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King, Martinez ads lash out over education, taxes

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Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democratic Attorney General Gary King are trading jabs in another round of campaign ads airing across the state.

The Martinez ad repeats the line of attack from an earlier ad, highlighting King’s vote as a state representative in the Legislature in 1987 in favor of increased taxes on gasoline and income.

The Martinez campaign calls the vote “the largest tax increase in state history.” A Journal review found that a 2010 tax increase proposed by then-Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, raised more tax revenue than the 1987 tax increase proposed by then-Gov. Garrey Carruthers, a Republican, and supported by King.

Martinez also hit King on comments he made to the Journal in response to the Martinez campaign’s first commercial on nearly 30-year-old tax increase vote. King has said he did not regret the tax increase vote because it spared cuts to schools.

King’s latest TV ad focuses criticism on the governor’s education policies, with a narrator promising to “reverse the cuts to teachers and classrooms which has us at the bottom of the nation.”

The Martinez campaign issued a statement challenging King’s assertion. Campaign spokesman Chris Sanchez said the claim of education cuts is “laughable,” considering New Mexico is “spending more money on education than ever before.

MARIJUANA VOTES: The debate over New Mexico’s regulation of marijuana has found its way back into the governor’s race.

Advocacy groups are pushing for ballot initiatives this November in Santa Fe and Albuquerque that, if passed, would reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana under city law. The vote would not affect state or federal laws banning marijuana.

Martinez told reporters this week that she opposed the ballot efforts. She said she believes current state and local laws prohibiting marijuana possession are appropriate. Martinez, a Republican, called the ballot initiatives a political move to increase turnout among Democratic-leaning voters, according to The Associated Press.

King said Wednesday that he supports reduced penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Votes in Santa Fe and Albuquerque might spur the Legislature to act on the issue, he said. King said he believes it’s “a good thing” if the ballot initiatives cause more voters to participate.

DNC VISIT: Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is paying a visit to New Mexico this weekend.

The national party executive is scheduled to host a “roundtable discussion” with several local Democratic elected officials and candidates about the “contrast” voters will face in the November elections.

The public event will be held Sunday at 10:45 a.m. in the University of New Mexico Student Union Building.

James Monteleone: jmonteleone@abqjournal.com.

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