(CNN) - The already-contentious North Carolina Senate race took a brutal turn Wednesday after incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole released a television ad suggesting challenger Kay Hagan is "Godless."
“A leader of the Godless Americans PAC recently held a secret fundraiser for Kay Hagan,” the 30-second ad says before showing clips from members of the group declaring God and Jesus do not exist.
“Godless Americans and Kay Hagan. She hid from cameras. Took godless money,” the ad's narrator also says. “What did Kay Hagan promise in return?”
Watch: Dole hits airwaves with 'Godless' ad
The ad ends with an unidentified female voice declaring, "There is no God."
The Dole campaign says it's basing its charge on Hagan's attendance at a fundraiser that was in the home of an advisor to the Godless Americans’ political action committee, a group that promotes rights for atheists.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Hagan said she has never heard of the Godless PAC "before Lydie Dole sent out a press release on this," and said the fundraiser in question had more than 40 hosts, including Sen. John Kerry. She also said she has contacted her lawyers to issue a cease-and-desist order on the commercial.
"I am absolutely appalled at Elizabeth Dole's vile tactics," Hagan said. “This is politics of the worst kind, and I know it has been rejected by North Carolinians at every level. It is so unbecoming of a woman like Elizabeth Dole. This is a fabricated, pathetic ad."
Hagan went on to strongly defend her faith: "I am a Sunday school teacher, I am an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, my family has been going to this church for over 100 years, I have raised my children there. I have been involved in youth missions."
A National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman defended the ad.
"Kay Hagan recently attended a fundraiser held in the home of a founding member of the Godless Americans PAC," Online Communications Director John Randall said. "Now Hagan believes it is unfair to associate her with the group even though the soiree raised her thousands of dollars in campaign cash. I guess money is more important to Hagan than principles."
Recent polls suggest Hagan - a Democratic state senator from Greensboro who began the race at a major money disadvantage to Dole - is now leading the incumbent slightly with only days remaining before Election Day.
Elizabeth Dole doesn't even live in NC anymore. How on earth is she able to run for a seat from NC? And the ad is no surprise. Typical Republican attack. They claim to be the moral party but love to get deep down in the dirt. Americans seem to finally be rejecting their bull.
That is low! Karl Rove could not have imagined anything dirtier.
What's really sad is that there are voters who will believe it and be swayed.
Dole, is a religious bigot! What if it were a Jewish faith based organization contributing the money? They do not accept Jesus as the Son of God. So, they would be "wrong" in her vision as well.
Where is her protection of the "freedom of religion" or "freedom from religion" as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
Dole is NOT to be trusted with Americans' personal beliefs.
WOW..How sad. The is what Their Party has come to?
Anything goes with the Republicans. Shame on you, Elizabeth and Bob.
Sheesh... as if it would be such a bad thing if the accusation were true...
Another desperate Republican – is there no level too low for them?
Americans proving themselves as more religious extremists than any other religion in the world.
With this, the last hint of goodness within Elizabeth Dole is officially gone.
Dole – another crooked Republican willing to say or do anything to win. Wake up North Carolina.
Gutless Republicans on the attack! I wonder what God they think they are serving with such vile tactics.
I am shocked and appalled by Elizabeth Dole's ad. I always respected Elizabeth Dole, until today. Anyone that supports such an ad, should not be in Congress. Folks, this country is moving quickly towards McCarthyism. What a sad day.
Boy these republican will do anything on any level to win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am appalled by the Dole campaign's baseless attacks, but perhaps even more by their attempt to make someone's religious views a rightful campaign issue.
I'd vote for the best candidate, whether that person is Jewish, Baptist, Muslim, or atheist. As Thomas Jefferson said,
"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
Conservatives like to lie period.
Kay Hagan should be behind bars like many of the NC Democratic state political establishment currently are locked up for abuse of power. Tax and Spend Kay. Temporary taxes now permanent. LOCK KAY UP NOW!
thank "god" someone smart enough to realize there's no such thing is actually running for public office...anyone ever hear of the separation of church and state?
how is this going to help people find a job? people's religous beliefs or lack there of is no one's business. If we want to talk about religion, the republicans lack it by starting this war which the catholic church said is unjust, having affairs and lying about corruption (ted stevens and sarah palin).
Separation of Church & State anyone?
bush/rove and the nuts are alive and well in n. carolina. Bob Dole must be really proud of this latest republican trash. somewhere there seems to me the commandment 'LOVE THY LORD AND LOVE THEY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. see what happens when religion and politics mix–HATE.
Well, what else is new with republican campaigning. They call their opponents immoral and unpatriotic. This is what has TOTALLY turned me off about republicans. Elizabeth Dole did not even have to go there. She is an upstanding Senator. Just campaigning on the issues would have served her well. Yet, she fell into the republican trap of "trash your opponent" campaigning, all to win an election when her party brand is taking a beating. Shameful, sad, she has lost all dignity.
Wow. This is like political limbo – how low can you go? Remember, there's still 6 more days.....
How long before Hitler is raised?
Wow...this is about as despicable an ad as I've seen in quite a few years. It's slanderous and one can only hope the voters punish her for it.
Republican tactics. Lie,cheat and steal if need be. Just win. Whatever it takes just win. I am fairly sure that there is something about bearing false witness written in the Bible. Have these people no sense of decency left?