If there was any doubt about who the state GOP will most target in the 2010 gubernatorial race, that question was answered with the debut of a new anti-Diane Denish TV ad. Denish is seen as the Democratic frontrunner, so it makes sense. Another thought does raises questions, though, and that's the idea that the TV ad war has now essentially started more than a year before the general election. I'd have to look, but that might be unprecedented in New Mexico.
Update, 10:54 a.m.
When asked whether it plans to respond, Denish's campaign says it doesn't comment on media strategy.
"But one thing is clear - New Mexicans aren't going to be fooled by a dishonest, negative attack ad," Ted Martinez, chairman of the Committee to elect Denish said in a statement. "They know Diane Denish has a long record of fighting for government ethics in New Mexico."
The state Democratic Party, meanwhile, called the ad a "scam."
Here's an e-mail from the party's executive director, Josh Geise.
"For those of you who may be covering the ad the NM GOP released attacking Diane Denish - It's a scam. They have not purchased any air-time on network TV and have only placed a $4,000 buy on cable. It amounts to a video press release at best. Desperate people do desperate things."
I have a call in to the Republican Party for details on when the ad airs, etc.
Update, 1:00 p.m.
Denish says the ad won't go unchallenged. Here's a bit on an e-mail she sent to supporters:
"It started as a pretty standard Sunday night around the Denish household. I was getting a little laundry done.
But the Republicans had other plans for this weekend - namely, starting the earliest and most negative TV campaign in New Mexico history. Their latest attack ad is up, and boy is it slimy.
I can't let this attack go unchallenged. And I won't. But I need your help to fight back.
Republicans are scared by my strong standing in the polls and our sound policies for New Mexico. This ad shows how far they are they are willing to go and that we are going to have to fight to set the record straight and win in 2010."
See the ad below.