Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – Rebecca Dow questioned Mark Ronchetti’s conservative credentials on the airwaves last week and he is now striking back with an ad and a website calling into question Dow’s honesty about her legislative record – the latest salvo in a combative contest to win the GOP nomination for governor.
The Ronchetti ad accuses Dow of “rewarding illegal immigration,” despite her tough talk on border security.
The ad focuses on Dow’s votes in favor of $330 million in economic relief at the height of the pandemic and legislation confirming that people in New Mexico are eligible for professional and occupational licenses, regardless of immigration status.
The economic relief bill included $5 million in funding for $750 checks to low-income households that did not otherwise get a stimulus check – a category that includes people living in the country without legal authorization.
Both measures picked up significant bipartisan support in 2020, but with some Republican opposition.
“Politicians love looking tough, especially on border security,” the narrator of the Ronchetti ad says, “but their records tell the truth.”
The ad says Dow voted to give stimulus checks to undocumented immigrants “not once, but twice.”
The economic relief bill was voted on by the House twice following a procedural move in November 2020, with support from Dow both times. In the second House vote, Dow was among 13 Republicans who voted in favor and 11 who voted against it.
Senate Republicans voted 11-5 in favor of it.
In an interview, Dow says she and other Republicans had to vote on the bill as a whole, without the option to vote against payments for undocumented immigrants.
“We were in a complete shutdown,” she said, “and our focus was getting dollars to citizens, giving food to citizens, getting relief to citizens whose entire lives had been shut down and were sheltering in place.”
She said she opposes the payments and would have voted against them if there had been a separate vote.
The Ronchetti campaign, in turn, says a significant number of Republicans voted against the bills and Dow could have, too, if she really objected. He launched a website scrutinizing her legislative record.
Dow says she has a record to examine because of her public service, whereas Ronchetti joined the race after working as a meteorologist for KRQE-TV.
On the occupational licensing bill, Dow was among six House Republicans who voted in favor, while 18 voted against it. Every Republican in the Senate voted in favor of the bill.
The negative advertisements come as the campaign for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham enters its final five weeks.
Ronchetti, a former meteorologist for KRQE, and Dow, a state representative, are competing for the nomination alongside Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, Albuquerque financial adviser and military veteran Greg Zanetti, and anti-abortion activist Ethel Maharg.
The primary election is June 7 and absentee voting begins May 10.