Spilka launches paid Web advertisement

In a sign the race for the Fifth Congressional District seat is heating up less than five weeks before the Oct. 15 special primary election, State Senator Karen Spilka today began a Web ad campaign promoting a video that portrays her as a fighter for the average person in the face of big business.

Spilka campaign manager Eric Hyers said the new effort, the campaign’s first paid media push, is backed by at least $10,000 on targeted websites.

Spilka is one of seven Democratic candidates vying to succeed Edward J. Markey in Congress.

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The one-minute video tells the story of John Crowley , who lost his wife, Jenny, to breast cancer soon after she gave birth to their child.

“Our life insurance company refused to pay,” he says, speaking to the camera. A graphic in the video explains the insurer “exploited a loophole in Massachusetts law to deny payment.”

Crowley says he asked Spilka for help. Spilka, speaking to the camera, says, “I fought the life insurance companies.”

“We passed the law, we changed the law,” she says. “And no family will ever have to go through what John’s family suffered.”

The video had been released earlier this month to supporters, but is now part of a paid campaign.

The six other Democrats who will be on the primary ballot next month are: Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian of Waltham; state Representative Carl M. Sciortino of Medford; state Senators Will Brownsberger of Belmont and Katherine Clark of Melrose; Martin Long, an Arlington author; and Stoneham resident Paul John Maisano, who works in the construction industry.

The Fifth District tilts heavily Democratic, so the winner of the party’s primary will be the favorite to win the Dec. 10 special general election.

Three Republicans are also running in the GOP primary. They are: Harvard nanophysics researcher Mike Stopa of Holliston; businessman and lawyer Frank J. Addivinola Jr. of Boston; and actuary Tom Tierney of Framingham.