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Politics Notebook: Bill Richardson returns in Martinez’s ad

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Gov. Susana Martinez is using a familiar foil – former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson – in her effort for re-election to a second four-year term.

In a new TV campaign ad, Martinez claims New Mexico’s five Democratic gubernatorial candidates are trying to bring back the “same failed agenda” of Richardson, who served from 2003 through 2010.

“While Governor Martinez is fighting to reform education and move our state forward, the five Democrat politicians are clamoring to turn back the clock to the days of Bill Richardson,” Martinez campaign spokesman Chris Sanchez said Wednesday.

In response, state Democratic Party chairman Sam Bregman said Martinez is bringing up Richardson – whom she frequently targeted four years ago on the campaign trail – because her own track record is lacking. He cited state job growth figures that lag behind those of New Mexico’s neighbors.

“Four years later, this state is in worse shape than it ever was under Gov. Bill Richardson,” Bregman told the Journal.

The new TV ad, which started airing Wednesday, is Martinez’s fourth English-language ad of this year’s election cycle.

It opens with video clips of the five Democratic candidates, which are then replaced by pictures of Richardson.

Later in the 30-second ad, Martinez touts record state spending levels on public schools – included in the $6.2 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year – and cites improved state graduation rates during her tenure.

Martinez is unopposed in the Republican primary election and will face off in November against the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Gary King, Lawrence Rael, Linda Lopez, Alan Webber and Howie Morales are the five Democrats vying for their party’s governor nomination.

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