CONCORD — Three key Republicans who have claimed neutrality in the 2nd District Republican congressional primary are calling on Gary Lambert to pull off of the air ads they say distort the record of Marilinda Garcia and stop what they called “scorched earth” campaign tactics.
Lambert rejected the call, saying his ads and overall allegations regarding Garcia on immigration and the Affordable Care Act are factual.
“Politics ain’t beanbag, and spirited primary contests are to be expected. But it is also the responsibility of party leaders to play referee in primaries, and to call a foul when one is made. Sadly, this is one of those times,” said Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the state Republican Party.
“Gary Lambert’s attacks on Marilinda Garcia are designed to tear her down by grossly distorting her record. I’ve been involved in New Hampshire politics for a quarter century, and I can’t remember a candidate who has distorted another candidate’s record with so little connection to the facts as has Gary Lambert in this campaign,” Cullen said.
Cullen is founder of the group Americans By Choice on whose board Garcia served until approximately a month ago. The group is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and Lambert has used her membership on the board, as well as other associations, to charge that she is in favor of amnesty.
Garcia has denied the charges and has called them “lies.”
At a debate on Wednesday night, Garcia said Lambert was “ignorant” on the immigration issue, and she refused to shake Lambert’s hand after the debate due to what she called his “nasty” ads.
Bryan Gould, chairman of the Merrimack County Republican Committee, said, “Being neutral doesn’t mean that I will stand silent when one of our candidates engages in scorched earth tactics against another. Gary Lambert has approved for broadcast an ad that contains at least half a dozen fabrications about Marilinda Garcia in the space of thirty seconds.”
He noted that Lambert’s ads claim Garcia is a liberal, supports tax increases, supports Obamacare, and distorts her position on immigration issues.
“It is particularly difficult for me to understand this because Gary has made his lengthy career in the Marine Corps and the reserves a centerpiece of his campaign. Gary is proud of his service to his country, and he should be. But I have a hard time reconciling the ad with the Marine Corps’ core values: ‘honor, courage and commitment.’ Even if he wins the nomination, where is the honor in it now?” Gould said.
State Rep. Don LeBrun of Nashua, who is a former Lambert supporter, said, “to call her record anything other than conservative is ludicrous.
“Candidates can have honest disagreements about the issues, but Lambert’s claims aren’t honest,” he said. “I strongly encourage Gary to spend the last days of the primary giving voters positive reasons to vote for him, and to stop attacking Marilinda in ways that only hurt the party’s chances on defeating Annie Kuster in November,” Lebrun said.
Lambert, in a statement, said, “”I guess when you can’t defend your record, calling your opponent a liar and dishonorable is all you have left.
“Marilinda Garcia supported a ‘path to citizenship’ for illegal immigrants. Folks don’t have to take my word for it; I encourage them to read it for themselves in the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators Resolution 2013-11. Representative Garcia also said she ‘loves’ some parts of Obamacare. Again, folks can read it for themselves in today’s Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.
“Those aren’t opinions or campaign rhetoric – they are facts. Representative Garcia cannot run from her record no matter how many times her or her supporters attack my character and integrity,” Lambert said.
Also Thursday, the conservative Concerned Women PAC, affiliated with Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, endorsed Garcia.
PAC CEO Penny Nance said, “Marilinda has shown courage and conviction, demonstrating that she can rise above adversity and that she will be a true fighter for conservative principles.”