Susana’s camp turns on Andy Nunez – “I’m surprised and I’m pissed”
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Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and maverick Independent Andy Nuñez (I-Hatch) joined forces for the last two years to try and repeal a controversial law in New Mexico that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses but two days ago, a negative ad started circulating in Nuñez’s district by a political action committee tied to the governor’s office that criticized Nuñez, who is locked in a fierce re-election bid with a Democrat and a Republican in southern New Mexico.
“I’m surprised and I’m pissed,” Rep. Nuñez told Capitol Report New Mexico Friday (Oct. 26). “That’s not right,” Nuñez said of the mailer distributed by Reform New Mexico Now. “If anyone helped her out in the last two years, it was me.”
Jay McCleskey, who runs Reform New Mexico Now, told the Albuquerque Journal his organization is backing the Republican in the House District 36 race — Mike Tellez – because Tellez “believes in tax reform, education reform and also supports repealing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.”
Phillip Archuleta is the Democratic nominee in the race where the vote will be split three ways. A longtime Democrat, Nuñez switched to “Decline To State” back in January of 2011 after a feud with Speaker of the House Ben Luján (D-Nambé).
The mailer criticizes Nuñez for his voting in 2009 for a bill that led to the repeal of the death penalty in the state.
“I did vote for that,” the 76-year-old Nuñez said but says he would now vote to re-institute it.
This is the first election Nuñez has run since he made the party switch and while Nuñez told Capitol Report New Mexico that an internal poll showed him holding a slight lead on Archuleta and Tellez, some insiders say other polls show Nuñez trailing and in the hard reality of politics, Republicans have been worried Archuleta could take the seat with a plurality should Nuñez and Tellez splitting the rest of the vote.
Should Nuñez win a seventh term — which would mark the first win in Roundhouse history for a Decline To State candidate — he told Capitol Report New Mexico he would still carry a bill calling for repealing the law.
“That was my bill to begin with,” Nuñez said. “I drafted it before she [the governor] was ever elected. I will pre-file the bill for the next session.”
Before getting hit from the right, Nuñez was already getting hit by Democrats and independent expenditure groups from the left. But Nuñez said Friday he won’t launch attack ads against Archuleta or Tellez.
“I try to do what’s right,” Nuñez said. “I’m not going to run any negative ads. The people are mad about all the negative advertising. I had a couple people tell me yesterday they’re turned off about all this negative stuff and they’re voting for me because of that.”
Here’s the story we wrote earlier this month about the Tellez-Archuleta-Nuñez race.