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Updated: 1:03 p.m.
After largely ignoring third-party candidate Jack Davis in her first round of television ads, Republican nominee Jane Corwin is attacking the former Democrat as “the hand-picked candidate of Nancy Pelosi” in a 30-second television spot that began airing across the district today.
The ad is her first since a public poll showed Corwin leading Democrat Kathy Hochul by just 5 points, 36 percent to 31 percent. Her lead would be far larger without the presence of Davis, a Congressional candidate with a history of switching parties who will appear on the May 24 ballot under the “Tea Party” line. Davis pulled 23 percent in the poll.
“Davis was a handpicked candidate of Nancy Pelosi, and said he was proud to help her become Speaker,” says the narrator in the new ad. “Davis took thousands of dollars from Barack Obama and even endorsed his campaign for president.”
“Democrat Jack Davis,” the narrator continued. “He just can’t be trusted.”
The ad comes the same day Roll Call reported that a host of conservative outside groups are working to help Corwin hold the 26th district seat, which was previously held by Rep. Chris Lee (R).
American Crossroads, led by Bush administration political guru Karl Rove and among the most powerful outside groups in the 2010 midterm elections, is polling in the district and contemplating jumping in. The Tea Party Express is airing radio ads in the district and may do more. And the National Republican Congressional Committee began running phone banks out of its Capitol Hill headquarters this week.
The Davis campaign issued a statement Thursday morning in direct response to the Roll Call story.
“The voters of Western New York are not going to be intimidated or bullied by Karl Rove, big labor and other special interests that are willing to spend millions to try to own this seat for the insiders,” Davis said. “This seat belongs to the people of Western New York, and I have faith that they will vote for someone who’s independent of the influence of lobbyists and both the Democrat and Republican parties. This seat is the people’s seat.”
Davis spokesman Curtis Ellis reiterated the promise to spend $3 million on the race, noting that the campaign began running another television ad Wednesday. In line with his earlier spots, the new one is largely positive and focuses on Davis’ plans to create jobs.
But Ellis noted that the tone in Davis’ next ads would change.
“Stay tuned,” he said.