Oct 13, 2014 3:25 PM
Paul Steinhauser: Conservative group drops big bucks in Kuster-Garcia race
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A leading fiscal conservative group says it's going to spend big bucks in support of the Republican challenger in the race in New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district.
The Club for Growth's political wing announced Monday that it's shelling out $750,000 on TV and direct mail to back state representative Marilinda Garcia, who's challenging Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster. Part of the buy includes a TV commercial that the group says will starting running Tuesday that's critical of Kuster on the issues of taxes.
"In Washington, she voted to raise a bunch of taxes, even a tax on Christmas trees," says the narrator in the spot, discussing the Democratic incumbent. "In New Hampshire, she helped lead an organization that pushed for a state income tax."
"But Kuster was delinquent on her own property taxes, $40,000. Annie Kuster wants higher taxes for you, but she didn't pay her own," the narrator adds.
Kuster was elected to the House in 2012. The next year, when the issue of her property taxes arose, the congresswoman immediately paid around $11,000 in past dues and apologized. New Hampshire is only one of two states (along with Alaska) that has no income or sales tax. That means the state relies heavily on property and business taxes for revenue, which makes Kuster's past tax controversy a big deal. Last month Garcia's campaign also launched a TV ad that attacked Kuster over her property taxes.
In responding to the new spot, the Kuster campaign continued to paint Garcia as an "extreme" tea party candidate.
"This ad is further evidence that Marilinda Garcia is bought and paid for by extreme Tea Party groups, and it's a shameless attempt to distract voters away from the issues, which Garcia can't talk about - because across the board, she wants to push the extreme, tea party policies of her funders on the Granite State," said Kuster Communications Director Rosie Hilmer in a statement to NH1.
"From wanting to abolish the Department of Education and eliminating federal student loans to opposing abortion even in the cases of rape, incest, and saving the life of the mother, the agenda of Garcia and her tea party backers would devastate our hardworking families and has no place in the Granite State," added Hilmer.
The Club for Growth endorsed Garcia in June when she was battling for the GOP nomination. In August, the club went up with a six-figure television buy in support of Garcia, which the group describes as a "taxpayer hero." Garcia defeated her main opponent, former state Sen. Gary Lambert, in last month's Republican primary.
Garcia, the daughter of an Italian immigrant mother and a Mexican-American father, was first elected to the N.H House in 2006 as a 23-year old. She is seen by some as a rising star in a party dominated by older white men.
An NH1 poll by New England College released last week indicated Kuster leading Garcia 50% to 38% among likely voters. But a WMUR/Granite State poll by the University of New Hampshire indicated Garcia with a 41%-37% edge over Kuster.