Just get a load of this ad. Really, just watch.
Susana Martinez, a district attorney and the Republican nominee for governor of New Mexico, has a new ad firing back at an ad from the National Education Association’s New Mexico branch, which featured a teacher criticizing Martinez and praising Democratic nominee Diane Denish on the subject of school vouchers. The ad said that Martinez favored vouchers when talking to strictly Republican audiences, and has given a different message for the general election. “Teachers stand with Diane Denish, because when it comes to education, she’s on our side,” said special education teacher Freda Trujillo.
Now Martinez has responded with an ad of her own. “Remember this attack ad for Denish? With this teacher?” says Martinez in her spot, followed by a short clip of Trujillo in the NEA ad. “There’s a reason she did it. Here’s her husband. We convicted him. He’s in prison now for 23 years - kidnapping. The ad looks different now, doesn’t it? I don’t know what they’ll do next, but don’t be fooled.”
As the Albuquerque Journal reported yesterday — after the NEA-New Mexico ran their ad, and before Martinez’s response spot — Trujillo’s ex-husband Richard Carmona was charged in 2002 with battering and kidnapping an ex-girlfriend. His original conviction was reversed on appeal, but he was convicted again in 2006 and sentenced in 2007. Trujillo married Carmona in 2004, after the crime, and it is unknown when they divorced.
Trujillo has not commented in the press, but the union released a statement from her to the Journal:
“As a respected special education teacher in the public schools, I believe I have every right to voice my opinion on the best choice for governor of New Mexico,” Trujillo said. “I firmly believe that choice is Diane Denish. My ex-husband was convicted of battery of his ex-girlfriend in the 3rd Judicial District. He is in prison, where he deserves to be.”
“Susana Martinez did her job and helped to convict this criminal, but that doesn’t mean she will be a governor who supports public education. I believe her support for taking money from public schools shows a complete lack of understanding of the funding needs of our public schools.”
I asked the NEA-New Mexico’s government relations coordinator Eduardo Holguin whether the union made an error in judgment by having Trujillo in their ad, in light of the circumstances. “No because it’s two different issues. It’s absolutely two different issues,” said Holguin. “And Freda has gone on record saying the prosecution of this person was absolutely the right thing to do, and this person should be in jail for his actions. But that is different form her taking a stance on a public education issue that is a big issue in this election. Her husband or ex-husband being arrested and put up on charges and convicted has nothing to do with her right to express her feelings on who she thinks would be the best governor for public schools.”
Holguin further criticized Martinez on the substance of the union’s original ad — that she has been dishonest about her stance on public education — and also added: “It’s easy to call the kettle black, but where is the deceptive behavior coming on this part? And do we want someone in power who wants to keep an enemies list?”
Here’s the original ad:
The TPM Poll Average gives Martinez a lead of 47.8%-41.5%.