Republicans have put Marilinda Garcia, a 31-year-old dynamo and congressional candidate in New Hampshire, on a pedestal.
So Democrats are taking aim.
Her opponent, incumbent Ann McLane Kuster, has released an ad showing footage of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the conservative firebrand from Texas, embracing Garcia when he visited New Hampshire to stump for her recently.
"Marilinda Garcia’s positions are simply too extreme for New Hampshire," said Kuster spokeswoman Rosie Hilmer to WMUR, an ABC affiliate. "From wanting to completely abolish the Department of Education, to opposing the Violence Against Women Act and a woman’s right to choose, to voting to privatize Social Security, her policies would be devastating for hardworking Granite State families across the board.”
“Students, women, seniors, and their families,” Hilmer continued, “deserve to know the truth this election season about how Garcia’s extreme Tea Party positions would affect them.”
And on Tuesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee echoed the characterization of Garcia as extreme with a television ad that uses that adjective as its title.
In its first television advertisement in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional district, the DCCC highlighted Garcia’s anti-abortion stance.
A DCCC press release about “Extreme” says that “Garcia voted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and make abortions illegal, even in cases of rape or incest, and in emergencies where the mother is at risk.”
“Garcia even voted to send doctors who perform emergency abortions to prison,” it continued. “That’s extreme — even by Tea Party standards.”
The national Republican Party organization balked at the Democrats’ bashing of Garcia.
“With no record to run on, Democrats are desperate and continue to rely on negative and misleading ads,” Ruth Guerra, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said to Fox News Latino. “New Hampshire has been hit hard under the Obama-Kuster agenda and no ad will distract voters from the effects of a struggling economy and lack of jobs. Granite Staters want and deserve a leader like Marilinda Garcia in Washington who will work for them — and not for President Obama.”
Garcia, a state representative who won the Republican primary, was not initially fully embraced by Republicans in her pursuit of the House seat. They saw her chief competitor, former state Sen. Gary Lambert, who is a moderate, as a safer bet and more electable in the Democrat-leaning 2nd District. (Former state Rep. Jim Lawrence also ran in the GOP primary.)
But Garcia, noted for her firm but smooth delivery of Tea Party stances, was showcased last year by the National Republican Campaign Committee as a “Rising Star” honoree.
Garcia, who was elected to the state legislature at the age of 23, has been racking up endorsements by influential Republicans and conservatives.
Former Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño, a Republican, headlined a fundraiser for Garcia that featured prominent Hispanic GOP members. New Hampshire’s conservative newspaper, the Union Leader, endorsed her. Then there’s the powerful anti-tax group Club for Growth, which released a six-figure ad buy for Garcia on cable and broadcast television.
Published reports note that Kuster may not be the shoo-in some might have thought earlier.
“A very conservative candidate in a Democratic-leaning district could do well,” Dante Scala, an expert on state politics and an associate professor at the University of New Hampshire, was quoted as saying in OZY.
But many observers still think it could be a tight race.
Garcia serves on the executive board of the immigration reform group Americans by Choice.
She earned her bachelors from Tufts University in 2006, as well as a Bachelors from the New England Conservatory of Music. She then went to Harvard, where she received a Master of Public Policy in 2010.
She is a recipient of the National Foundation for Women Legislators’ “Integrative Healthcare Pioneer Award” and the Disruptivate! “Innovation in Healthcare” Award. She was honored as one of the Republican Security Council’s “45 Most Influential Women under 45.”