ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Candidates for governor on both sides of the political coin launched a new round of TV campaign ads on Wednesday.
Democratic candidate Alan Webber, a Santa Fe entrepreneur, unveiled his first ad of the election season, and it doesn’t pull any punches. Webber, in the ad, attacks Republican Gov. Susana Martinez as beholden to the Koch brothers, conservative billionaire Republican businessmen from Kansas who have contributed millions to help elect Republican candidates to state and federal offices around the U.S.
Calling the Koch brothers “out-of-state billionaires looking to spread their radical agenda here,” Webber says in the ad: “Susana Martinez may take orders from them. I never will.”
The Koch brothers’ company, Koch Industries, donated nearly $20,000 to Martinez and the governor’s Susana PAC from 2010 to 2013. Meanwhile, a New Mexico representative of the Koch brothers’ political group, Americans for Prosperity, said in 2012 that the group was “disappointed” in Martinez for her expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.
With less than a month to go before the June 3 primary election, only Webber and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lawrence Rael have launched TV ads from the Democratic side of the fence. Webber’s ad is the first candidate TV commercial to attack Martinez by name.
Martinez campaign spokesman Chris Sanchez responded by criticizing Webber for also accepting out-of-state campaign cash in his primary race.
“Alan Webber’s bizarre attack against Gov. Martinez lacks any credibility – particularly since he’s taken a greater percentage of out-of-state contributions than any other candidate,” Sanchez said. “And it’s even stranger that he would attack out-of-state millionaires when he himself is an out-of-state millionaire who is completely out of touch with New Mexicans.”
Webber, who moved to New Mexico in 2003, has said his campaign attracts out-of-state donations from former colleagues familiar with his work in government and publishing, or from supporters interested in opposing Koch brothers influence here.
Also on Wednesday, Martinez launched her third English language campaign commercial, although she faces no primary election opponent.
The governor highlights her decision to sell a state jet bought by former Gov. Bill Richardson. Martinez says money from the jet went toward buying reading books for schoolchildren.
“I believe it’s better to buy reading books for first-graders than to pay for a luxury jet,” the governor says in the ad.
The jet was sold in 2011 to an Alaska couple for $2.5 million. It had been purchased by the Richardson administration six years earlier for $5.5 million.
James Monteleone can be reached at email@example.com.