Republican attorney general hopeful John Cahill is hitting the airwaves with his first TV ad, in which he links his Democratic opponent, AG Eric Schneiderman, to the failed Moreland Commission and pledges to be “tough enough” to clean up corruption in Albany.

“John Cahill is Ironman tough and is exactly the kind of Attorney General that New Yorkers need to finally break the lock of corruption on state government,” said Cahill’s campaign spokesman Dave Catalfamo. “His ethical, active and independent approach to the AG’s office, offers voters a clear and compelling alternative to the complicit, lackadaisical, incompetent administration of Eric Schneiderman – this ad tells that story.”

The ad is scheduled to start running statewide tomorrow and will continue for two weeks (including over the Labor Day weekend), and the buy is about $750,000, according to Cahill’s campaign. That’s a sizable chunk of the money Cahill has raised to date; as of the July 15th filing with the state Board of Elections, he had $968,689 on hand.

This is actually the first spot from either candidate. Schneiderman, who has vastly out-paced Cahill in fund-raising, has reserved some $2 million worth of air time during the last few weeks before the Nov. 4 election. Buying so far in advance means Schneiderman not only received a discount, but also was able to snap up good time slots at a moment when voters are likely to be paying more attention to the race than they are in the middle of August.

Cahill’s ad also comes as yet another poll – from Quinnipiac this morning – shows that Schneiderman continues to be over 50 percent mark in his reelection bid, leading Cahill 51-29.

Voters approve 51-22 percent of the job Schneiderman is doing, and 44 percent say he deserves re-election. Forty-eight percent of voters said they don’t know enough about Schneiderman to have an opinion of him, despite the fact that he has been a statewide elected official for almost four years. But 72 percent don’t know Cahill, a former top Pataki administration aide, which explains why he’s spending money now in hopes of raising his name recognition and defining himself before Schneiderman and his allies do it for him.

Cahill’s ad doesn’t mention anything about his party affiliation, and it steers clear of any social issues – though it does mention his work to increase preserved open space in New York. Schneiderman’s camp has been hammering on Cahill over the abortion rights issue (he’s pro-life), trying to paint him as too conservative to represent Democrat-dominated New York.

This ad also refers to “Eric Schneiderman’s ethics commission,” which is a reference to the now-defunct corruption-busting Moreland Commission created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. To call is the AG’s commission is really a stretch, though he did deputize the commission’s members – at the governor’s request – to give them the power to investigate outside the executive branch (in other words, to target the Legislature), and also provide top staffers to assist the commission with its work.

Schneiderman has made it clear he’s cooperating with US Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation of the Moreland Commission’s demise, but he has declined to comment beyond that. Cahill has been slamming the AG for his silence, insisting he has to come clean about what he knew of the Cuomo administration’s interference with the commission’s efforts and why he didn’t blow the whistle on that.

So far, efforts by the Republicans – including Cahill – to tar their Democratic opponents with the Moreland mess hasn’t borne much fruit. Today’s Q poll reiterates the findings of previous polls, indicating that while voters believe Cuomo should have stayed out of the commission’s way and is perhaps contributing to the corruption problem in Albany, that’s not enough to tank their support of him – or Schneiderman, for that matter.

Here’s the script from Cahill’s ad:

“A lot of people call me tough.

I served as Governor Pataki’s right hand in rebuilding Ground Zero. I helped lead the battle to preserve over a million acres of open space… and we won. As Attorney General, I’ll enforce the law and expose the corruption that cripples state government.

When Eric Schneiderman’s ethics commission began investigating his own contributors, it was shut down. Cleaning up Albany starts with a new Attorney General who’s tough enough to clean out corruption.

I’m John Cahill.”

Updated: The Schneiderman campaign weighs in.

“It’s never a good sign when a campaign is forced to squander all its money on air time in August. It must be tough to see Cahill’s paltry poll numbers, so it’s not surprising he’s resorting to a Hail Mary move so early in his campaign,” said campaign spokesman Peter Ajemian. “This ad is the latest example of Cahill running from his own record as an oil and gas industry lobbyist whose views are too extreme for New York.”