A Washington political action committee that spent $400,000 on Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul's special election campaign in 2011 is committing more than $500,000 to her race against Republican Chris Collins with new ads beginning today.
House Majority PAC, a super PAC that can raise money with far fewer restrictions than individual campaigns, is launching television spots in Buffalo, accusing Collins of giving jobs to friends, awarding a contract to one of his companies while county executive, and creating jobs in Korea and China by locating manufacturing facilities there.
"One thing's clear from Chris Collins' record: he knows how to look out for his own bottom line at the expense of Western New York," said Alixandria Lapp, executive director of House Majority PAC.
A Buffalo News analysis of similar ads sponsored directly by the Hochul campaign found the claim misleading in some respects. While true that a company he started - Ingenious Products - manufactures some of its products in China, The News found that the products were already being manufactured there before his investment. A Collins spokesman also said the former county executive's companies have never outsourced jobs to China.
Collins campaign adviser Christopher M. Grant blamed what he called the distortions of the ad on Hochul, though her campaign is not connected.
"For politicians like Kathy Hochul - who have never created a job anywhere, ever, and have been in the hip pocket of Barack Obama - lies and distortions are the only weapon they have left," he said. "But voters in the 27th District see right through these false ads, and know that Chris Collins has created hundreds of jobs for Western New York families - and they want to put that record to work for them in Washington."
Washington groups including the National Republican Congressional Committee have sponsored $575,000 worth of television ads for Collins in recent weeks, but the new expenditure on behalf of Hochul is significant because it shows the resolve of outside Democratic groups to get involved in what they consider a close race.
"It's an incredibly competitive race," said House Majority PAC spokesman Andy Stone, "and the Republicans have made no secret they plan to pour in a lot of money."
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, counterpart to the NRCC, has not yet launched any Hochul ads this year. Sources indicated, however, that House Majority PAC spent more money on Hochul's behalf last year than DCCC.
Stone cited a recent Siena College poll sponsored by The Buffalo News and WGRZ-TV indicating a race within the margin of error.
Stone said while the PAC so far has launched its new ad only in Buffalo, it also plans to reserve time for it in Rochester.