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Politics Notebook: Martinez fires up first TV ad for re-election

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The dreaded political TV commercials are back.

Gov. Susana Martinez on Tuesday launched the first TV ad of the 2014 governor’s race, touting her credentials to voters while hinting to her opponents that she has a multimillion-dollar campaign war chest ready to spend with seven months until the November general election.

Meanwhile, Martinez’s five Democratic opponents are focusing their attention on a June 3 primary election deciding the nominee to face the Republican governor in November. None of the Democrats has begun airing campaign ads on broadcast TV yet and instead have focused attention on raising money and building campaign organizations.

Martinez’s first commercial, airing on broadcast and cable channels in New Mexico, highlights Martinez’s distinction as the nation’s first female Hispanic governor. The ad also credits Martinez with fixing the state’s budget deficit, cutting taxes and improving schools.

“There’s more to do, but I believe in New Mexico, and that tomorrow will be better than today,” Martinez says in the ad.

Martinez also counters speculation that she is interested in national office, saying in the ad that “Being governor has never been about making a name for myself; it’s about making a difference in the lives of New Mexicans.”

Earlier this week, Martinez’s campaign got a fundraising hand up from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The tea party favorite asked supporters to donate to Martinez and praised her recent effort to stop union collection of dues through state paycheck withdrawals.

Lara’s Haul: Democrats appear to be more invested in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District race this year.

Roxanne “Rocky” Lara, the Democratic nominee to challenge 5-term Republican Rep. Steve Pearce, reported raising more than $300,000 for her campaign since the beginning of the year. That haul brings Lara’s cash total to about $440,000 as of March 31, according to her campaign.

That first-quarter fundraising is more than three times the $85,000 raised over the entire 2012 election cycle by the district’s Democratic nominee at the time, Evelyn Madrid Erhard. Lara’s fundraising also more than doubles the $132,000 former Rep. Harry Teague raised in the first quarter of the 2010 election.

After Lara’s fundraising announcement Tuesday, Pearce’s campaign reported the congressman had raised $360,000 during the first quarter, bringing his cash on hand to $1.4 million. Pearce’s reported first-quarter fundraising outpaces his 2012 first-quarter total of $209,000.

First-quarter campaign finance reports for federal candidates will be officially reported to the FEC on April 15.

Contact James Monteleone at jmonteleone@abqjournal.com.

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