10/13/2014 07:00 am ET Updated Oct 13, 2014

Seeking Latino Votes, Liberal Advocacy Groups Team Up Against Colorado's Cory Gardner

As part of its ongoing offensive against Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the super PAC NextGen Climate Action Committee teamed up with the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way to launch an environmental ad this week aimed at Colorado's Latino voters.

The 30-second, Spanish-language spot, which began airing Monday, attacks Gardner's record on climate issues, saying he does what is best for himself and and "only helps the rich."

"Republican Cory Gardner wants to deceive us," the ad says, according to an English translation provided to The Huffington Post. "He says he values our community, but he supports polluters who poison our air and water, pollute our neighborhoods, and put our children's health in danger."

Gardner does not, in fact, have a strong environmental record. He made headlines in 2010 when, as a House candidate, he accepted money from a fundraiser hosted by BP lobbyist Dan Meyer, just months after that company caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. During Gardner's time in Congress, he has voted against clean energy research and protection from harmful air pollution, and voted in favor of cutting the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 90 percent.

NextGen Climate's ad notes that more than 60 percent of the Colorado residents affected by "dangerous water" are Latino, a statistic the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported last year.

The ad goes on to criticize Gardner's campaign donors, suggestively juxtaposing a picture of the congressman with a picture of billionaire conservatives David and Charles Koch.

"Values? Please. Gardner's campaign accepted thousands of dollars from rich Republicans and he's always done what's best for them," the ad says. "But we aren't fooled. That's why we're voting against Cory Gardner."

Carlos Sanchez, Coordinator of Political Campaigns for People for the American Way, said that Latino voters are an important demographic to reach on environmental issues.

"The fact that [Gardner's] policies pollute the water our kids drink, the air they breathe -- those are issues that matter to every family. Latinos are no exception," said Sanchez. "Progressives can earn the Latino support we need to win elections, but only if we're having a conversation to make sure Latino voters know the facts."

The ad comes one week after Gardner appeared to shift his position on climate change during a debate with his opponent, incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

NextGen Climate Colorado began opening offices in the state in July with over 60 staffers to help support the Udall campaign, and has spent more than $3.3 million on ads in the Denver and Colorado Springs television markets.

People for the American Way has rolled out similar ads in battleground states this cycle, including a Spanish-language ad in Georgia that challenged Gov. Nathan Deal and Senate candidate David Perdue, both Republicans, on education, workers' rights and immigration reform. The group said it plans to release additional ads in North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia in the coming weeks.



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