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U.S. Rep. John Katko launched his first television commercial of the 2018 campaign Thursday with a focus on his bipartisan record in Congress.

The ad, titled “Making a Difference,” will air on central New York broadcast and cable stations. The cost of the commercial wasn’t disclosed by Katko’s campaign, but a spokesperson said it was a “significant” ad buy.

The 30-second commercial features Katko, R-Camillus, recalling how he left his previous job as a federal prosecutor to run for Congress in 2014. In the ad, he said he left that position because he “wanted to make a difference.”

”What keeps me in this fight, despite all of the partisan bickering out there, is that I have a love for central New York that is deep in my heart,“ he added. 

Katko’s ad cites a report released by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy that ranked the Syracuse-area representative as the seventh-most bipartisan member of Congress. One reason for the high score is every bill Katko introduces has at least one Democratic cosponsor.

The report also recognized Katko’s support of legislation introduced by his Democratic colleagues. 

In his new commercial, Katko said he’s proud to of that distinction.

”That’s how I get things done — by working across the aisle,” he continued.

Katko will face Democratic challenger Dana Balter in the general election. Balter, D-Syracuse, has questioned whether the Republican incumbent is truly independent. She has highlighted some of his votes in the House, including his support for the tax overall passed by the GOP-led Congress last year.

The tax law received support from several Republicans, but wasn’t backed by any Democrats. 

But Katko believes that vote benefited his constituents. And he has defended his record, saying his bipartisan approach is better for the district than the “far-left” policies he claims Balter would promote. 

The television ad is the first of what will likely be many commercials released in the 24th Congressional District race. Candidates and outside groups have spent millions on this race in past elections, and Katko has more than $1.3 million in the bank. 

Balter, who is coming off a successful Democratic primary camapaign, had $101,000 in her campaign war chest. But that was before the June 26 election.

The 24th district includes all of Cayuga, Onondaga and Wayne counties, plus western Oswego County.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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