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Campaign Monitor

Lambert stands by ads attacking Garcia, after GOP leaders ask him to pull them

  • Republicans seeking their party's nomination in the state's 2nd Congressional District in next week's state primary, from left, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, former state Sen. Gary Lambert and former state Rep. Jim Lawrence participate in a televised debate at WMUR in Manchester, N.H. on Wednesday Sept. 3, 2014. The winner of the primary will face U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat seeking a second term. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    Republicans seeking their party's nomination in the state's 2nd Congressional District in next week's state primary, from left, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, former state Sen. Gary Lambert and former state Rep. Jim Lawrence participate in a televised debate at WMUR in Manchester, N.H. on Wednesday Sept. 3, 2014. The winner of the primary will face U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat seeking a second term. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • Republicans seeking their party's nomination in the state's 2nd Congressional District in next week's state primary, from left, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, former state Sen. Gary Lambert and former state Rep. Jim Lawrence participate in a televised debate at WMUR in Manchester, N.H. on Wednesday Sept. 3, 2014. The winner of the primary will face U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat seeking a second term. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    Republicans seeking their party's nomination in the state's 2nd Congressional District in next week's state primary, from left, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, former state Sen. Gary Lambert and former state Rep. Jim Lawrence participate in a televised debate at WMUR in Manchester, N.H. on Wednesday Sept. 3, 2014. The winner of the primary will face U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat seeking a second term. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • Republicans seeking their party's nomination in the state's 2nd Congressional District in next week's state primary, from left, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, former state Sen. Gary Lambert and former state Rep. Jim Lawrence participate in a televised debate at WMUR in Manchester, N.H. on Wednesday Sept. 3, 2014. The winner of the primary will face U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat seeking a second term. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
  • Republicans seeking their party's nomination in the state's 2nd Congressional District in next week's state primary, from left, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, former state Sen. Gary Lambert and former state Rep. Jim Lawrence participate in a televised debate at WMUR in Manchester, N.H. on Wednesday Sept. 3, 2014. The winner of the primary will face U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat seeking a second term. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Marilinda Garcia’s campaign has called in the reserves to defend her against attacks from Gary Lambert, as the two battle for the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District.

Three Republicans who have thus far kept out of the race, including Bryan Gould, chairman of the Merrimack County Republican Committee, issued a statement today calling on Lambert’s campaign to stop airing his latest TV attacks against her.

Lambert’s Campaign Manager Josh Davidson said they will not pull the ads.

“When you can’t defend your record, calling your opponent a liar and dishonorable is all you have left,” Davidson said.

Lambert, a former state senator from Nashua, and Garcia, a state representative from Salem, also face former state Rep. Jim Lawrence of Hudson in Tuesday’s primary election.

In one recent ad, Lambert’s campaign called Garcia “an amnesty activist” because she signed a resolution at the 2013 National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.

The resolution called, in part, for “encouraging more immigrants out of the shadows into citizenship.” It also said “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.”

She defends the resolution as a plan to address the illegal immigrants who are already in the country once the border is secure, and says there is a range of options for those immigrants between deportation and amnesty or citizenship.

In another ad, he criticized her for saying repeal of the Affordable Care Act is not a viable option in the current Congressional atmosphere.

In addition to denouncing the content of Lambert’s recent television ads as “completely misrepresenting where (Garcia) is on the issues,” Gould said he had concern with the tone of the latest video to come out of the Lambert campaign.

“I’m trying not to think that he’s trying to tap into the ethnic side of this, but he’s picking illegal immigration which plays into her Hispanic heritage. His latest ad (which is about Obamacare) says ‘Gary is one of us,’ or something to that effect. If Gary is ‘one of us,’ what does that make Jim Lawrence and Marilinda Garcia? At a minimum its tone deaf but that isn’t my concern. My concern is, if (ethnicity) is even crossing their minds, it has to be condemned by everyone in the Republican party. There’s just no place for it.”

Garcia’s mother is Italian-American, and her father comes from a Spanish-American family that has lived in the Southwest for generations. Lawrence is the state’s first-ever African-American candidate for Congress.

“It’s disappointing that Bryan would make such a baseless charge,” said Lambert’s campaign manager, Josh Davidson. “The ad states, ‘Gary Lambert is one of us: A conservative through experience.’ Beyond that, we aren’t going to dignify such a ridiculous charge with a response.”

Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the state Republican Party who has not endorsed a candidate in the race, and Nashua Rep. Don LeBrun, another Republican, joined Gould in the statement.

“It is. . . the responsibility of party leaders to play referee in primaries, and to call a foul when one is made,” Cullen said. “Sadly, this is one of those times.”

Gould said Garcia’s campaign staff reached out to him after seeing a Facebook post where he criticized Lambert’s ads.

“It’s so far over the line in terms of how untruthful it is that as someone who is neutral, I feel as though I have to say something. I don’t think this is within the realm of the typical exaggeration you typically see in political ads.

“I know both of these people, I like them. If I thought people would watch (the ads) and not take them seriously, I wouldn’t say anything. But he is picking very good issues that will resonate with conservative Republicans, and the ads do it effectively. But they’re just false.”

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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