The Latest: 4 Democratic candidates disagree on immigration


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a North Carolina U.S. Senate debate Thursday for the four Democratic candidates (all times local):

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7:45 p.m.

The four Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in North Carolina disagree on what to do about immigrants who are in the country unlawfully.

Deborah Ross of Raleigh and Chris Rey of Spring Lake said at a Thursday evening televised debate they would support legislation that would give these immigrants a path to citizenship. But Kevin Griffin of Durham and Ernest Reeves of Greenville said they didn’t support that.

Otherwise, the four candidates seeking to replace Republican Sen. Richard Burr largely agreed on matters related to health care and their unhappiness with Burr’s record.

Griffin criticized Ross at the debate’s end but the four largely stayed clear of attacking each other.

This is the only scheduled TV debate for the Democratic candidates in advance of the March 15 primary.

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3:05 p.m.

U.S. Senate candidate Deborah Ross is airing the Democratic primary campaign’s first television ad, suggesting she would best look out for everyday North Carolina residents if she were elected.

Ross began running the ad Thursday, hours before she and three other Democratic Senate candidates planned to participate in a debate at a Raleigh TV studio and airing live.

Records on file at Raleigh-area TV stations shows she’s spending more than $46,000 to air the commercial over the next week. Campaign manager Dave Hoffman says the campaign would be running ads through the March 15 primary.

Speakers in the ad say Ross would fight for fairness, economic security and opportunity and would protect “people, not the powerful.”

Ross also received Thursday the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund.

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5:20 a.m.

The four North Carolina Democrats seeking to win their party’s nomination for U.S. Senate are meeting for a televised debate the week before in-person early voting begins.

Kevin Griffin of Durham, Ernest Reeves of Greenville, Chris Rey of Spring Lake and Deborah Ross of Raleigh were slated to appear in Thursday night’s debate at the WRAL-TV studios in Raleigh. The March 15 primary winner is seeking to replace Republican incumbent Richard Burr, who has his own primary against three GOP challengers.

Ross is a former state House member who secured the most campaign money early in the Democratic race. Rey is Spring Lake’s mayor and Reeves is an Army veteran. Griffin operates an employment staffing company.

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