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Ad wars heating up in Southern Tier congressional race

The Southern Tier race between Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, and Democrat John Plumb is expected to be one of many heated House races in the state, but it's heating up on the airwaves in the most polite of ways.

Plumb, a former military aide in the Obama White House, this week launched his first television advertisement. Called "Generations," it's a warm-hearted look at the place he grew up -- the Cattaraugus County town of Randolph -- along with a quick mention of his 22-year career as a U.S. Navy officer. Perhaps most notably, the ad features the candidate's parents, John and Marie Plumb, waving from the front lawn of the house where Plumb grew up.

Airing on stations throughout the sprawling 23rd Congressional District, the ad is the kind of standard-issue introductory ad that lesser-known candidates frequently use to open their air wars.

But Plumb's ad also appears aimed at showing he has roots in a district that he left when he joined the military. And it follows Reed's first two ads, which aim to make him look like a Southern Tier resident through and through.

The first, "The Return of Mary," shows Reed having a folksy conversation at a dining room table with his sister Mary, whom he has featured in previous campaigns. And the second, "Weekends," shows Reed tossing a football, carrying firewood into his home and holding town hall meetings throughout the district.

Federal Election Commission figures released a month ago show both Reed and Plumb to have more than enough money for their air wars. Reed, who is seeking his fourth full term, had raised $2.32 million and had $1.17 million left on hand as of June 30. Plumb, meanwhile, had raised $854,816 and had $556,393 on hand.


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