Republican Wendy Long has so far limped through her uphill challenge to Democratic Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand with hardly any money in her campaign account.
But GOP super PAC National Horizon went on television in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse Wednesday with a $500,000 buy featuring a new 30-second TV ad that accuses her of "killing jobs in New York."
The ad zeroes in on Welch-Allyn, a major medical devices manufacturer headquartered in the Onondaga County community of Skaneateles Falls.
"She talked about jobs for a publicity tour of Welch-Allyn, a major upstate medical employer," the ad says. "But Gillibrand's the Senate's most liberal member. She voted for Obamacare's new tax on medical devices. Now workers at that company are losing jobs as the tax she backed causes turmoil."
Long has been largely absent from television screens as she struggles to gain attention against the well financed Gillibrand. But Nelson Warfield, a veteran Republican political consultant who is spokesman for National Horizon, said Wednesday that his group is happy to criticize Gillibrand and the fact that she has "largely escaped scrutiny."
"Wendy Long has a good story to tell and we're happy to be part of telling that story," Warfield said.
GOP sources also point out that the ad is running in three cities hosting competitive House races, and that the message is designed to help Republican candidates in those races as well.
Gillibrand spokesman Glen Caplin, meanwhile, said the senator remains concerned about the bill's effect on companies like Welch-Allyn. He also accused the ad of using "fake headlines that never actually appeared in print."
"Sen. Gillibrand expressed her serious concerns about this specific provision at the time and as she has said many times before, would consider any credible proposal that pays for its repeal," Caplin said. "But, unfortunately, in this political climate, the only conversation is about repealing the entire bill, which would not only be a step backwards for millions of New Yorkers, but would create even more uncertainty for all businesses."
Federal campaign records also indicate that the company donated to Gillibrand twice after the Affordable Health Care Act was approved.
Gillibrand also has been airing a new ad in New York City in which she touts her efforts to "reform government by making it more transparent."
--Robert J. McCarthy