Carmona releases soft ad defending his character


The ad, titled "Mom," features Carmona speaking directly to the camera about advice his mother gave. He tells viewers that she would make h imand his siblings read "sitting in a tiny little kitchen that had a single light bulb," advising them that education was important.

"She would say, 'Richard' — she spoke in Spanglish — 'the world will be a better place when women have an equal seat at the table of leadership.' I didn't realize it, but she's probably the best education I got in my life," he says.

The ad is an indirect response to an attack ad launched by opponent Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) last week that features Carmona's former boss at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) retelling a story about a time she said Carmona arrived at her house late one night and angrily banged on her door. She says that he should "never, ever" be a senator, and raises questions about his ability to work with others. That ad was released in both English and Spanish.

The previous week was spent by each side trying to undermine its opponent's claims on this issue. Carmona's campaign said that the former boss, Cristina Beato, is "a partisan who was caught trying to politicize science" during her time at DHS and that she lied on her resume.

Carmona also held a press conference to push back on the attacks, and released his own ad last week with another former boss vouching for his character.

But the Flake campaign, in response, brought out a former colleague of Beato's to vouch for her honesty, and has offered persistent pushback on Carmona's defense.

The fact that Carmona released two ads in the span of just four days indicates that his campaign doesn't want this attack to stick. That's likely because in a race this close — Carmona held a slight, statistically insignificant lead in the past two polls, but Flake has a natural advantage in red-leaning Arizona — character attacks like this one could come to make the difference.

Watch the ad: