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4th CD: Blakeman's new ad goes after Rice for 'priorities'

The congressional candidates in New York's 4th Congressional

The congressional candidates in New York's 4th Congressional District are Democrat Kathleen Rice and Republican Bruce Blakeman. Credit: James Escher; Mike Stobe

Republican congressional candidate Bruce Blakeman’s latest campaign ad takes aim at his Democratic opponent, Kathleen Rice, for highlighting texting while driving as a critical issue in her first television spot.

Blakeman’s new ad, titled “Priorities,” attempts to contrast Rice’s ad focusing on traffic safety with his focus on national security and job creation through “cutting taxes and regulation.”

“Replace and repeal Obamacare [the Affordable Care Act] with a plan that works for everyone.  And secure our borders.  And to give our military what they need to stop ISIS or anyone who threatens America,” Blakeman says in the ad, standing in and outside of a local restaurant. “My opponent…she thinks your biggest problem is texting.”

Blakeman, a former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, and Rice, the Nassau district attorney, are vying to succeed retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) in the 4th District.

Rice’s first ad, released last month, touts that she kept her promise as DA to crack down on drunken driving, and pledges to do the same in Congress for texting and driving.

But Blakeman’s campaign argues that the issue is largely a local one – Rice is now going after it as DA – and says that his legislative experience gives him an edge to immediately go to Washington and handle more-pressing federal issues related to the economy.

“These are unprecedented challenges facing America like flat wages, higher prices and too few full-time jobs,” Blakeman said in a statement.

The Blakeman team compared Rice’s use of texting while driving in her federal campaign with her 2010 state attorney general bid’s focus on laws against luring a child over the Internet. An Albany Times-Union editorial at the time accused the Rice campaign of not knowing that such a law had already been passed, but Rice said she was simply asking for a stronger, more effective version of the law.

Rice spokesman Eric Phillips on Wednesday replied to Blakeman’s new ad by saying Blakeman "spent six months mindlessly chanting about Obamacare, while Kathleen’s led every policy conversation on smart healthcare reform, jobs, taxes, education, veterans, immigration, and our environment.

"And, yes, Kathleen's also got the vision to talk about a texting-while-driving problem that Congress can play a role in combating, just as it did 15 years ago on DWI," Phillips added. "We certainly appreciate Blakeman calling more attention to her ideas. We’re only wondering if we have to count his ad as an in-kind contribution to our campaign."

Blakeman’s campaign said the ad will run on various Cablevision and FiOS stations. They did not immediately disclose the size of the ad buy. It is Blakeman’s third ad of the general election campaign. Rice has released two, the latest focused on college affordability.

Meanwhile Wednesday, Rice’s campaign announced that it was being endorsed by the Republican mayor of the Village of Bellerose.

Henry Schreiber, who has held office in the roughly 2,000-population village since 2011, said in a statement released by the Rice campaign that “We don’t share the same party affiliation, but we do share the same priority: solving problems for the people we serve. That’s what government is all about, and Kathleen understands that.”

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