Kathy Hochul isn’t going negative — at least not yet.
Hochul, the Democratic nominee in the western New York special election to replace former Rep. Chris Lee (R), is airing the first television ad of her two-week-old campaign. And in contrast to Jane Corwin, her Republican opponent and presumed frontrunner, the 30-second spot largely avoids attacks.
There’s one slight barb in the opening of the new ad, however, which flashes a television playing a clip from Corwin’s recent negative ad: “Kathy Hochul trying to fool you?” the narrator on the television asks.
Hochul, standing in a brightly lit kitchen, then introduces herself to the voters of the 26th district: “I’m Kathy Hochul and I guess this is what you’d expect from an Albany politician. I think you deserve to hear what I’ve done and what I’ll do in Congress directly from me.”
The Erie County Clerk and wife of a U.S. attorney, Hochul says that she “led the fight against giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses,” blocked plans to change New York license plates and fought against commuter tolls.
There is little doubt that Hochul has an uphill climb to compete in the May 24 special election. The 26th district, which is covered by the Buffalo and Rochester media markets, is among the most conservative in the Empire State. And Corwin is considered to have far more personal resources to devote to the race.
Democrats’ best hope in the contest is a divided Republican electorate. Jack Davis, who has run multiple times for the seat as a Democrat, will appear on the ballot under the “Tea Party” line. While local tea party activists are divided over whether to support him, Davis has vowed to spend up to $3 million from his personal fortune on the race.
Davis’ early campaign rhetoric suggests he’ll largely target Corwin, who will appear on the GOP, Conservative Party and Independence Party ballot lines.