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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

New Mexico Is Swinging Again; At Least For A Week As Trump And ClintonTake To State's Airwaves, Plus: It's Getting Sloppy In The Mailboxes 

Sure its been a while since we swung but New Mexico hasn't forgotten its days on the presidential dance floor. We're more than ready to scoop up the TV money, the national attention and those smiling visits from campaign surrogates--even if it's only for a week.

Out of the blue our long lost swing status was restored Tuesday for the first time since 2004 as Trump announced the first NM TV buy of the campaign and shortly after Hillary joined the party. Trump’s campaign is spending $196,814 on ads and Clinton's campaign bought $118,880. But will any of it make a difference in the outcome here? Is Trump just shooting in the dark? Is this swing state deal the ultimate head fake?

Momentum has shifted toward Trump in the final days with the FBI revelation about Hillary's emails. The electoral math says he must pick off a blue state outside of the already targeted swing states. We are one of several states Trump's campaign is aiming its long shot rifle at. Others include Wisconsin, Virgina and Colorado.

Even though Hillary has done a good job banking many votes during the early voting period in the state, the latest WaPo/ABC poll showing a big dip in the enthusiasm of her supporters has her team feeling some wind in their face. They had to match Trump in New Mexico or increase the risk of an upset.

Nate Silver's 538 Tuesday puts Trump's chances of winning the presidency at 30 percent, a recent high. However, his chances in NM were pegged at only 12.3 percent. That's up but still in long shot land.

Not surprisingly, Hillary's two NM ads (here and here) attack Trump for his treatment of women and for having an unsteady temperament that could put the nation in danger. Nothing gets Dems fired up more than hearing about the bad side of Donald. Clinton must thwart his momentum and at this late date she isn't going to do that by trying to sell herself.

We haven't seen the Trump ads but don't expect them to play nice, either.  This is about firing up base voters to get to the polls. Feeding them rice and beans won't do it. They want and will get the red meat that will give them the fuel to get out and vote.

Well over 300,000 New Mexico votes had already been cast before this new phase of the campaign took hold. That vote tilted Democratic so it's assumed Clinton built a pretty nice lead and has some room to maneuver with votes left to be cast.

The state's five electoral votes are still heavily favored to go to Clinton but her margin of victory is in question and so is the impact this flood of presidential money will have on the down ballot races. Local consultants on both sides are nervous. A couple of dozen votes could spell the difference in several tight legislative races, but like the rest of us they will have to wait and see how it all unfolds on Election Night.

As veteran national Dem strategist Bob Shrum puts it:

The days right before an election are like the re-entry of spacecraft,” he said. “We just don’t know what is going to happen.

NO PREDICTION HERE

We chatted up former ABQ GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones about the sudden turn in the presidential race. She chuckled and said she was not ready to make any predictions. That's the safe road to take in this crazy year. Who knows what else will happen in the final hours? Janice will join our KANW-FM public radio election panel this year. Maybe she'll be ready to make some predictions when we do our pre-game show Monday at 5 p.m. where we'll review all the big races in the state. Our Election Night coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

PENCE VISIT

Indiana Governor Mike Pence stops in Las Cruces at 2 this afternoon following Trump's Sunday night visit to ABQ. That will get him into the El Paso TV market which serves Dona Ana County where control of the state House will be decided. R's are hoping the Pence visit will not only boost GOP turnout for Trump but also for those House battles.

What about Hillary coming? Well, she may have had her chance. If she comes in now, it might only encourage the Trump brigades who will see it as a sign of weakness and get more fired up.

And Donald Trump, Jr. will go to heavy Republican Farmington in the Four Corners Friday looking for votes.

FROM PURPLE TO BLUE

One of the reasons New Mexico lost its swing state status is the increasing Hispanic population who favor the Democrats. In 2005, one year after George W. Bush was the last R to carry the state, Hispanics made up 43.4 percent of the state's population. Flash forward to 2015 and that percentage had grown to 48 percent, the largest in the nation.

Local Republicans have found a way to advance their candidates with Hispanics in low turnout state elections. National R's have not had the same success. Until they do, the state is going to stay in the blue column for the presidency.

GETTING SLOPPY

Come on, Jay. We know you're trying to cram in a lot, but the flyer for your Advance NM Now PAC excoriating State Senate Majority Leader Micheal Sanchez for taking a taxpayer financed junket to Hawaii has no basis in the truth--not even a kernel. Even by the loose standards of political mailers these days, this one is a whopper:

Sanchez’s campaign turned over records of his travel expenses for the past seven years, the only period for which the Legislative Council Service maintains records. They show no travel to Hawaii by Sanchez. No one answered a phone number listed for Advance New Mexico Now, and a political consultant involved with the group did not respond to messages seeking comment Oct. 31.

That "political consultant" would be Jay McCleskey, Gov. Martinez's attacker in chief. Come on, Jay. It's supposed to be all-crime-all-the-time against Sanchez. Now look what you've gone and done. Slow down. Cut back on the work load. Maybe you can take a vacation--maybe to Hawaii?

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2016
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