New Mexico Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has a new ad out this week that even the local press has reported takes her Republican opponent “wildly out of context.”
On Tuesday, the Alburquerque-based television station KOB4 published a fact-check of Grisham’s latest campaign ad titled “Law Enforcement,” which depicts former local meteorologist and GOP gubernatorial nominee Mark Ronchetti as a proponent of efforts to defund police.
“Keeping New Mexicans safe is part of the governor’s job,” says a narrator. “But Mark Ronchetti will slash budgets for police and law enforcement agencies in every corner of New Mexico.”
The ad then prominently displays the text, “Mark Ronchetti is promising to defund the police.”
The Grisham campaign then airs its evidence for the attack with a clip from Ronchetti at a Republican primary debate with another local Alburquerque station where the eventual nominee claims New Mexico police aren’t asking for more money and firearms.
“They don’t want more money. They don’t want more guns,” Ronchetti said.
KOB4 concluded, however, that “the snippet is wildly out of context.”
Below is an expanded transcript of Ronchetti’s answer:
We have to back the blue. We have to tell them we will support them no matter what they need from us. We have some of the best law enforcement in the country here. And when you ask them, ‘What do you need? What would help you?’ the answer is simple: They don’t want more money. They don’t want more guns. They want to know that the governor of the State of New Mexico and their leaders backs them up.
Nowhere did Ronchetti endorse efforts to strip resources from law enforcement as depicted by Grisham’s campaign ad. Ronchetti’s own crime plan on his campaign website even includes a section to “Fund and Support Police.”
Distorting Ronchetti’s broader platform was not the only item Grisham’s ad got wrong. The governor’s commercial also attacked Ronchetti for his opposition to her budget proposing 16 percent raises for state police. The ad highlighted a July tweet from Ronchetti in which he criticized the $8.5 billion budget but said nothing of police raises.
The governor’s office noted in a press release the raises will cost $9 million over the fiscal year, amounting to one-tenth of 1 percent of the total budget.
In response to the ad, the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) has been quick to criticize the incumbent Grisham, who is seen as one of Democrats’ most vulnerable governors up for re-election in November.
“Michelle Lujan Grisham does not have any accomplishments to run on so she resorts to flagrant lies about Mark Ronchetti to try to prop herself up,” RGA spokesman Will Reinert said. “No person in their right mind, including the state’s Fraternal Order of Police, thinks Ronchetti doesn’t support law enforcement. Governor Lujan Grisham must apologize to voters for her deceit.”