(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.
What makes it even more bizarre is that Kay Hagan is a Presbyterian Sunday school teacher, if the news reports I've read are true. Dole is up to her neck in merde on this one.
Typical Republican tactics. When they've got nothing else to say, they just attack. Said it before, say it again, if you're for a party that's all about "BORROW and SPEND", then the R is your ticket.
The only thing missing is a trailer at the end saying "I am God, and I approve this message."
This add just shows the public just how desperate Ms Dole is to win.
This kind of stuff really turns off voters.
It's time for the death of fascism in America...No matter how religious or irreligious people are, we're getting pretty sick of the Crazy Fundy God Squad shoving their dogma and intolerance down our throats!
Let me see, its ok for Bush to Tax and Spend $$$ on killing people in Iraq, Syria, etc etc but its not ok for Barack to Tax and Spend to educate, and feed Americans.
This election is an uprising with votes. We will not storm the White House but we'll storm the voting booths. Fight on Americans, we are on a mission. Enough is enough, and we've had with George W. Bush and McBush.
Fight on–win this election and take our country back!
Even I wouldn't approve an ad that pathetic and mean!
Well there went any respect I might have had for Dole as an individual.
Does she not remember or protect that part of the Constitution about freedom of speech?
more christian arrogance
Rich in Seattle – I don't know...people here bought Jim Gilmore's 'no car tax' lie a few years back. So you never know.
Hagan should file for slander against Dole. The ad is a lie.
South St. Paul: Have you been hanging around the stock yards too much lately?
Like Mcain, it's NOT about right and wrong, it' NOT about life and death...................it"s about VICTORY!!!!!!!
Just as Obama could have said "no I'm not a Muslim, but so what if I was?" this story shows another sort of more deeply-ingrained religious prejudice. I have to wonder which would happen first in this country: voters widely accepting Muslim candidates, or agnostic/atheistic/non-theistic candidates. To the best of my knowledge there is only one openly non-theistic member of Congress, and as an agnostic I know that I will most likely never see a strong candidate for national office who shares MY religious convictions. I hope I'm wrong. I doubt it, though.
When your down, you get dirty. How you get dirty explains a lot in your character....over the top for Ms. Dole. What a way to go out and what a waste of a good career in politics to go out like slime which is how you will be remembered. Take notice, EVERY republican that believes they are losing does the exact same stunt. How godly is that is how godless is that?
Dole is an old carpet-bagging hag and a sad reflection of North Carolinians.
SEND DOLE BACK HOME TO KANSAS.
Way to go, Mrs. Dole. The Dukie genes that you share with Richard Nixon will show up eventually, won't they?
The Republicans are going to be crying their eyes out come Nov 5! I can see it now!
ANOTHER WOUND INTO THE RIB OF THIS NATION.
WHEN WILL THE REPUBLICANS REALIZE THAT WE CAN
ONLY TAKE SO MANY OF THEM BEFORE SUCCUMBING.
DOLE'S LACK OF INTEGRITY IS A COMPLETE SURPRISE.
ayers didn't work for mccain
and godless won't work for dole.
Oh my God(less)! I once had such respect for Senator Dole, but no longer. She's following the McCain-Rove machine.
I can not believe that Elizabeth Dole has stooped so LOW! I am disgusted at the republican party for allowing this and other despicable ads to be aired in order to divide and conquer.
Have you NO same? And, you call yourselves Christians–as a Christian I DO NOT want to be viewed in the same light as you.
Let's discuss her connection to an adulterous deadbeat father.
Republicans these days seem to know who is God-like and who isn't. It's a sin to declare who God loves and whom he doesn't . Elizabeth needs to get off her high-horse. She wasn't and isn't that special!!!!!!