New attack ad targets governor's spending - Albuquerque Journal

New attack ad targets governor’s spending

A new commercial takes aim at a familiar target — the governor’s spending from a discretionary fund intended for social and diplomatic events. (Source: Ad by Get Families Back to Work)

Dan McKaySANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s spending out of a discretionary fund intended for social and diplomatic events continues to fuel attack ads targeting her reelection bid, including a new commercial that draws on TV news clips.

The new 30-second piece – set to air starting Wednesday – was launched by a group affiliated with the Republican Governors Association.

Lujan Grisham “keeps wasting our tax dollars on her personal interests,” the ad says, interspersed with snippets of TV news coverage about her spending from the discretionary fund.

The fund has been a source of controversy not just for Lujan Grisham, but also her predecessors.

Republican Susana Martinez, for example, used the fund in 2015 to throw a holiday party that prompted a police response.

Just last month, the Lujan Grisham campaign reimbursed the discretionary fund after it had initially been used to cover about $1,837 in expenses related to a Democratic Governors Association party at the governor’s residence. A spokeswoman for the governor said the campaign reimbursed the state “nearly immediately,” though it isn’t clear why the state fund was used in the first place.

The controversy makes an appearance in the new ad.

State auditors last year also examined the governor’s use of the fund and found that Lujan Grisham’s spending of $17,546 on food, alcohol, kitchen equipment and Christmas ornaments didn’t violate state law. But the report from State Auditor Brian Colón’s office also said lawmakers should clarify how the fund may be spent.

The Republican Governors Association has been active in New Mexico this year, with its political action committee reporting about $179,000 in spending.

The new ad is attributed to Get Families Back to Work, a separate group affiliated with the RGA.

Lujan Grisham has gone on the attack, too. Her campaign’s first big TV splash of the general election campaign questioned the experience of Republican Mark Ronchetti, describing him as a “TV weatherman” who isn’t prepared to address crime.

Ronchetti, for his part, has characterized his background as a strength – evidence that he isn’t an entrenched politician.

Karen Bedonie, a Libertarian, is also campaigning for governor. She won the party’s nomination June 7 with 87% of the vote, defeating a write-in candidate.

GOING UP: The cost of building just about anything is going up amid inflation and supply-chain disruptions.

A new report by analysts for the Legislative Finance Committee warns New Mexico policymakers to expect budget shortfalls in capital projects and to prepare to spend more to finish work that cannot be completed for its original cost.

The report also suggests a series of longer-term changes – such as establishing a central infrastructure office – to improve New Mexico’s management of capital projects.

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