The NY GOP congressional primary in the 22nd district is getting nastier. On Monday morning, NY Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney’s campaign received notice that TV stations in the 22nd district were sent a cease and desist order from Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)’s campaign lawyer demanding the stations pull her ads.
According to a Tenney press release:
“A cease and desist order was issued from the Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) for Congress campaign team to many of the local televisions stations including WKTV, WBNG, WUTR who were running our current “To Tell The Truth” campaign ad. The order was given over alleged minute technical issues. For example, in the closing of the ad, the image of Claudia Tenney was not 80% of the vertical screen, the ‘T’ in her name was crowding her image. To correct it, our media company moved the ‘T’.”
“The To Tell the Truth” ad is using the same closing tag as our previous tv ads that we ran earlier in the month. I find it hard to believe the concern was more about the size of my image on the screen than it was to prevent me from running the ad,” said Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. “Considering we have used the tag in our previous ad and were never contacted about the image until 11:00 am today, one day before the primary.”
“The timing of the cease and desist order is also troublesome. We have been running the “To Tell The Truth” ad for five days and here at the eleventh hour, when it could have been impossible for my media company to make the changes, we receive the cease and desist order. Fortunately my media company reached out to the local stations and made the minute changes to the ad. The attempt to silence our message was not successful.”
Tenney told Breitbart News on Monday night, “They were saying my image where this is contained should be 80 percent of the photo. That sounds like crap to me. It doesn’t take up 80 percent of the field, but you don’t have to provide an image to have a paid for [campaign ad].”
“So they were trying also trying to stop the radio stations from [airing the ads]. We had to go back in and go through the bureaucracy of trying to get it back up. It was like a deliberate attempt to try and cut us off through a technicality. We went back and changed it but it doesn’t make any difference,” she said.
Tenney explained that Hanna’s campaign legal counsel said, “‘Well you have to say it’s paid for by Claudia Tenney too.’ But the proper name of the campaign committee is Tenney for Congress not Claudia Tenney. And I already said [in the ad], ‘I’m Claudia Tenney and I approve this message.’ And it said paid for by Tenney for Congress.”
During his 2012 campaign, Hanna threatened local broadcast stations to pull his opponent’s ad or he’d pull his advertising from the stattion. In 2012, The Huffington Post reported:
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) (R-N.Y.) allegedly called an executive at a local TV station earlier this week and threatened to pull his advertising if the station televised a debate in which the congressman refused to participate, according to an email sent by the executive which described the call with Hanna, later obtained by The Huffington Post.
Dan Lamb, Hanna’s Democratic challenger for the newly drawn 22nd District in central New York, was prepared to take the stage by himself Friday for the taping of a 30-minute question and answer session, but the coverage was canceled after an “angry” Hanna contacted the station, according to the email by the executive, Stephen Merren, vice president and general manager of WUTR-TV in Utica, N.Y.
The Oct. 3 email was addressed to three staffers at WSYR; the news director of WUTR; the co-chief operating officer of Nexstar Broadcasting, which operates WUTR; and Lamb spokesman Mike Morosi, who sent the email to The Huffington Post. Merren said Thursday that Morosi was accidentally included as a recipient of the email, according to the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin.
WUTR-TV had planned to co-host the debate with Syracuse’s WSYR-TV, Merren wrote in the email.
“[Hanna] indicated to me that we would not be considered for his ad dollars and our level of cooperation in the future could be affected,” Merren wrote.
Lamb told The Huffington Post, “My opponent has been caught coercing a television station.”
The Tenney camp managed to make changes to the ads Monday afternoon and stations began airing them again.