick is the head of the Legislative Black Caucus.

Gay lost to a black challenger in 2010, and McKissick says his comments after that defeat were racially divisive. Gay was quoted saying most black voters in his election voted based on race. Gay is white. He later apologized.

McCrory campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz said Monday that McKissick’s criticism of a positive ad is a desperate attack by those who support Democratic rival Walter Dalton.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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