US Representative Edward J. Markey plans to launch the first television ad of the Senate general election campaign on Wednesday, a 30-second spot highlighting his work on telecommunications policy.
The ad credits Markey, running for the seat against private equity investor Gabriel E. Gomez, for his work on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which encouraged cable companies to establish broadband networks.
“It’s hard to believe. But 20 years ago, almost no one had broadband. Smart phones hadn’t been invented yet,” Markey tells the viewer, from the screen of a smartphone. “Facebook? Skype? Google? The stuff of science fiction.”
The screen then cuts to Diane Hessan, chief executive officer of Communispace, which bills itself as a Boston-based consumer collaboration agency. “Then Ed Markey fought to break up monopolies and transform the telecom industry.”
Gomez has criticized Markey for not discussing jobs and the economy, as Markey has spent much of the week since the two won their parties’ nominations publicly urging Gomez to sign a campaign finance pledge designed to discourage ads paid for by outside groups.
Part of Gomez’s appeal has been his relative youth. At 47, the former Navy SEAL presents a bright contrast to the 66-year-old Markey, who has been in Congress since 1976.
The ad appears tailored in part to blunt that dynamic, presenting Markey as responsible for a wave of social media and job-creating new technologies.
His work on the bill triggered criticism during Markey’s Democratic primary with US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, who pointed out that broadband is still limited in parts of Massachusetts and mocked Markey’s claims of targeting monopolies. Lynch said that the market for services had instead forced scant options on consumers.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, too, has criticized Markey for what it called his outsize claims of responsibility for technological advances.
According to a campaign aide, the ad will run on broadcast and cable TV in the Boston market. The aide would not discuss details of how much the campaign is paying to air the ad or how long it will run.
Gomez’s campaign declined to discuss when it intends to launch TV ads.
Markey came under attack over the weekend for an online video highlighting Gomez’s work on behalf of an outside group that criticized President Obama during last year’s presidential campaign for administration leaks after the killing of Osama bin Laden. The spot showed Gomez and bin Laden in a split-screen shot. Gomez ripped the ad as “despicable.”
Markey and Gomez are running for the seat vacated when John F. Kerry became secretary of state. The election is June 25.