ROCKY MOUNT - North Carolina's Democratic Party and a former state senator are apologizing for 2010 campaign ads that wrongly accused the Republican winner of dealing drugs while in college.
Democrats and former Sen. A.B. Swindell say their mailings and radio ads in the eastern North Carolina district were based on Watauga County court records that described the 1990 arrest but did not include a later letter from prosecutors dismissing the charge.
Republican state Sen. Eldon "Buck" Newton says he's satisfied with the apology and is dropping his defamation lawsuit. Newton says the letter from prosecutors shows he was innocent of the charges made in their campaign advertisements.
Newton defeated Swindell in 2010 and now represents the district covering Wilson and Nash counties, which had been reliably Democratic for at least 20 years.