Kentucky-based group targets GOP candidate in NM - Albuquerque Journal

Kentucky-based group targets GOP candidate in NM

Ant Thornton

SANTA FE — A political committee with a vague name and a Kentucky address has mailed out attack ads targeting Republican Ant Thornton, a retired aerospace engineer running for lieutenant governor.

A mailer sent by the group, Americans for Strong Leadership, calls Thornton a liberal and a RINO, or Republican in Name Only. It cites a series of small donations he made 14 years ago to Barack Obama, then a Democratic candidate for president.

Thornton, for his part, has been open about his past as a Democrat. His campaign website says that, like many African Americans, he was raised a Democrat but became disillusioned by the party, changing his affiliation in 2011.

In an interview, Thornton said he was drawn to Obama’s message of moving past partisan divisions in early 2008. But he later decided he couldn’t vote for Obama after reading his book and learning more about his political positions.

“Since then, I have supported no one but Republican candidates,” Thornton said.

He voted for Donald Trump, he said, in the last two presidential elections.

Thornton faces Peggy Muller-Aragón, a retired teacher and member of the Albuquerque school board, in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

Americans for Strong Leadership is registered in New Mexico as an independent expenditure political committee, meaning it doesn’t coordinate with any particular candidate. It hasn’t reported any spending or donations to the state.

It lists a Louisville, Kentucky, address. Emily White of Bluegrass Compliance, a campaign finance consulting firm in Louisville, said her company was hired to complete the paperwork to establish the political committee and that it would report its spending and donations as required by law.

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