Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson released a radio ad in South Carolina Thursday, hitting Rev. Al Sharpton and Sen. Bernie Sanders to make a direct appeal to African American voter’s in the state's open primary.
“You may have seen the photo of Al Sharpton and Bernie Sanders on the news the other day,” the radio ad opens, referencing a meeting the Democratic candidate had with the reverend earlier this week. “Another Liberal politician pandering to an African American just to get votes.”
“Two men, posing. Al Sharpton loves posing for pictures, but what’s he’s done to ease the plight of African Americans? FBI crime statistics show 52 percent of murders were committed by African Americans last year, it’s a national tragedy,” the 60 second ad continues.
The Carson campaign tells NBC News the $200,000-plus ad buy is intended to drive turnout in minority districts. The radio advertisement, uses Carson’s personal story of growing up in inner-city Detroit and becoming a world renowned neurosurgeon to say he is the only candidate “who knows first hand what it takes to overcome poverty and racial violence."
"Growing up on the main streets of Detroit, he lived it— Day in, day out.” the narrator says. "So when Dr. Carson says government dependence yields more poverty, broken homes, crime, and incarceration, we should take note.
The ad closes, "He is a leader who’s spent his life helping others, saving lives and he can spot the difference between a crisis and a photo op.”
This is not the first time the Carson campaign has made an overt effort to reach out to black voters. In October, as Carson was surging in the Republican field, his campaign released a widely panned radio ad featuring a man rapping over a hip-hop beat, with sound clips from the candidate.
Despite the advertisement including an approval message in his voice, Carson later said he was “horrified” when he heard it. "It was done by people who have no concept of the black community and what they were doing,” Carson said when pushed on it at a BET #AllVotesMatter Twitter Town Hall in January.
Carson has slid to sixth place in South Carolina, which holds it’s primary Saturday. In South Carolina, while voters can only vote in one party’s nomination, they don’t have to declare a party affiliation ahead of time. This gives candidates, like Carson, the opportunity to win support from voters aligned with opposite political parties.
Despite decreasing standings in the race, Dr. Ben Carson defiantly vowed to remain in the race despite the outcome in South Carolina, telling reporters Wednesday "I'm not getting out, I'm going on to Nevada, there's no question about that.”
"The thing that leads me on is not so much what the vote tally is, it's a matter of how many people you have supporting you. And we still have millions of people supporting us,” Carson said.