What’s expected to be a hotly contested Republican primary in New York state’s 27th Congressional District is already getting some outside attention.
A major conservative super PAC called Club for Growth spent $7,751 on air time this week on Buffalo political talk radio station WBEN and another $24,000 on cable ads to air on Fox News. The commercials portrayed Republican front-runner Chris Jacobs a RINO (Republican in Name Only), and said he does not back President Donald Trump.
Jacobs defended his conservative record and pointed out Club for Growth actually campaigned against Trump last election cycle.
“This false attack has already been disproven, but it is rich that the very same special interest group of career politicians and D.C. lobbyists who led the never-Trump movement is now attacking me for being insufficiently supportive of our president. Another sad example of why the swamp must be drained, but D.C. insiders won’t choose the next member of Congress from Western New York, that decision will be made by Western New Yorkers,” he said of the ad.
This comes a day after Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia officially announced he would not run for the seat. Club for Growth made the ad buy on Friday and it is unclear if the group was anticipating Bellavia’s departure from the fray.
The super PAC was reportedly considering backing Bellavia but said it never interviewed him because he was on active duty for much of the lead up to the decision.
However, current Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said he has interviewed with Club for Growth and will make a final decision on whether to run in the next few days.
"We're going to meet with the family, talk to my wife Ashley and then we'll make a decision in the next few days in whether not we're throwing our hat in the ring in the race for NY-27," he said.
Mychajliw was waiting on Bellavia’s decision. Jacobs has reported already raising more than $1 million although political observers expect Club for Growth could spend significant resources opposing him as well.
"Club for Growth could actually outspend all the money that Chris Jacobs supposedly has so we've said all along, money's not going to matter in this race," Mychajliw said.
Club for Growth said it has interviewed Parlato as well.
“We cannot control what these outside groups do but it’s common knowledge that the Club for Growth doesn’t like liberal republicans. I am the political outsider and I am confident that when the voters compare my record up against my opponents’ they will see that I am the true conservative," Parlato said.