Mark Ronchetti, a Republican candidate for governor, recently sent out a mailer and aired a television ad making untrue claims about state Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences). The attacks from the Ronchetti campaign make claims regarding a lawsuit involving a sexual predator who assaulted children at a daycare, AppleTree Education Center, which Dow helped found.
In Ronchetti’s television ad and mailer, he claims Dow “promoted” the pedophile and then “bullied” the victim’s family. Despite Dow being cleared of all wrongdoing whatsoever in the case, Ronchetti, whose campaign is being run by scorched earth political consultant Jay McCleskey, appears to be weaponizing the child’s trauma for political gain. McCleskey is known for his “win at all costs” tactics, resulting in even lengthy litigation where he has paid hundreds of thousands to candidates he defamed.
“The only truth this ad revealed is that Mark is willing to do or say anything to gain power,” said Dow. “By revictimizing a child in his false ad he’s trying to score cheap political points at the cost of making that child relive one of the worst moments of his life. I was not involved in the day-to-day functioning of the Boys and Girls Club as a member of the Club’s board. To suggest that I enabled this horrific event is slanderous and beyond insulting as somebody who has dedicated their life to protecting children and helping them reach their fullest potential.”
Even fellow Republican candidate, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, who is critical of Dow, spoke out against Ronchetti’s attack that went too far, despite his disagreements with the state representative.
“For Mr. Ronchetti, and of course Jay McCleskey — you know that evil guy — for them to do this over a Memorial Day weekend, is just… there’s no honor in that, Mark and Jay. You have no honor doing that to not just Mrs. Dow, but the family that has to relive this event over and over again because you sent that out and you did that for political gain. And you should be ashamed of yourself for what you did. That’s something I would expect from MLG,” referring to Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
“And when you sit there and you actually talk and lie to everybody about uniting the party, you’re full of you know what,” he added. You and Jay McCleskey are destroying the party and you are destroying the lives of many people that you are hurting, including by the way — look up a gentleman named Scott Chandler, a great American, who Mr. McCleskey by the way had to pay $400,000 in a defamation lawsuit.”
Dow dispatched a new television advertisement responding to Ronchetti’s latest attack, with Dow saying:
I’m Rebecca Dow and I approve this message.
It’s shocking how blatantly dishonest Mark Ronchetti will be to win an election.
His claims are false and slanderous, as I’m sure a judge will agree.
I’ve dedicated my life to helping children learn and grow, serving on dozens of children’s charity boards.
Mark Ronchetti knows I had no direct involvement in this incident.
But he’s so desperate for power he’s willing to use abused children and their families for political gain.
That is inexcusable.
The primary election is on Tuesday, June 7, and early voting goes through this Saturday, June 4.