The Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that focuses on electing conservative Republicans to state offices across the nation, has launched its first TV ad in New York this election cycle, which targets Monroe County Legislator Ted O’Brien, the Democratic candidate for an open Rochester-area state Senate seat.

“This race is first because once voters understand Ted O’Brien’s history of wrong choices,” said the RSLC’s Matt Walter, who used to work for the Senate GOP here in Albany. “Their decision to make the right choice and vote for (Assemblyman) Sean Hanna will be easy.”

O’Brien, also the former Democratic Monroe County chairman, and Hanna are vying for the seat being vacated at the end of the year by GOP Sen. Jim Alesi. The 55th SD is a Democrat-dominated district. As of Aug. 31, there were 73,799 registered Democrats, 61,844 Republicans and 46,189 “blanks” as the small-i independents are known.

Here’s the script for the ad:

“Making the right choice can be hard. Just ask Ted O’Brien, candidate for state Senate.”

“For judge, there was a well qualified, highly recommended former law clerk and assistant attorney general. Ted was against her. But he did support a sitting judge rejected by the Monroe County Bar Association because of inappropriate sexual comments and sexual advances toward women. Ted defended him, saying: ‘Judges make enemies.’ Can we really trust Ted O’Brien to make the right choices in Albany.”

The judge in question was Monroe County Court Judge William Bristol, who I believe lost his seat on the bench in 2000. He reportedly followed a woman home back in 1999 after getting into a conflict with her on the road.

The RSLC also launched a website – – that reiterates its claims against O’Brien.

It’s interesting that the committee decided to get involved in this race first, and could be taken as a sign that the Republicans are more concerned about losing this seat than any other seat in the state. An open seat certainly is harder for the GOP to defend in a Democratic district in a presidential election year that’s expected to cause higher-than-usual Democratic turnout.

The Senate Republicans have a considerable fundraising edge over their Democratic counterparts, and if they keep getting outside help like this, they’ll have a lot more cash left over to invest in races where they’re trying to oust incumbent Democrats – like, say, Queens Sen. Joe Addabbo.

The RSLC was particularly invested in the 2010 cycle because it wanted to give Republicans the upper hand in the redistricting process – a process controlled at the state legislative level. Apparently, the 527 political committee remains committed to seeing the New York Senate remain in GOP hands even now that the redistricting process ended with a positive result for the Republicans.

UPDATE: O’Brien’s campaign manager Loren Amor just sent out the following statement:

“This ad continues Sean Hanna’s disturbing pattern of lies. The truth is Sean Hanna has been one of Albany’s most ardent anti-women legislators. He voted against strengthening sexual harassment safeguards, against pay equity for working women and against protections for women’s health.”

“Sean Hanna is running one of the dirtiest and most dishonest campaigns in recent memory in a desperate attempt to distract from his record of voting for one of the largest tax increases in Monroe County history, costing us jobs by supporting outsourcers and voting against raising the minimum wage.”

“Sean Hanna is out of touch and there is no place for his extreme conservatism in the State Senate. Ted O’Brien is the only candidate who voted against raising property taxes every time he had the chance, the only candidate with a real jobs plan and the only candidate that will stand up for the women of Monroe and Ontario Counties.”