Russo airs first TV ad as general election campaign gears up

2010-09-21T16:15:00Z 2011-10-05T10:43:19Z Russo airs first TV ad as general election campaign gears upBy Robert Harding Auburn Citizen
September 21, 2010 4:15 pm  • 

The general election in the 49th Senate District is underway and one candidate is making his first appearance on television.

Andrew Russo, the Republican and Conservative party candidate in the race, unveiled his first TV ad last week as he gears up for his race with state Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida.

Take a look at the ad below.

With the primary decided, Russo and Valesky are focused on the general election.

This race is one of many closely watched by both parties. Democrats are looking to hold onto their majority and Valesky is a key upstate seat to hold. Republicans looking to retake the majority they lost as a result of the 2008 elections see this as an opportunity to take back a seat they lost to Valesky in 2004, when a Democrat-turned-Republican ran on the GOP line and split votes with the Conservative Party candidate, opening the door for Valesky's victory.

Valesky, in a statement after Russo's GOP primary win, said he was concentrating on his job as state senator.

"I continue to focus on standing up for middle class families in central New York, no matter who my opponent is in November," he said.

In his statement, Valesky struck a reform tone -- something he highlights often -- and said Primary Day was a victory for those who are reform-minded.

"(Last Tuesday), those of us who are fighting to fix our state government won a major victory with the ouster of Pedro Espada and the defeat of Hiram Monserrate," he said. "For too long, politicians in both parties have looked the other way when abuse occurred. Early on, I called for Monserrate's removal and for Espada to resign his post. Yesterday's outcomes put politicians and candidates for office on notice: the people of this state and the real reformers are going to keep working until we have a state government that works for all of us.

For Russo, this is what he has been waiting for.

A vocal critic of Valesky's early in the campaign, he says he has focused on Valesky despite having to go through a primary campaign. He scored a big primary win over East Syracuse Mayor Dan Liedka to set up a one-on-one contest with Valesky, avoiding any of the issues the GOP had in 2004.

In an interview with me in the days after the primary, Russo shared what he thinks Espada's primary defeat and one upstate Democrat's loss in the primary means for Valesky.

"I don't think you can paint it with too broad of a brush in the sense that I'm sure that those losses probably made him a little bit nervous. Maybe he slept a little less well on Tuesday night than he may have otherwise. But I think in these districts a lot of it is there is a particular dynamic in that district between that individual and the people they represent," Russo said.

He continued: "It's good to see that people are willing to hold their leaders accountable... it may be a year where fresh faces are being chosen over career politicians."

While analyzing what the primary means for him, Russo did offer his critique on Valesky.

"(Valesky) has, I believe, voted very poorly in the last two years and voted in a way that has made people's lives more difficult in this district and created economic hardship. At the end of the day, that's what people are going to remember when they go to the ballot box," he said.

Valesky will have strong support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) heading into November, and Russo was backed by the Senate Republican Campaign Committee during the primary.

Minor parties line will also play a key role in the race. Valesky has the Independence and Working Families Party lines, while Russo has the Conservative Party line.

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