heaneytrumpThe conventional wisdom for Republicans running in down-ballot races this year has been this: Donald Trump, the GOP standard bearer this fall, should be kept at a distance given his inflammatory rhetoric aimed at women, Mexicans and Muslims.

Not so for businessman Andrew Heaney, who is locked in a heated Republican primary battle for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley.

Instead of running away from Trump, he’s embracing him.

Heaney in a TV ad released this week linked himself to Trump, simultaneously attempting to catch some of the populist wave Trump is generating and knocking his GOP opponent, John Faso, a former state Assembly minority leader and lobbyist.

In doing so, Heaney appears to be banking on the establishment being a far more toxic label than being dubbed a Trump Republican.

“John Faso’s friends made the same attacks against Donald Trump,” the ad’s narrator says.

The video then turns to a split screen of Heaney and Trump.

“That’s because Donald Trump and I represent everything that John Faso and his cronies hate,” Heaney says while stadning next to a picture of Trump. “We won’t take special interest money and we can’t be bought.”

The 19th congressional district could be an interesting laboratory for Republicans reckoning with Trump as the presumptive nominee. Trump today receive the needed delegates to clinch the nomination.

The district has been represented for the last three terms by Rep. Chris Gibson, a moderate Republican who had expressed unease with Trump’s candidacy.

At the same time, Gibson was able to successfully win re-election by comfortable margins to a district that voted for President Obama in 2012 (the district was reshaped during that year’s congressional redistricting).

Still, Trump carried virtually every county in the New York Republican presidential primary last month, including those in the 19th congressional district.

And Heaney may have his eye on the general election, too, should Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout be his opponent. Teachout, a supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign, faces Livingston Deputy Supervisor Will Yandik in a primary.

Heaney has made the argument he’s better equipped to take on a political outsider like Teachout in an election year in which outsiders have flourished.