After receiving a request from Gov. Susana Martinez’s PAC for a donation, Republican state Senate candidate Aubrey L. Dunn Jr. demanded a refund of the contributions he and his wife gave to her gubernatorial campaign.
Republican state Senate candidate Aubrey L. Dunn Jr. is blasting Gov. Susana Martinez after a political group with ties to the governor sent mailers in the June primary supporting the incumbent Democrat Dunn will face in November.
Dunn is also demanding a refund of contributions he and his wife made to Martinez’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.
Dunn sent the letter to Martinez on Sunday complaining about mailers the political action committee sent before the June primary in support of Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose, who faced a tough but ultimately unsuccessful challenge from more liberal Democrat Jack Sullivan. The Martinez-tied Super PAC, Reform New Mexico Now, came to the aid of a number of Democrats in the primary who had been supportive of some of the governor’s legislative proposals.
The Super PAC’s funding came primarily from wealthy oilmen from Eastern New Mexico.
In his letter, Dunn blasted the governor and the PAC’s donors, pointing out that Griego voted for the law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
“It appears that the Governor’s office and her Big Oil friends are more concerned about the open pit rules and helping a ‘pay to play’ senator,” Dunn wrote.
Jay McCleskey, Martinez’s political adviser, didn’t say whether the governor would return the campaign contributions Dunn referenced from him and his wife. NMPolitics.net found $5,250 in contributions from Dunn to Martinez in 2010, but none from his wife Robin – who contributed $1,000 to Martinez’s 2010 primary opponent Doug Turner.
McCleskey also didn’t rule out Martinez supporting Griego in the general election.
“Governor Martinez has not made any endorsement in the general election,” McCleskey said. “While they don’t agree on everything, Senator Griego supported many of the governor’s education and tax reforms to help move New Mexico forward, in stark contrast to the obstructionist positions of his Democratic opponent in the primary.”
‘Disingenuous at best’
Dunn’s letter came after he received a request from Martinez’s other political action committee, Susana PAC, for a donation. The letter from Susana PAC states that Republicans can take control of the N.M. House this year, and complains about liberal groups that tried to finance the unseating of conservative Democrats in this year’s primary.
“But a funny thing happened,” the letter states. “New Mexico Democrats voted in their primaries and defeated these liberal groups and their radical candidates. … Conservative, common sense New Mexico values are winning the day in the battle of messages.”
Dunn wasn’t happy with the letter.
“Your letter is disingenuous at best, after your PAC, Reform New Mexico Now, funded by Big Oil out of Artesia, placed positive ads for my democrat (SIC) opponent Phil Griego,” Dunn’s letter to Martinez states.
Dunn gave money to Richardson
But Dunn has his own history of supporting a Democrat in a primary. As NMPolitics.net reported when Dunn ran for Congress in 2008, the rancher left the Republican Party in 2007, becoming an independent, and gave the maximum allowed by law – $2,300 at the time – to Democrat Bill Richardson’s presidential campaign.
At the time, Dunn told NMPolitics.net he gave the money as “a vote against Hillary.”
“I really don’t think we could take another eight years of the Clinton White House. On the Democratic side I’d really like to see anyone other than Hillary,” Dunn told NMPolitics.net in 2008, while the presidential primary was still ongoing.
He pointed out that he also maxed out to Republican Fred Thompson in the 2008 presidential race.
Is that different than what the Martinez-supporting Super PAC did – coming to the aid of conservative Democrats in an attempt to keep more liberal Democrats out of the Legislature? Dunn said it is different, and one of the main reasons is that Dunn isn’t a Republican Party leader. He pointed out that he wasn’t a registered Republican when he gave money to Richardson.
Dunn also said Martinez is “meddling” by trying to influence people to donate to her PAC under one premise and then “turning around to support unsatisfactory candidates of an opposing party.” Martinez ran on a platform of reform, but Griego represents the status quo, Dunn said, while he will support her platform.