Nassau District Attorney candidates Madeline Singas, a Democrat, and Republican Kate Murray have started airing their first campaign ads leading up to the November general election -- each trying to position themselves as tough on crime and aggressive in addressing Long Island's growing heroin problem.
In the ads, while Murray touts her experience as Hempstead Town Supervisor and as a former state assemblywoman, Singas, who has served as acting district attorney since January, bills herself as "not a politician" but a seasoned prosecutor seeking the county's top legal post.
Murray has released two 30-second commercials in the past two weeks, while Singas released her first ad on Tuesday.
In one of Murray's ads, which has aired on TV but is not available online, she bills herself as a "a crime fighter, a tax fighter ... a proven leader for district attorney" who has "supported tougher penalties for convicted sex offenders."
Singas' campaign took aim at the ad, calling some of Murray's claims about her legal experience an attempt to "distort her career and qualifications," including Murray saying she started her career "as an advocate for battered women and their children" referring to her work for a domestic violence organization while a student at Suffolk University Law School.
Singas campaign contends Murray's role with the Suffolk University Battered Women's project was "a law school extracurricular activity."
"She was never an employee of the project and claiming she 'started her career' advocating for domestic violence victims is a gross exaggeration," Singas' campaign said in a statement.
Murray Spokesman Bill Corbett responded by saying Singas should focus on Nassau's "staggering heroin epidemic" rather than "attacking Kate Murray."
"Perhaps this glaring lack of leadership and vision accounts for the fact that Nassau and Suffolk's countywide police unions are all supporting Kate Murray," Corbett said in an e-mail
Singas' first commercial highlights her legal experience, saying she has put "two decades of courtroom experience to work for Nassau County bringing murderers and rapist to justice, battling drugs violence and corruption."
"I believe Nassau residents want a tough, aggressive prosecutor keeping their families safe, not a career politician like Kate Murray who has never practiced criminal law a day in her life," Singas said in a news release Tuesday announcing the ad.
Singas' campaign did not disclose how much it has spent to air the ads, only saying "it was a six-figure ad buy."
Murray's second commercial, draws on her Levittown roots and close relationship with her late father Norman Murray, a World War II vet, and former FBI agent.
As Murray holds a black-and-white photo of her father, she describes him as someone "who
kept families like yours and mine safe" and who "inspired" her career in public service.