Thirty-three days before the primary election in the 24th Congressional District, Democratic candidate Francis Conole released his first television commercial — an ad that highlights his ties to central New York and military career.
The ad, titled "Just Like Me," will air on broadcast and cable stations in the Syracuse media market. There are references to Carrier's exit from central New York — Conole's father was laid off by the company — and his service as a naval officer. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and an Iraq War veteran.
While much of the commercial focuses on Conole's background, it also provides a brief look at the present. One Syracuse-area voter in the ad mentions that Conole has the support of Democratic groups in the 24th district. The Democratic committees in Cayuga and Onondaga counties endorsed Conole for Congress.
Conole doesn't appear in the ad until the 18-second mark. He's shown standing next to a Chevrolet pickup truck.
"I'm Francis Conole and I'm running for Congress to invest in our workers, help small businesses and rebuild our country," he says. "I approve this message because we have an urgent mission right here at home and I have always answered the call."
Conole is one of two Democrats seeking the party's nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko. Dana Balter, who was the Democratic nominee in 2018, is also in the race.
Balter, D-Syracuse, released her first TV ad of the 2020 campaign last week.
The 24th Congressional District is a top target for Democrats this year. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats' political arm, considers Katko one of the most vulnerable GOP members. Katko is one of two Republicans seeking reelection this year in districts that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election.
Absentee ballot applications have been sent to voters in the 24th district. The district includes all of Cayuga, Onondaga and Wayne counties, plus the western part of Oswego County. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is allowing voters to use the virus as an excuse for casting an absentee ballot.
Early voting begins June 13 and will run through June 21. The primary election day is Tuesday, June 23.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.
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