GOP House candidate invokes idea of 'victory mosque' in campaign ad

The building of an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero has faded from the midterm campaign conversation over the past week, but here's an ad that might change that. 

It's the first offering from the campaign of Republican Renee Ellmers, who is challenging Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.), and the message is a provocative one.

"After the Muslims conquered Jerusalem and Cordoba and Constantinople, they built victory mosques," the ad's narrator says. "And now, they want to build a mosque by ground zero. Where does Bob Etheridge stand? He won't say."

The ad is set for release Wednesday and will run on cable, but the Ellmers campaign is clearly hoping the spot garners her campaign some much needed attention and a jolt of fundraising. The ad is embedded above an online donation form on her website. 

"Bob Etheridge has never thought building this mosque and community center so close to Ground Zero is a good idea," spokesman Mike Davis said in a statement Tuesday.

Davis labeled the ad a "political tactic designed to distract voters." 

"Mrs. Ellmers is desecrating this hallowed ground with her obvious and offensive attempt to raise her profile," Davis continued. "No further proof is needed that she will say anything to get elected."

Ellmers faces an uphill battle against Etheridge but she does have the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. 

Etheridge has the clear financial edge in the race, sitting on more than $1.2 million as of his latest campaign filing. Ellmers has raised $355,000 to date, which her campaign notes is more than any of Etheridge's previous GOP challengers have raised.  

The race made it into the national spotlight briefly earlier this summer after a video surfaced showing a confrontation between Etheridge and a student on a Washington street.   

-Updated at 8:27 p.m.

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