PAC Supporting Jim O’Neill Sends Out Specious Attack Mailer

A PAC has sent out mailers attacking AG candidate Christine Mumma for her Actual Innocence work.

The Cycle NC Logo over a map of the United States.
The mailer sent out by the ‘Defend Us’ PAC attacking Christine Mumma for her exoneration efforts.

A PAC has mailed out at least two flyers attacking Christine Mumma and encouraging recipients to vote for Jim O’Neill in the Republican primary for Attorney General.  Both mailers, sent out by the ‘Defend Us’ PAC, attack Mumma for her work with the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence and make specific reference to the case involving Joseph Abbitt. Both mailers read, “Christine Mumma worked to free convicted child rapist.” Mumma is the Executive Director of the Center on Actual Innocence, an organization focused on proving the innocence of inmates who were wrongfully convicted.

Abbitt, who was convicted in 1995 and exonerated in 2009, was a client of the Center on Actual Innocence. His family has requested that no further ads be run highlighting the case—as Abbitt himself died in 2015, and is unable to defend himself. Abbitt was released from prison because of DNA evidence in the case. However, a year later police conducted further testing that they alleged left Abbitt as a prime suspect, though no new charges of any kind were filed.

The PAC appears to have spent a considerable amount on the mailers as they seem to have gone statewide, and one of the mailers was a fold-out flyer. ‘Defend Us’—the PAC responsible for the mailers—is headed by Tom Norris who previously served on the White House transition team for the Department of Energy. A statement on the PAC’s website reads “WE (The Deplorables) are all that President Trump has! And, as long as we can come together, we are all he needs!”

Norris has ties with a number of other groups including Cap Square Solutions (a lobbying firm that’s owned by Norris), the Government Integrity Fund (where Norris served as Chair), and the Jobs and Progress Fund (over which Norris served as President). He is also the President of 406 Enterprises which conducted mobile advertising for one of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s campaigns in South Carolina.

Three Republicans, Christine Mumma, Sam Hayes, and Jim O’Neill, are running for their party’s nomination to challenge current Attorney General Josh Stein in the general election.

This race has already made news by making the Voter ID Law a central issue.

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