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GOP bankrolling ‘mass deception’ in Democratic primary, Jeff Jackson says. What we know.

Less than two weeks out from the primary, a new super PAC that appears to have ties to Republicans is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Democratic race for attorney general.

The Washington-based group, And Justice For All, registered with the Federal Election Commission on Feb. 6 and quickly began airing TV and radio ads and sending mailers, praising Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Jeff Jackson in the March 5 primary.

The ads tout Deberry’s liberal record, and suggest she’s the “real progressive” in the race, WFAE reported.

Jackson, who has dominated fundraising since launching his campaign in October, and has amassed support from much of the Democratic establishment, has blasted the outside spending in support of Deberry — who has earned some key endorsements but raised far less money — as a “mass deception operation.”

In recent fundraising emails and videos on TikTok, Jackson has told his supporters the new PAC is funded by Republicans and is on track to spend $1 million on ads urging Democrats to support Deberry over him. As of now, Jackson’s campaign says they’ve estimated around $700,000 in total spending across all media.

“It appears that the other party is interfering in our primary because they don’t want me to be the one running against Dan Bishop in the general election,” Jackson said in a statement to The News & Observer. “It’s unfortunate that this type of well-funded, mass deception operation is happening, but we’re going to fight through it and come out stronger on the other side.”

The 2024 candidates for North Carolina Attorney General (from left): Republican Dan Bishop, Democrats Jeff Jackson, Satana Deberry and Tim Dunn.
The 2024 candidates for North Carolina Attorney General (from left): Republican Dan Bishop, Democrats Jeff Jackson, Satana Deberry and Tim Dunn.

Responding to the outside spending, Deberry told The N&O the ads shouldn’t distract from the decision voters will make when evaluating Jackson and herself and choosing between them.

“I am a Black woman with a stellar prosecutorial and legal record. I’m the best candidate to do the job. And I’m in the best position to beat Dan Bishop in the fall,” Deberry said in a statement. “Let’s not be distracted. This election is about women’s rights. I have seen men underestimate me and other women in the past.

“Just ask Donald Trump about his recent experience with New York AG Tish James,” she added.

What we know about the new super PAC

In its registration paperwork with the FEC, And Justice For All lists its address as 2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, which as the North Carolina Tribune pointed out earlier this month, has long been used by political groups as a convenient mailing address.

The group states in FEC records that it uses McLean, Virginia-based Chain Bridge Bank, which has been the “preferred” bank for Republican candidates at all levels for more than a decade, Roll Call and Bloomberg have reported.

The super PAC is also using Political Communications Advertising, a New York-based media buyer, to reserve airtime on local TV stations like WRAL, WTVD and others.

That firm, FEC records show, has been used by multiple GOP congressional campaigns and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

NC Reality Check is an N&O series holding those in power accountable and shining a light on public issues that affect the Triangle or North Carolina. Have a suggestion for a future story? Email realitycheck@newsobserver.com