WASHINGTON -- The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's closing argument in the North Carolina Senate race is a harsh attack on Republican nominee Thom Tillis. The group released a final television ad Thursday highlighting a 2012 scandal in which two former Tillis staffers engaged in inappropriate relationships with lobbyists.
The ad, shared exclusively with The Huffington Post, opens with local TV coverage of the controversy. "State House Speaker Thom Tillis is under fire again regarding his staff," an anchor says.
The narrator then recounts the story, in which it was discovered that Tillis' chief of staff had an affair with a lobbyist. Days later, one of his policy analysts was revealed to be having a similar affair.
"Tillis said he fired them -- he didn't," the narrator says. "Instead, Tillis let them resign with a nearly $20,000 payout funded by taxpayers."
Watch the ad above.
Democrats have used the controversy throughout the election cycle to levy charges of corruption against Tillis, who is looking to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan, the Democratic incumbent. Democratic super PACS cut similar ads earlier this year, prompting a response ad from Tillis' campaign insisting that he fired both staffers. Fact checkers have ruled that the Democrats' version of events is more accurate.
In a statement, DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky accused Tillis of rewarding his aides with "taxpayer funded golden parachutes" and lying to North Carolina voters about how he dealt with the scandal.
"Instead of looking out for North Carolina families, Speaker Tillis has a record of rewarding corruption at the expense of North Carolina families, and it’s clear he’s completely wrong for North Carolina," Barasky said.
A spokesman for Tillis' campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
The ad, which will air statewide on broadcast and cable, is part of a $9.1 million ad buy the DSCC launched in North Carolina in August. Spending in the North Carolina Senate race, which is one of the most closely watched contests of the year, topped $100 million on Wednesday.
HuffPost's Pollster average, which combines all publicly available polling, currently shows Hagan leading Tillis by just one percentage point.