CONCORD — Republican 2nd Congressional District Gary Lambert’s campaign today rejected a call by former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien to pull off of the air a television ad attacking primary opponent Marilinda Garcia on the immigration issue – an ad O’Brien called “slightly misogynous” and exploitative of her Hispanic background.
O’Brien also called on Lambert to apologize to Garcia.
“Now is the time for Gary Lambert to step forward and say, ‘I’m disavowing this ad and I apologize to Marilinda Garcia,” said O’Brien, a Mont Vernon Republican. “Demonization of a young Hispanic woman is distressing. We need young people in the party and we want young people in the party.”
O’Brien said that not only is the ad “slightly misogynous,” but it also “criticizes a Hispanic woman with a false argument.”
O’Brien, who has endorsed Garcia, told the New Hampshire Journal on Sunday that he and others have reached out to Lambert to ask him to pull the ad, but Lambert did not respond to them.
Lambert campaign manager Josh Davidson rejected O’Brien’s call, saying “Marilinda Garcia and her allies are desperate to distract from her pro-amnesty record.”
The ad, which Davidson said is appearing on WMUR and the Fox News Channel, calls Garcia an “amnesty liberal” and “amnesty activist,” charging she “backed Obama’s plan giving citizenship to illegal immigrants” and noted her former membership on the executive board of Americans By Choice, which backed comprehensive immigration reform.
Davidson said he was unable to provide the New Hampshire Journal a link to the ad, but the Journal obtained it from other, pro-Garcia sources. The Journal publishes the ad below for informational purposes only and neither endorses nor disputes the description of the ad as “dishonest.”
The television ad reflects other forms of advertising, such as direct mail, and charges the Lambert campaign has directed at Garcia through the media.
The 31-year-old state legislator has called the allegations “lies,” and said she has never supported amnesty.
But Davidson of the Lambert campaign, defending the ad and line of attack on Garcia, said, “Just last year, Marilinda Garcia supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in a National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators resolution which she sponsored. That is amnesty, plain and simple. Citizenship means Social Security, Medicare, and even Obamacare for illegal immigrants.”
The resolution, which Garcia cosponsored, can be found here, but the phrase being focused on by the Lambert camp is:
“WHEREAS, Legalizing the undocumented population lets us know who is living within our nation’s borders and allows our public safety representatives and first responders to focus time and resources on criminal elements intent on threatening our nation, citizens, freedoms, and way of life.”
The resolution also applauds “members of Congress who have worked diligently to support responsible bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing immigration reform and promoting a comprehensive approach to fix a broken system that no longer works for our economy and security.”
“With a record like that, it’s no wonder Representative Garcia and her allies are willing to try anything to change the conversation in this campaign,” Davidson said.
But Garcia campaign spokesman Kenny Cunningham said earlier this month, when the resolution first came to light, that it was “is simply an effort by Marilinda to put a solution on the table – a solution that does not include amnesty. She believes the fact that millions of people are in the U.S. illegally, making money, not paying taxes, and often receiving taxpayer funded benefits, is a real problem. Figuring out how to deal with this problem – starting with getting them to pay their taxes — is her goal.”
The Lambert camp has also noted that Garcia left the board of Americans By Choice just recently.
It says she “was still on Americans by Choice’s website as of Aug 9, 2014 – less than 36 hours before Sen. Lambert started contrasting their positions on amnesty.”
The Garcia campaign earlier this month did not dispute the point that her name had been on the website, but said that she has “not been actively involved in this group for very long time and is focused on her campaigns.”
Her campaign also pointed out that members of the board differ in opinion on different issues related to immigration and that she is not in favor of amnesty.
O’Brien said Lambert is sending the wrong message about himself and the Republican Party.
“Our party, I think, is particularly attractive to the young, to Hispanics, to women. It’s a philosophy of opportunity that supports families,” O’Brien said. “It’s a philosophy of empowerment and the opportunity of an independent life.”
“For Gary to have these types of ads, particularly on immigration, and say false things about a young Hispanic woman, is sending the wrong message to the public about what Republicans are,” O’Brien said.
“I know campaign staff can be exuberant, but Gary has to now step forward and say that those ads don’t represent who he is.”
O’Brien noted that Lambert’s background as a U.S. Marine and in politics as a former state senator “gives him a position of distinction.” He said the “shadowy ad about a Hispanic woman,” however, appeals to “base instincts.”
“The fact that he would use these darker tones is just shocking,” O’Brien said.