Newest Cicilline TV ad hits back at GOP on his legal career

The air war continues in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.

Democratic Congressman David Cicilline debuted a new television commercial on Tuesday morning called “Outrageous” that pushes back on charges his Republican challenger Brendan Doherty made in the tough “No Surprises” spot that began running last week. Cicilline’s new ad was apparently finished in the last 24 hours: it quotes a Monday Roll Call article saying “Republicans have gone nuclear on Rep. David Cicilline.”

“When it’s time to push that button, we’ve seen campaigns take one of two tactics: a testimonial from a sexual assault victim criticizing the opposition candidate, or, as in this case, both Republican and Democratic candidates have accused each other of harboring sympathies for pedophiles,” Roll Call’s Abby Livingston wrote in an analysis of Doherty’s latest ad.

A Republican source said Cicilline’s campaign is spending $162,000 on TV commercial time from Tuesday through Sunday. Cicilline’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the record. The new ad is a coordinated buy partly paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In an email to supporters Tuesday, Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers blasted the Republican attacks as “vile.” He also said the company raised significantly more in recent days than the $40,000 goal set by Cicilline in an email appeal he sent supporters last week.

Doherty has reserved $202,000 in TV advertising time for the final two weeks of the race, but campaign manager Ian Prior said last week Doherty will increase that if the Republican beats his fundraising goals. Federal filings show the National Right to Life PAC spent $3,544 on a mailer backing Doherty.

A WPRI 12 poll last month showed Cicilline at 44%, followed by Doherty at 38% and independent David Vogel at 6%, with 10% of voters still undecided. Doherty had more than twice as much cash as Cicilline on Sept. 30. The candidates debated live for the first time a week ago on WPRI 12.

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