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O’Neill Files Complaint Against Stein Over Ad As Attorney General’s Race Remains Tight

Jim O' Neill is challenging incumbent Josh Stein for the post of North Carolina Attorney General. As of Thursday morning, the race was still too close to call.
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The Republican challenger in the race for North Carolina’s Attorney General – Jim O’Neill – says he's filed a complaint against Democratic incumbent Josh Stein over a campaign advertisement.

The ad first got attention more than a month ago when the Raleigh News & Observer reported one of Stein's employees resigned over its content. In the ad, a woman suggests O'Neill let rapists go free as Forsyth County District Attorney by leaving sexual assault kits untested.

O'Neill says it's false, and has filed a complaint with the state Board of Elections. He also threatened to file a complaint with the state BAR and seek criminal charges.

“Unfortunately, our Attorney General does not have honor,” O’Neill said. “He does not have integrity. He certainly doesn't have a moral compass to know that what he was doing was false, but he did it for his own political gain.”

A spokesman for Stein's campaign calls O'Neill's allegations false and childish. 

As of Thursday morning, the race between Stein and O’Neill remained too close to call. Stein leads, but by less than 11,000 votes – a razor-thin margin with about 117,000 outstanding absentee ballots. Those ballots are expected to be counted within the next week.

If re-elected, this would be Stein’s second term as the state’s Attorney General. O’Neill has been the District Attorney in Forsyth County since 2009 and has spoken at rallies for President Donald Trump, most recently on Sunday in Hickory.

On Wednesday, Stein remained confident about his re-election chances.

"I look forward to continuing to protect the people of North Carolina as your attorney general," Stein said in a statement to the Winston-Salem Journal. "I am confident in our position, though of course every legal vote must be counted before we declare victory."

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
Mitchell Northam is a Digital Producer for WUNC. His past work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, SB Nation, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press. He is a graduate of Salisbury University and is also a voter in the AP Top 25 poll for women's college basketball.
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