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Lhota TV ad highlights his socially liberal side

Republican mayoral nominee Joe Lhota campaigns on Main

Republican mayoral nominee Joe Lhota campaigns on Main Street in Flushing. (Sept. 24, 2013) Credit: Charles Eckert

Republican mayoral contender Joe Lhota's first television ad of the general election portrays him as having the same socially liberal stances as Democratic rival Bill de Blasio, but contrasting fiscal views.

The 31-second spot opens by stating that both candidates support abortion rights, same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana. It then highlights their differences.

"De Blasio wants to raise taxes and supports reckless government spending," a male narrator says. "Lhota wants to cut wasteful government spending, putting more money back in your pocket."

The ad -- produced in English and Spanish and set to air beginning Thursday -- ends with Lhota greeting New Yorkers and a voice-over that says: "Democrats agree. . . . Joe Lhota is New York." Lhota doesn't speak in the ad.

Ad creator Steve Grand, of Alexandria, Va.-based Wilson Grand Communications, said the spot is aimed at Democrats as well as Republicans.

"I don't think very many people paid attention to the primary," he said. "This is a chance to start introducing Joe to the whole electorate."

Lhota spokeswoman Jessica Proud would not reveal the exact cost of the ad, saying only it was "a significant six-figure buy."

Lhota, who says he's a "New York Republican," has tried to distance himself from party conservatives, while de Blasio has attempted to link him to that faction of the GOP.

In an email to reporters Wednesday, the de Blasio campaign compared Lhota to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.

Before visiting an after-school program in Red Hook Wednesday, de Blasio said: "You can't be a Republican bystander. You can't say, you know, I'm an innocent liberal Republican and all those other things happened." "If you're a member of the Republican Party, you're buying into the whole idea."


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