Randolph-Macon economics professorRep. David Brat (R-VA) attributed his stunning victory over Majority LeaderEricCantor in Virginia in part to the negative ads that Cantor ran ontelevision, which he said boosted his name recognition.
Now, in New York, a similarlyoutgunnedprimary challenger says the same thing may be happening there.
New York Republican AssemblywomanClaudia Tenney says she is grateful that political attack ads byherCongressional primary opponent Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) greatlyboosted her name ID around the Upstate New York district. ThroughTVads and liberal Super PACs, Hanna, who currently has a 52 lifetimeACU rating, is attacking Tenney as a “tax and spend liberal” andas someone who is aligned with the liberal Democratic New YorkAssembly Speaker Sheldon (Shelly) Silver.
“The only place I’m not well knownis Courtland, Broome, and Tioga. That’s where I’m trying to buildname ID is down there, but Richard actually built my name ID. NowIhave to make it positive and get the vote out,” she told BreitbartNews on Saturday.
Tenney, who graduated ColgateUniversity with Monica Crowley, received the big endorsementsrecently from other Fox News Channel luminaires Sean Hannity andMichelle Malkin, Erick Erickson, and Laura Ingraham.
Tenney explained, “I have to counter[the attack ads]. So now that I’ve got Hannity and Laura Ingrahamand Michelle Malkin and some of the others have came out likeRedState.com‘s Erick Erickson–a whole bunch of them–so now [thevoters are thinking], ‘What’s going on? Who’s telling the truthhere?'”
“I have a TV ad that says I neverraised taxes. I’m the number one conservative in New York. I’vegot the endorsement of the Conservative Party and he’s got liberalPACs. So I just had to counter it, because people kept calling mesaying, ‘You’ve got to do something.'”
Tenney says Hanna’s attacks on her asa liberal lawmaker are absurd. Hanna claims that Tenney voted toraise New York sales and property taxes, for example, butaccordingto Tenney she is unable to raise sales and property taxes in theAssembly.
“They’ve been running an ad thatsays I’m a tax and spend liberal and that I’m in the tank forShelly Silver–that I raised sales tax and property taxes. We don’tdo sales and property taxes by the state. Those are localgovernments. [The ads] are just completely fraudulent. [The attack adssay] I’m with Shelly Silver and that I’m a liar. It just goes onand on like they did with David Brat.”
Tenney says Hanna’s ads take advantageof the sparse knowledge many have about how bills are moved fromlocal governments around the Empire state to the state capitol inAlbany.
“State government in New York is alot different than DC. We ratify local bills. If a village wantstouse lever voting machines in a local election, for example, wehaveto approve that. It’s a local bill,” she said. Noting theDemocratic majority (108 to 42) in the state’s lower chamber, sheremarked, “So every bill that comes out of the [assembly],obviously, Shelly votes yes on. It wouldn’t come out if it weren’ta yes vote, and out of a thousand bills, we do about 850 or 900 [that] are local bills and are non-substantive bills.”
Additionally, Tenney pointed out that she was the first Republican to call for Silver’s resignation as Speaker, when Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez was forced out of office after he was accused of groping and intimidating young female staffers in a 2012 sexual harassment scandal. The New York State GOP, local media, as well as a New York Democratic lawmaker called upon Silver to resign when evidence surfaced the NY Democratic Assembly Speaker appeared to cover up the scandal long before it surfaced. Silver, however, resisted and stayed in his position.
Similar to Virginia Republicancandidate for Congress David Brat’s campaign, Tenney’s camp ishelped by enthusiastic local Tea Party groups, Tenney says. Sheattended a number of Tea Party events in 2010 when Hanna ran forCongress a second time and won.
“At that time when I was at Tea Partyrallies, 90 percent of them were all Marines or veterans who careabout our Constitution–less government, less taxes. There weren’tall these peripheral issues. That’s what they were reallyinterested in, so I don’t know why the national Republicans… just completely maligned and denigrated their base.”
She went further, “Most of the coreTea Party people are not these wacky people. They’re just regularveterans.”
“So [the local Tea Party groups] havebeen really gangbusters helping me. They’re doing some fun stuff–like tomorrow we’re doing a RINO hunt. They’re having a blast.They love getting people out. They’re really excited. They’vebeen great. They’ve been really nice. They helped me get [petitionballot] signatures and making phone calls. They’re going door todoor. They’re very motivated, and they haven’t been motivated in awhile, because Richard just didn’t do anything for them.”
Although Tenney entered the GOPprimarymuch later than most candidates, an issue that some in the NY GOPthink may have hurt elevating her name ID, Tenney neverthelesscontinues forward with meet and greets as well as telephone townhalls.
“I did a town hall the day before.I’m just meeting people everywhere, and a lot of the time thepeopleat the meet and greets are Republican Committee people who aredisgusted with Richard, because they didn’t know what his recordwas.”
Tenney says GOP county chairmen aresupporting Hanna, however, and are “doubling down.” She said,supporting him. One guy told me, ‘If Obama was a registeredRepublican, [the NY County Chairmen] would be telling everyone tovote for Obama.'”
Tenney appears unconcerned about aMcLaughlin and Associates poll released in March showing Hannatrouncing her with over 70 percent of likely GOP voters supportinghim.
“If you look at that poll, they didn’trelease the rest of it. I got Mark Weiner to look it up. In thatpoll, 45 percent of the people were unaware of me, and thatwas a large reason for the low numbers,” said Tenney. “Last time,” she said, referring to the 2012 GOP primary,somuch advertising that’s going into it that wasn’t going into itbefore.”
Although Tenney continues to challengeHanna to a debate, the GOP Congressman refuses to not only faceherbut be near her at public events, Tenney said, noting he hascontinued an aggressive practice of maintaining several armslengthsfrom the Tea Party challenger.