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Upstate cable TV system pulls Cuomo ad after Astorino's legal threat (Updated)

Republican challenger Rob Astorino, left, and Gov. Andrew

Republican challenger Rob Astorino, left, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat. Photo Credit: AP

(Updates with Cuomo campaign comment.)

ALBANY -- An upstate New York cable TV system in a rare move has withdrawn a negative campaign ad by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo after Republican challenger Rob Astorino threatened legal action.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Castle Cable TV advertising manager John Murphy said in an interview. “It was pretty scary when we first got it.”

He said no judgment was made on Cuomo’s ad. The decision was based on avoiding legal action, he said.

"We urge other stations to do the right thing and pull the ad from their airwaves as well,” said Astorino spokeswoman Jessica Proud. "Governor Cuomo is running the nastiest campaign in probably the history of New York.”

Castle Cable, based in Watertown, pulled the ad Tuesday after receiving one of Astorino’s letters threatening legal action. Astorino, a former broadcaster, said the ad violates federal rules governing fair comment.

"Astorino doesn’t like the facts in the ad so he’s using legal threats to bully TV stations and silence the media," said Cuomo campaign spokesman Peter E. Kauffmann.

The TV ad accuses Astorino of being corrupt based on complaints made against him as Westchester County executive. The complaints haven’t been resolved and Astorino faces no charges. Astorino said the complaints are by political adversaries and are designed to be used against him in the campaign.

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