John Walsh

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR STARZ - John Walsh participates in the "The Missing" panel discussion hosted by STARZ at Soho House, on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for Starz/AP Images)

With Election Day three weeks away, a prominent Auburn native is playing a starring role in a new television commercial supporting U.S. Rep. John Katko's re-election campaign. 

John Walsh, who created the hit TV show "America's Most Wanted," appears in Katko's latest 30-second TV ad, which began airing Tuesday in the Syracuse media market. 

Walsh highlights his experience as an activist working with members of Congress since the death of his son, Adam, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1981. He said he's "never seen it this dysfunctional," and blamed the gridlock on politicians who put their party first. 

One guy is different, Walsh said in the ad, and that's Katko. 

"He's bipartisan with the record to prove it," he continues. "I know the attacks against John are wrong. He'll work with anyone to make our community better. John Katko grew up here just like I did. We need him fighting for us." 

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The ad cites two news stories, including an article published by The Citizen in April after the Lugar Center and Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy ranked Katko as the seventh-most bipartisan member of Congress

Katko, R-Camillus, is seeking a third term representing the 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Cayuga, Onondaga and Wayne counties, plus the western part of Oswego County. His opponent is Democratic challenger Dana Balter. 

Katko's campaign noted that the congressman has been supportive of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an organization that Walsh founded after his son's murder and other high-profile abductions. 

Walsh's appearance also enables Katko to highlight his law enforcement credentials. Katko is a former federal prosecutor. Prior to running for Congress, he was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of New York. 

The ad also focuses on Katko's status as a lifelong central New Yorker. He has accused Balter, D-Syracuse, of not being forthcoming about her residency. Balter has said she moved to Syracuse in 2003. She lived in the region for a few years before living in Florida and Pennsylvania while recovering from a head injury. She returned to Syracuse in 2012. 

Walsh was born in Auburn and maintains ties to central New York. In 2006, the city of Auburn named a road after the longtime "America's Most Wanted" host. 

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