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Tesla plant decision sparks campaign criticism

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Political finger-pointing has started over New Mexico losing out to Nevada as a site for Tesla Motors' a battery factory.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gary King said Wednesday that the electric car maker didn't select New Mexico because of "a failure of leadership" by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, his general election opponent.

Republican Rep. Monica Youngblood, of Albuquerque, said in a statement that King was trying to "score cheap political points" and his criticisms "completely ignore the state's bipartisan efforts that have allowed us to compete for jobs like those offered by Tesla and other companies."

Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell said the state hasn't heard officially from Tesla. An announcement was scheduled Thursday in Nevada.

The Associated Press reported that Tesla still plans a second site in case Nevada can't deliver promised incentives or possibly to build a second factory.

King said in a statement "it's not our location or lack of resources" that caused the state to lose out to Nevada. He criticized Martinez administration education policies and said New Mexico needs to better fund schools to produce highly skilled workers necessary for attracting manufacturers like Tesla Motors Inc.

New Mexico was among five states under consideration for the battery plant, and Senate Democratic Whip Tim Keller, of Albuquerque, said that "illustrates the immense potential our state holds for attracting and keeping innovative industries."

"The benefits of our incredible natural resources and educational infrastructure are putting New Mexico on many short lists, but we must do more to move the needle on job creation and ensure the risks that we take are worth it," said Keller, who's running for state auditor.

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