A super PAC endorsed by House Republican leaders has released its first television commercial in the 24th Congressional District — a major piece of an $800,000 campaign targeting Democratic candidate Colleen Deacon.
The Congressional Leadership Fund's ad continues a theme raised by Republicans throughout the campaign — that Deacon, D-Syracuse, is unprepared to handle foreign policy challenges.
The 30-second commercial mentions Deacon's support for the Iran nuclear deal — an agreement the Republican incumbent in the race, U.S. Rep. John Katko, opposed.
It also features the same clip from "The Campbell Conversations" that's been used in previous GOP ads. In the clip, Deacon is asked how the U.S. should handle the situation in Syria and the fight against ISIS, a Middle Eastern terrorist group.
A portion of Deacon's response is, "Obviously, I don't know what the answer is."
The ad released by the Congressional Leadership Fund is airing on Syracuse-area broadcast and cable television stations.
"Colleen Deacon has demonstrated she doesn't know what she's talking about on national security," said Ruth Guerra, a spokeswoman for the Congressional Leadership Fund. "Whether on fighting ISIS or supporting the Iran nuclear deal, Colleen Deacon will have to ask Nancy Pelosi what to say. New York families' security can't depend on amateur hour from Colleen Deacon."
The group's $800,000 investment in the 24th Congressional District race includes digital advertising and door-to-door canvassing in central New York.
According to Federal Election Commission records, the Congressional Leadership Fund has already spent nearly $300,000 on the 24th District race.
Outside groups have invested more than $1.4 million on the race, records show.
A poll released last week showed Katko, R-Camillus, leading Deacon by 19 points, 53 to 34 percent. It's a large lead in a district Democrats have won in each of the past two presidential election years.
Political forecasters say Katko is in a good position to win re-election. Two of the most prominent prognosticators — Cook Political Report and Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report — rate the race "leans Republican" and "toss up/tilt Republican," respectively.
UPDATE: Bryan Lesswing, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, issued a statement responding to the Congressional Leadership Fund's campaign:
"While Trump recklessly bragged about declaring war, Katko praised him for having ‘a lot of good principles’ and refused to disavow him until it was politically convenient. That should worry Central New York voters," Lesswing said. "By supporting Donald Trump’s divisive and dangerous campaign, Republican John Katko puts politics above safety and refuses to put Central New York, let alone the whole country, first."