What’s more appealing: a former spy for the U.S. government who can drive a fast car in reverse or a guy who rides horseback down a dirt road and hops off near a pickup?

That’s the contrast New Mexico 3rd Congressional District candidate Marco Serna is trying to make with former U.S. intelligence operative Valerie Plame in a new campaign video. The two Democrats are vying in a crowded field to succeed U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., who is running for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen. Tom Udall.

Serna’s video begins with a clip from a Plame campaign video that shows the former CIA agent speeding backward across the desert in a black sports car. In a Western-themed contrast to Plame’s narrative, Serna mounts a steed and bounces down a chamisa-lined dirt road as a Serna voice-over jabs Plame.

“Some people drive fancy cars and want us to believe they’re a female version of James Bond,” says Serna, the district attorney in Santa Fe. “They think they can impress us with make-believe lies and fairy tales about events that happened over a decade ago.”

The video cites national reporting that fact-checked claims made in Plame’s video, which said former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, disclosed Plame’s identity as a CIA operative in 2003. Washington Post fact-checker Meg Kelly said it was actually former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former White House senior aide Karl Rove who disclosed Plame’s identity to a syndicated columnist, not Libby.

In a statement to The New Mexican, Plame, who later became a consultant with the Santa Fe Institute, called Serna’s video “a cheap political smear.”

“My late husband Ambassador Joe Wilson and I endured these types of attacks from members of the Bush/Cheney Administration,” she wrote. “However, we never expected such attacks would come from fellow Democrats. While our country and its institutions are under attack from the President, we’ll continue to push our positive message about a progressive, bold direction forward for all New Mexicans.”

Released on the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur, the video also portrays Serna as a staunch defender of the Jewish people.

“The truth is, the people of the third district want to elect someone to Congress who knows our issues, understands our values and fights hate crimes and anti-Semitism,” Serna says, another apparent criticism of Plame, a descendent of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants who landed herself in controversy after retweeting an anti-Semitic article with the headline, “America’s Jews are driving America’s wars.”

Plame has apologized for retweeting the article.

But Serna’s video misspelled and misattributed a quote from Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, who told Fox News that Plame’s “apologies ring hollow.”

Serna’s campaign video instead flashes a banner saying that former Santa Fe Mayor Sam Pick — who has endorsed Serna — said, “Her apologies ring hallow,” apparently in reference to an op-ed piece that Pick wrote for The New Mexican titled, “Her apologies are not enough,” in which Pick quoted Dershowitz’s Fox News segment.

Serna’s video ends with a final Plame swipe: “I’ve never had the desire to drive backwards.”

But Serna’s brother and campaign chairman, JonCarlo Serna, said it’s not an attack ad.

“What we really want to show is sort of a contrast between a candidate who is born and raised in the district, and who’s focused on issues facing the district, which we’ve highlighted in all of our press releases and our position papers and this video,” he said.

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(9) comments

Khal Spencer

What a great race. Cars in reverse and riding horseys. How about something real from one of the Dem candidates?

Meanwhile, how's this for a campaign ad: Let Marco do for the 3rd CD what he has done for his judicial district:


DA’s Office in Santa Fe fined for recent missteps. Santa Fe New Mexican, 9/1/18.

Peter Vigil

Thank you Marco for providing voters with the information we need before voting. One of the other comments refers to Plame as a carpet bagger? You have my vote and support!

Chris Mechels

Marco can't run on his record, as its too ugly.

He won't prosecute killer cops, such as those who killed Tony Benavides and those who killed Jeanette Anaya;


Perhaps he could do less damage in DC, where the NM representatives have little clout?

Gene Hill

What a jerk. I was really hoping that a born and raised local could rise to the top of the pack running for this district, but instead we get this cheap shot. Serna quoting Dershowitz and acting like he's qualified to say *anything* about anti-Semitism, fer flips sake? Plame might be a carpetbagger but she's certainly conducted herself much better than Serna. I predict this sorry attack will backfire and consolidate Plame's support.

Spencer Ralston

I can only repeat what others have said. Serna has such a poor record as DA, and I had hoped we'd remain free from attack ads. Notice he did not say anything about his record of accomplishments as DA - Is that because he doesn't have any?

Diane Gonzales

Call it what you want, but it is an attack ad. I am disappointed Serna felt the need to stoop this low. I expected better from him.

Leesa Vigil

Whomever the candidate is, I'd prefer competence and a proven track record to almost anything else. In my experience, the past is a pretty good predictor of the future.

Stefanie Beninato

I think Marco Serna should drop out of the race. So far his tenure as DA has been a disaster of incompetency. Do we need more of that in Washington DC? And maybe Serna could get his relatives to obey zoning laws and remove the giant RV from the front yard on Don Diego. His cousin has been camping out there with TV, electricity and water all going into the RV for 2 months. Oh but the city inspectors didn't really see anyone living there despite all the lines running to the RV.

Alexander Brown

Quoting Alan Dershowitz, who is too often found self -aggrandizing on Fox News and in the seamy thick of the Jeffrey Epstein mess with some very ugly allegations about his behavior- to discredit Valerie Plame is truly lame Marco. Like to know more about your campaign -but this is not the way to express winning values I can respect.

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