GOP US Senate hopeful unveils ad, doesn't mention Trump
May 7, 2020
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Former television weatherman and Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Mark Ronchetti released a new ad with uplifting messages but doesn't mention President Donald Trump by name.
The ad uses footage of the raising of the American Flag on Iwo Jima and astronauts on the moon.
"These are tough times. But America rises to every challenge," Ronchetti says. "It will take an outsider who will stand with the president to strengthen and rebuild our country."
Ronchetti campaign manager Jeff Glassburner said even though the GOP hopeful didn't mention Trump's name in the latest add, he supports the president's policies.
"Mark has made it abundantly clear that he stands with President Trump and what he's doing for New Mexico," Glassburner said. "In the ad, Mark states that he stands with the president and lays out his positive vision for helping small businesses, cracking down on China, and securing our borders."
The ad comes after the Albuquerque Journal reported last week his GOP rivals criticized him for saying at a climate change event last year that he was a Republican "until the orange one."
During the live-streamed "Talking With Family and Friends About Climate Change" event at the University of New Mexico in March 2019, Ronchetti said he was a "conservative Christian who used to be a Republican until the orange one."
"I'm afraid that has taken a part of my soul, and that's not coming back," he said in the video.
Glassburner called opponents unelectable who "are engaging in negative attacks because they have no substance to their campaigns."
Still, Ronchetti led the money race among Republicans during the first three months of 2020, federal records show. His campaign reported around $650,000 in contributions after announcing at the end of last year he was leaving his weatherman job and running for Senate. Ronchetti's campaign said it had $564,437 cash-on-hand.
Gavin Clarkson, a former U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs official under Trump, raised $311,411 in contributions and reported having $173,107 cash-on-hand.
Elisa Martinez, the founder of an anti-abortion group in New Mexico, reported raising $163,111 after fanfare around her campaign announcement. But she has burned through most of that amount and the total $318,000 she raised since joining the contest.
Her campaign reported just having $34,298 left in cash-on-hand.
But all the Republican candidates trail Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján for open Senate seat in New Mexico, according to the Federal Election Commission.
The Santa Fe Democrat raised more than $1 million in contributions during the first three months of 2020. That's more than all of his potential Republican opponents combined, reports show.
Records also show that Lujan had a healthy $2.5 million cash-on-hand going into April. He has no Democratic primary opponent.
The money disadvantage for Republicans illustrates the challenges the GOP faces in winning in a state that hasn't had a Republican U.S. senator since Pete Domenici retired in 2009.