NY-21 Democrats release first video ads ahead of Aug. 23 primary

The first locally focused television ads in the race for New York’s 21st Congressional District have hit the airwaves.

Released by Matt Castelli and Matthew Putorti, the two Democrats running for their party’s line against Rep. Elise Stefanik, the two 30-second ads from each candidate make no mention of their direct Democratic competition, focusing entirely on Rep. Stefanik and her record.

First came Castelli’s. On July 26, Castelli announced his advertisement, titled “Mission,” was hitting televisions across the district. In the video, he highlights his own history as a CIA officer.

“After 9/11, I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, hunting down the most dangerous terrorists,” he says in the ad. “But in Washington, politicians like Elise Stefanik put their own interests and party loyalty first. I’m running for Congress because now, my mission is to fight for you.”

Castelli lists broad goals he has spoken frequently about, including lowering prescription drug costs, strengthening the economy, and what he terms “health care freedom for women,” a phrase recently used by candidates to express support for abortion rights.

Castelli’s ad is running on cable and broadcast television and digital streaming platforms that include ads, but the campaign did not specify the length of time they’ll be on air.

Putorti’s first television ad came just days later, on July 29.

In his 30-second spot, Putorti calls Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, a “kiss ass” to former President Donald Trump.

Over images of the congresswoman speaking at the 2020 Republican National Convention and an unflattering, well-circulated photo of Trump playing tennis, Putorti highlights his own local bona fides, growing up in Whitehall, Washington County, in a family with deep roots in the village.

“I grew up in Whitehall, worked for our family grocery store, where we served others, not ourselves, learned to stand up to power, not weaponize it,” he said. “I’ll defend abortion rights, combat climate change and tackle inflation, and I’m the only candidate fighting to ban assault weapons.”

At the end of the 30-second ad, Putorti looks down the camera and pledges that he “won’t kiss Trump’s ass; I’ll look out for yours.”

In a press release, the Putorti campaign said it is spending a “six-figure” sum on this advertisement push, which will run until Aug. 23, the date of the Democratic primary election.

Castelli’s ads are likely to run a similar length of time. Registered Democrats in NY-21 can cast their ballots in this congressional race in person on Aug. 23. Early voting opened Saturday and will run until Aug. 21.


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