Singer Super-PAC Intervenes in Upstate N.Y. Primary

Billionaire Paul Singer’s super-political action committee is out with its first TV ad of the 2014 campaign.

Its target: New York Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who’s seeking to unseat two-term Rep. Richard Hanna in a June 24 primary in the state’s 22nd Congressional District, which includes Utica and Binghamton.

The ad from American Unity PAC says Tenney “sure doesn’t act like” a conservative on tax issues, pointing to votes against state budget bills this year and last year that included some tax relief.

The spot also says Tenney voted 83 percent of the time with Democratic Speaker Sheldon Silver, citing this 2012 report from the New York Public Interest Group. Tenney ranked 145th out of 150 Assembly members, so the analysis would have included noncontroversial votes in which most Assembly members voted together.

“Claudia Tenney: another Albany politician we can’t afford,” a narrator says in the ad, which first aired this morning on the ABC affiliate in Syracuse, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG.

Tenney, in a four-minute YouTube video, said she voted this year against “the Democratic machine-crafted budget that was not good for the citizens of upstate New York.” Here’s her statement explaining her “no” vote in 2013.

American Unity PAC is spending $500,000 to air the spot, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission. It also paid for mail pieces opposing Tenney.

The PAC organized in 2012 to encourage Republicans to support same-sex marriage. Hanna signed a legal brief last year in support of same-sex marriage.

Hanna’s supporters include the Republican Main Street Partnership, which promotes centrism and compromise. He had $584,000 in his campaign account at the end of March. Tenney hasn’t filed her first fundraising report because she entered the race in early April, after the first quarter ended.

Singer, who leads the investment firm Elliott Management, donated $1.75 million to the super-PAC in January and is a top donor to other Republican super-PACs. Seth Klarman, who leads the Boston-based hedge-fund Baupost Group LLC, gave $1 million to American Unity PAC in March, FEC documents show.

No Democrat is running in New York’s 22nd District.

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