A national GOP group waded into the New Mexico governor’s race Friday – three days after the primary election – launching a TV ad that criticizes Democratic nominee Gary King.
The Republican Governors Association’s 30-second spot, which is running statewide on broadcast and cable networks, blasts King’s record as attorney general, an office he has held for the past seven-plus years.
“Gary King was a terrible attorney general,” the ad’s narrator says. “He’d be a worse governor.”
The ad takes aim at the record of the Attorney General’s Office, under King’s leadership, on prosecuting Medicaid fraud.
King, who won a five-way Democratic primary contest this week, said he expects his campaign to air an ad in response to the GOP criticism next week, according to The Associated Press.
King also said the Republican governors’ ad shows the group is concerned about his campaign.
Gov. Susana Martinez, who is seeking re-election to a second term, is a member of the RGA’s executive committee. An RGA spokesman said the group has nearly $70 million to spend in gubernatorial races nationwide.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the group’s chairman, traveled to New Mexico last week to campaign with Martinez in Roswell, Carlsbad and Artesia. During the visit, he described himself and Martinez as “good friends.”
Asked earlier this week if she expected to be helped by the RGA in her re-election bid, Martinez pointed out that her campaign can’t legally coordinate with the group.
“Since they’re independent expenditures, we can’t communicate, so I’m not really sure what’s going to happen,” Martinez told reporters.
SELF-PORTRAIT: Martinez unveiled a new TV campaign ad of her own Friday, a spot that details her working as a teenage security guard for her father’s company in El Paso.
“Creating a diverse economy starts with small businesses and that’s something I’ll never forget,” Martinez says.
The ad, the governor’s fifth English-language spot of the 2014 election cycle, also says Martinez has cut taxes 24 times since taking office in 2011.
A previous Journal review found that some of the tax “cuts” touted by Martinez were extensions or expansions of existing tax credits, some of which had been initially signed into law by Martinez’s predecessor, Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson.
Martinez has vowed not to raise taxes during her four-year term.
Dan Boyd can be reached at email@example.com.