New York Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, the Republican nominee in the special election to replace former Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.), was whacked in two rounds of new TV ads Thursday, as a new poll showed the three-way race essentially tied.
Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party nominee, went up with his first TV ad Thursday, and its a full-throttle assault on Scozzafava while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday also launched a TV attack of its own against the Assemblywoman.
The advertising activity comes as a new poll sponsored by the anti-tax group the Club for Growth shows the race to essentially be a three-way tie. The poll of 300 likely voters, taken Sept. 17 by Basswood Research, showed Scozzafava preferred by 20 percent of the voters, and Democratic nominee Bill Owens and Hoffman each taking 17 percent, with 45 percent undecided. The poll had a 5.7-point margin of error.
The club appears poised to endorse Hoffman, and pollster Jon Lerner said Scozzafava appears very vulnerable.
Meanwhile, Hoffmans ad uses humorous images to accuse Scozzafava of being a fake Republican.
An Elvis impersonator, a generic super hero in a garish costume, and a man wearing a Ronald Reagan mask jump into the picture, as a narrator says, A fake is easy to spot. A costume cant make you fly. And pretending cant make you a Reagan Republican.
The ad goes on to call Scozzafava an Albany politician and a liberal Republican who has voted for gay marriage, bailouts of the mortgage banking industry, and tax increases.
Weve all seen cheesy Elvis impersonators try to pass themselves off as the real thing; sometimes they make you cringe with embarrassment, said Nelson Warfield, Hoffmans media consultant, who produced the ad.
The spot is part of Hoffmans plan to chip away at Scozzafavas conservative support. Scozzafava is a social moderate with close ties to organized labor. National Republicans believe that profile is extremely potent for the upstate swing district, which President Barack Obama won by 5 points last year. But they did not count on Hoffman a CPA from Lake Placid who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination taking away votes from Scozzafava on the right.
A Hoffman campaign adviser declined to provide information about the size or scope of its media buy. There are five media markets in the 23rd district.
Meanwhile, the DCCC ad targeting Scozzafava also harps on the theme that she is an insider Albany politician and hitting her for voting for tax increases.
The DCCC did not immediately respond to a message asking for details about its ad buy.
There are now four ads on the airwaves in the special election. Owens, an attorney, began running a biographical spot earlier this week, and the National Republican Congressional Committee is airing an ad that attacks Owens.
Although the special election to replace McHugh, who is set to become secretary of the Army, has not been scheduled yet, it is likely to take place on Nov. 3, Election Day.