Smear campaign launched against GOP lt. governor candidate Ant Thornton

On Thursday, mailers began appearing in mailboxes of Republican voters across the state smearing Anthony “Ant” Thornton as a “RINO,” short for “Republican In Name Only,” based on minor donations to the Obama 2008 campaign back before he left the Democrat Party. 

The piece inaccurately describes Thornton as a “Barack Obama-Joe Biden supporting liberal,” despite Thornton being active in the conservative Tea Party movement in the early 2010s and a strong supporter of the Republican Party. He has donated generously to Republican campaigns in the state in the past, including to state Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park), one of the most conservative members of the state Legislature. 

Thornton, a former Democrat turned Conservative Republican, has been very open about his past experience walking away from the Democrat Party and registering as a Republican over a decade ago. 

Thornton, a Ph.D., and retired aerospace engineer is running for Lt. Governor against Peggy Muller-Aragon, a more moderate candidate, according to — a leading conservative voting resource affiliated with the American Family Association Action. 

The entity responsible for the hit piece against Thornton calls itself “Americans for Strong Leadership.” Its website consists of a landing page with no contact information and a donation button that doesn’t work. 

According to the New Mexico Campaign Finance System (CFIS), which is run by the Secretary of State’s office, “Americans for Strong Leadership” is a political expenditure committee registered to an employee of a consulting firm based in Kentucky called RunSwitch PR. RunSwitch PR is known for being a consulting firm used by Mitch McConnell. 

The founding Partner of RunSwitch PR is a man named Scott Jennings, whose resume heavily consists of his work as a consultant and advisor for Mitch McConnell. He was also once the Executive Director for Bush-Cheney New Mexico back in 2004. He is a CNN contributor, who has praised the strategies of Republicans who have opposed President Donald J. Trump.

It is curious that a firm headed by a notable Bush-era operative, who has made comments distancing himself from Trump, is now attacking conservative Republican Ant Thornton on decades-old minor donations.  

Other America First candidates in New Mexico this cycle who have gone up against “Swamp”-backed candidates have seen similar independent expenditures made by “moderates” to try and defeat them.

Voters may question why these Swamp operatives are attacking candidates like Thornton. The only reasonable answer is that candidates like him are a threat to the establishment in some way, shape, or form.

6 thoughts on “Smear campaign launched against GOP lt. governor candidate Ant Thornton”

  1. I was perplexed by the mailer. I have always liked what Ant Thornton has stated.

    Republicans continue to be their own worst enemies in too many cases. Especially in New Mexico.

  2. Well good luck to them. I think Ant has a strong supportive base and I already cast my vote for him.

  3. Mitch McConnel is married to a Chinese spy! Just like all the other Rinos Mitch is bought and paid for. As a delegate, after speaking to Ant at the convention in Ruidoso, I am convinced he is genuine unlike bought and paid for Mitch M married to a Chinese spy!!!

  4. I was also puzzled by this mailer. Now it all becomes clear. And how ironic is it that the Primo RINO McConnell would be attempting to smear anyone else with the RINO label! You can’t make this stuff up…….

  5. I received this mailer and tried to research the group Americans for Strong Leadership, but could find no viable information. A review of their mailer only indicated 2008 donations to Obama.

    Many others in MAGA who I highly respect also donated to democratic political candidates before changing their affiliation.

    I had already decided this was a misdirection trying to sway votes away from Any Thornton. So glad I found this article which confirmed my suspicion.

  6. Its just people being nasty. I hate these kind of smear campaigns. Ant doesn’t deserve this kind of nonsense. Reminds me a lot of the same kind of smear campaign that went on with Mark Ronchetti. 60% of republican voters voted for Mark and I’ve noted that this site has made no mention of the biggest race in this state. Instead there been mention of some libertarian who has ZERO chance of winning the governors race and some other write in candidate.

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