Kathy Szeliga airs first ad in GOP Senate primary race

Motorcycle-riding Szeliga criticizes Washington in first GOP Senate ad.

Republican Senate candidate Kathy Szeliga will begin airing her first television advertisement this weekend, an energetic introductory spot in which the state lawmaker rides a motorcycle, touts her status as a grandmother and criticizes Washington.

"Washington is broken," Szeliga, the House Minority Whip says to the camera. "Career politicians and D.C. insiders, they're just not going to fix it."

The ad -- the first from any of the GOP candidates in Maryland -- name checks Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and touts Republican efforts in Annapolis to roll back the "rain tax" and lower tolls. About halfway through the ad, Szeliga hops on a motorcycle and takes a spin.

"It's only 52 miles from my house to D.C.," Szeliga says, "but can you think of a place that needs more change?"

Szeliga's campaign did not detail the extent of its investment, but public FCC files indicate she has purchased broadcast airtime on Baltimore's major networks and has committed roughly $100,000. That figure may not represent the full extent of the buy.

The ad will begin airing on Saturday, a campaign aide said. 

Szeliga is running in a crowded, 14-candidate race for the Republican nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski -- and her ability to be on television will likely elevate her status. Though the GOP will face an uphill fight in the general election in deep blue Maryland, Republicans point to Hogan's win in 2014 as proof that a Republican can win statewide.

Hogan has not endorsed in the race.

Public polling from The Baltimore Sun-University of Baltimore and The Washington Post-University of Maryland has shown Szeliga with a small lead in the race. Both of those polls also indicate that a vast majority of GOP voters in the state have not chosen a candidate.

The primary is April 26.

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