Pearce, Lu­jan Gr­isham air at­tack ads

One as­sails Dem can­di­date’s ten­ure in state govern­ment; other links Repub­li­can to Trump


SANTA FE — With the fin­ish line of a bruis­ing elec­tion cy­cle in sight, New Mex­ico gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates Steve Pearce and Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham are ex­chang­ing a new round of hay­mak­ers via tele­vi­sion air­waves.

Both can­di­dates launched tele­vi­sion ads Fri­day with pointed ac­cu­sa­tions.

In Pearce’s new ad, the Repub­li­can seeks to turn one of Lu­jan Gr­isham’s per­ceived strengths — her ex­pe­ri­ence in state govern­ment — into a weak­ness by high­light­ing cer­tain as­pects of her ten­ure as state Health De­part­ment sec­re­tary and her abrupt res­ig­na­tion in 2007.

The 30-sec­ond ad cites a 2012 quote from Lu­jan Gr­isham that the po­si­tion was the “hard­est job on the planet.”

It also refers to a 1997 dis­pute be­tween an om­buds­man with what’s now the Ag­ing and Long-Term Ser­vices De­part­ment and Lu­jan Gr­isham, then the agency’s sec­re­tary, over al­leged in­ter­fer­ence with the om­buds­man’s du­ties.

The om­buds­man re­port­edly had com­plained that Lu­jan Gr­isham blocked a let­ter he wrote about an un­li­censed Al­bu­querque nurs­ing home, but the nurs­ing home even­tu­ally made changes to com­ply with the law, and a re­gional fed­eral ad­min­is­tra­tor found no other ev­i­dence to back up the in­ter­fer­ence claim.

The Pearce cam­paign is spend­ing roughly $230,000 to air the ad on statewide net­work and ca­ble chan­nels, said his cam­paign ad­viser, Kevin Sheri­dan.

Mean­while, in Lu­jan Gr­isham’s ad, launched Fri­day in re­sponse to Pearce’s, the Demo­crat claims her op­po­nent has re­peat­edly mis­rep­re­sented her track record in at­tack ads.

She also ac­cuses Pearce of vot­ing in line with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s po­si­tions roughly 90 per­cent of the time as a mem­ber of Congress, an as­ser­tion based on re­search from the on­line news site FiveThir­tyEight.

“Just be­cause Don­ald Trump gets away with ly­ing, don’t let Steve Pearce do it, too,” the ad’s nar­ra­tor says.

The barb marks the first time the Lu­jan Gr­isham cam­paign has at­tempted to link Pearce to Trump in a cam­paign ad.

Although Pearce has kept his dis­tance from Trump on the cam­paign trail, he at­tended a Trump cam­paign stop in Al­bu­querque in 2016 and last year de­scribed a Rus­sia-re­lated con­tro­versy in­volv­ing the White House as a “to­tal as­sault” on the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent by Democrats and the me­dia.

Both Lu­jan Gr­isham and Pearce are mem­bers of Congress who are for­go­ing re-elec­tion bids to run for gover­nor. It’s be­lieved to be the first time two sit­ting mem­bers of Congress have run against each other for gover­nor in state his­tory.

The gen­eral elec­tion will be held on Nov. 6.

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