2 Pittsburgh TV stations using anti-Sestak ads again

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WASHINGTON -- Two Pittsburgh-area television stations have put ads attacking Senate candidate Rep. Joe Sestak back on the air after yanking them earlier this week.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce had bought the ad time on 21 stations across Pennsylvania, but the Sestak campaign protested as inaccurate the portions of the spot in which the organization accuses Mr. Sestak of voting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., 100 percent of the time.

WPGH and WPMY, sister stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, pulled the ads from the air for a day, but reversed course today, said Bill Miller, the Chamber's senior vice president of political affairs.

Once the business group contacted the stations to explain the claims, the ad was reinstated, Mr. Miller said. Arguing that the ad was false, the Sestak campaign cited a recent vote against an amendment on the DISCLOSE Act -- a bill to restrict campaign financing -- as evidence that Mr. Sestak is not always in line with the Ms. Pelosi, and thus claiming the ad is false.

According to a Washington Post votes database, Mr. Sestak has been on the side of Ms. Pelosi 97.8 percent of the time during this Congress. Mr. Miller said Mr. Sestak votes the leadership line every time on "votes of substance" -- including the final version of the DISCLOSE Act.

Mr. Miller called the flap "one of the most ludicrous attempts to try to stifle our ability and our First Amendment rights to inform the people of Pennsylvania."

The campaign of Mr. Sestak's opponent, Republican former Congressman Pat Toomey, cheered the news in a statement.

"There's a good reason why all of the television stations aren't buying Joe Sestak's laughable complaint," Toomey spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik said. "It's because it simply isn't true. Over his 3 1/2 years in Congress, Joe Sestak has marched in lockstep with liberal Nancy Pelosi, voting for all the major elements of her leftwing agenda, from serial bailouts, to government-run health care, to a cap-and-trade energy tax, to ballooning deficits, to billions of dollars in new tax increases. No wonder Congressman Sestak doesn't want Pennsylvanians to see the ad."

Daniel Malloy can be reached at dmalloy@post-gazette.com or 202-445-9980. Follow him on Twitter at PG_in_DC.


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