Salazar on new Musgrave attack ad: ‘It makes me want to throw up’

For people who can’t get enough of negative politicking, the 4th Congressional District is the gift that  keeps giving this year.

Just one day after both of the national parties jumped into the race with high-profile television ads blasting their opponent, Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave unveiled a new ad telling viewers her Democratic opponent, Betsy Markey, could face up to five years in jail if the Justice Department finds any wrongdoing on the part of Markey’s family business and the government contracts it accepted.

Musgrave’s campaign repeatedly raised questions about the contracts that Markey’s family business, Syscom Systems, received after Markey was employed by Sen. Ken Salazar. Musgrave has not provided proof for her allegations and said it’s Markey’s responsibility to prove her company did not benefit from her position in Salazar’s office.

The Government Services Agency, led by Republican appointees made by President Bush, said it could not find a conflict of interest between Syscom’s contracts and Markey’s service under Salazar.

“It should make the people of the 4th Congressional district want to throw up,” Salazar said during a conference call with reporters today. “It makes me want to throw up.”

Markey demanded Musgrave apologize to district residents, her family and the employees of Syscom for making false accusations. She said the latest attack ad is a sign of how weak Musgrave’s campaign is in last three weeks of the election.

“These are the tactics of a desperate campaign,” Markey said, adding that she is hopeful voters will see through the accusations. “I am very, very concerned. I knew this (would happen) coming into this race. I saw this happen with Stan (Matsunaka)… I saw this again, the very aggressive negative campaigning in 2006 (against Angie Paccione). I knew this was Marilyn Musgrave’s style of campaigning.”

Immediate requests for comment from the Musgrave campaign were not returned.

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Jason Kosena

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