Thursday, May 01, 2014

You've Heard Of The Fourth And Fifth Floors, Now There's "The Third Floor," Plus: TV Airwaves Start To Fill With Primary Ads; Rael Is First Dem Guv Candidate To Go Up And Anti-Susana PAC Gets A Dig In  

Martinez Campaign HQ
You've heard of the Fourth Floor--that's the top floor of the Santa Fe Roundhouse where Gov. Martinez has her office. And you've heard of the "Fifth Floor," the nickname of the Guv's political adviser  known  the "Shadow Governor." Now Susana gives us the "Third Floor" as she announces the opening of her ABQ campaign headquarters:

You are invited to an Office Grand Opening with Governor Susana Martinez Saturday, May 3rd at 10:30 am, 4700 Montgomery Blvd, NE 3rd Floor Albuquerque.. . .

Well, the Guv won't have to worry about having many "walk-ins" or prying eyes roaming about her third floor headquarters. It resembles a fortress. Some might say that's befitting the personality of the Guv and her tough talking entourage.


One of those who hopes to bring down that fortress and the Governor along with it is Dem guv hopeful Lawrence Rael. Rael became the first of the five Dem Guv candidates to put up a TV spot for the June 3 primary. It's a softie.

It's called "Contrasts" and outlines Rael's vision for a a better state. The closing line:  "Lawrence Rael sees a very different New Mexico and as Governor you can trust Lawrence to get us there."

Rael took hits for his 2010 TV when he unsuccessfully sought the Dem lieutenant governor nomination. It was criticized for being stilted and lacking emotional appeal. Maybe that's why Rael pulls in his horns this time and does not speak on camera, leaving it to a laid-back narrator and pleasing pics of youngsters to paint his vision. The transcript:

Lawrence Rael sees New Mexico in a very different light. He sees a New Mexico that can thrive. Where we lift up our children with an education that nurtures and inspires their full potential. A state with no shortage of good jobs and opportunities, a place that grows local business and welcomes others. Where poverty is transformed into prosperity and the life we all deserve. Lawrence Rael sees a very different New Mexico. And as governor, you can trust Lawrence to get us there.

The spot is well produced, but immediately drew criticism from Dems who are hungry for red meat and want Martinez taken to task. Independent analyst and campaign consultant Greg Payne explained:

If you've got a low budget, you need an ad with a hard message. The Rael ad is a soft buy with a soft message. It's warm, fuzzy political boilerplate--a different version of the Martinez re-election spots we see running. There is nothing here that will fire up the Democratic primary base. It seems odd that there's no mention at all of the Governor or why Rael--or any Democrat - should replace her.

Rael only had about $225,000 cash on hand recently so his TV buy is going to be minimalist unless the cash comes pouring in over the next few weeks. Maybe he will save his hits on Susana for later, but it could give Webber the opportunity to come now with a harder message that would put some fire in the primary electorate. Webber had around $440,000 in cash on hand earlier this month, giving him the ammo needed to make a serious TV presence.

The campaign of Gary King says he will also be doing TV ads. He had about $90,000 in cash on hand earlier this month. Linda Lopez and Howie Morales had low cash balances and are not expected to come with big TV buys.


Those leaked audio tapes from Mother Jones magazine this month were the sources of embarrassment for Gov. Martinez and her top aides. And now they are the source of a new TV spot--titled '¡Qué Vergüenza!,' (How embarrassing)--that hits Martinez for her taped comments and refusal to apologize. The spot is paid for by the Better NM PAC which is affiliated with ProgressNow NM. The transcript:

We all want to be proud of our leaders, but Susana Martinez is not the leader we thought she was. Turns out, she's just another politician. Behind closed doors, Susana Martinez played along when her staff laughed and shamed Spanish speaking families, like mine. Caught on tape, she refuses to apologize. Que Verguenza! Susana Martinez is not right for New Mexico. She's not right for me, she's not right for you.

The message is delivered by an Hispanic woman--a key constituency for Martinez who has crossed party lines to pick up a good share of that demographic.

The leaked tapes have Martinez referring to her Dem Guv opponent--Diane Denish--as a "little bitch" and her top campaign aide Matt Kennicott referring to then House Speaker Ben Lujan as a "a fucking retard." The Governor has not apologized for the remarks. Her campaign said of the ad:

This is a false ad run by an extreme, dark-money group that has a history of peddling fictional and misleading attacks against Gov. Martinez.

The spot is set to run through Friday, with donations determining if the run will be extended. No word on the total buy.

Martinez's campaign was the first to air TV spots, hitting the airwaves earlier this month. She had over $4 million in cash on hand on April 7.


Syndicated columnist and former UNM poly sci professor Hal Rhodes writes of the current scene:

These are tenacious trends in New Mexico history and no one person—not even a governor—is apt to change them with the snap of a finger. A governor could, however, declare the equivalent of war on dead last, bottom of the barrel.

It has been said that parts of New Mexico never recovered from the Great Depression. It can now be said that much of New Mexico has not recovered from the Great Recession. How is it that other states, including neighbors, are bouncing back? Have New Mexicans haplessly inflicted upon themselves leaders in name only?


For the history buffs among us, here is video of the 2014 US Senator Dennis Chavez endowed lectureship on law and civil rights at the UNM School of Law. The lecture is delivered by Professor Richard Delgado of the Alabama School of Law. Chavez served from 1935-1962. During that time he was the only Hispanic US Senator.

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