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John Katko Highlights Synthetic Drug Issue in New TV Ad

New York Republican is up for re-election in a district that backed Clinton

The campaign of Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., has stressed his work to combat the opioid epidemic. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
The campaign of Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., has stressed his work to combat the opioid epidemic. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. John Katko is often listed among the Republican incumbents who could withstand a blue wave because he connects with his district and localizes his campaigns. And his new television ad is the latest example of that strategy.

Katko is launching an ad titled “Makes Things Happen,” featuring Teresa Woolson, whose 19-year-old son died after using synthetic marijuana. Woolson launched a foundation in her son’s honor and was Katko’s guest to the State of the Union this year.

“I don’t want others to go through what I went through,” Woolson says in the 60-second spot shared first with Roll Call. “As a mother, it’s important to have people like John Katko in office, fighting for the issues that are important. He’s just real and open.”

Woolson goes on to discuss how Katko is “part of the solution” in Congress and is someone who listens to his constituents in the Syracuse-anchored 24th District.

“I’m a registered Democrat, and I’m going to support John Katko,” Woolson says. “He takes on the issues, and he makes things happen.”

The spot is part of a six-figure buy and launches Wednesday. It will run across the district on broadcast and cable networks, as well as online, according to a source with knowledge of the buy. The ad was produced by Katko consultant Bob Honold, a National Republican Congressional Committee veteran.

Katko also highlighted his work to combat the opioid epidemic during his 2016 campaign, which helped him win re-election by 20 points while Hillary Clinton was carrying his central New York district by 4 points. 

This cycle, Democrats are once again targeting the two-term incumbent and picked college professor and activist Dana Balter to take him on, after local and national Democrats openly split over their preferred nominee

Katko has a significant financial advantage in the race with $1.6 million on hand as of June 30 to Balter’s $113,000. But the Democrat could see a fundraising boost since being added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” list for strong challengers this month. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican.

From the Archives: Fundraising Reports Say a Lot About a Campaign

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