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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Santolina Back In Mayor's Race: Ad Hitting Keller On Sex Offenders Back On Air, Plus: Colón Goes For Keller  

Despite heavy doses of criticism sent their way Santolina is back in the mayor's race.

The developers of the controversial westside planned community are again backing a political action committee that is airing the same TV spot it used against Democrat Tim Keller in the initial October 3 mayoral balloting.

The dark and foreboding ad, featuring terrified children and a hooded offender, accuses Keller of coddling sex offenders because of a 2011 vote he took in the state Senate. It received heaps of attention as well as scorn.

The bill would have prohibited local governments from adopting rules or laws restricting where sex offenders could live. But it would have allowed distance restrictions for a registered sex offender’s residence as a condition of probation or parole. The bill was voted down.provisions contained in that bill were subsequently included in a 2013 sex offender registration law approved by a near unanimous vote in the Legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Updated Friday: The Santolina initial buy is small and it remains to be seen if they will increase the exposure in the days ahead. Veteran media consultant Chris Brown reports:

So far they only bought 2 spots on KRQE and 4x on KOB for $3,440 total. One of them was in the 10pm KRQE News. They are now dark again unless new orders are pending posting.

Perhaps Santolina is trying to get Keller to the table and using this smallish hit as a warning that more could come if he doesn't?

Santolina did not get its way and on October 3 Keller scored 39 percent of the vote in a an eight way race, with Republican Dan Lewis finishing far back in second with 23 percent. Keller and Lewis then entered the Nov. 14 run-off with Keller as the heavy favorite and polling leader.

Keller opted to publicly finance his campaign and has only $125,000 to spend in the run-off. However, a political committee backing him is again raising money and can be expected to air its own TV ads in support of Keller.

However this week Lewis and Santolina, who see Keller an an anti-growth progressive Democrat, have had the TV playing field to themselves.

Lewis' first run-off ad is up and running and also attacks Keller on crime, saying he voted against the death penalty for "child killers" and also sites the sex offender vote.

Lewis needs to raise money and his early TV appears aimed at cementing support among R's and moving the polling numbers closer so GOP donors will get out their wallets.

No word yet on how much the Santolina-backed PAC is spending against Keller. The committee came with about $60,000 in negative ads in the Oct. 3 election.

Our veteran media watcher, Chris Brown in Santa Fe, reports that Lewis' initial TV buy is for 230 spots from Oct. 14-27, totals about $62,000 and includes all four broadcast networks.

Never mind that sex offenders are way off the radar when it comes to the ABQ crime epidemic. We are first in the nation in auto theft, near the top in property crime and NM  is the second most violent state in the USA.

Lewis and Santolina think an emotional reaction to the sex offender accusations will push Keller into a corner. It is a high-stakes, long-shot gamble spurred on by Keller's double-digit polling lead.

RIO REDUCTION 

Rio Strategies, the ABQ political consulting firm Tim Keller is using and that has become popular with Democratic candidates in recent cycles, is getting its popularity pared. Dem Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver confirms she is no longer a Rio Strategies client and has signed consultant Heather Brewer to handle her 2018 re-election bid.

Meanwhile, we've confirmed through a reliable source that the campaign of Dem Guv candidate Jeff Apodaca and Rio Strategies have also parted company. We have not heard a specific reason but the source says the split was "amiable."

Rio has consulted mainly Dem progressives so it was surprising when Apodaca--a centrist Dem--announced he had hired Rio. Its other clients have included ABQ city councilor and congressional candidate Pat Davis.

Rio Strategies is led by consultant Alan Packman, who got his start here in the 2008 US House campaign of Martin Heinrich. Last month he and Rio became embroiled in an ethics battle with the GOP when Keller's publicly financed mayoral campaign accepted checks made out directly to Rio Strategies and labeled them "in-kind" donations. The R's argue this is a violation of the public finance law. Keller's campaign disagrees and the matter is pending before the city ethics board.

ON THE ROAD

We took note on the Tuesday blog of one of the first joint public appearances of the three major Dem Guv candidates at an ABQ South Valley matanza. Now the three are taking their show on the road. All three Dem contenders will appear at a fund-raiser in Las Cruces Monday, Nov. 20 to support state Dem State House candidates in next year's election. The $100 per person ($150 a couple) fund-raiser will be held at the home of House Democratic Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos.

COLON GOES KELLER

His meetings with both mayoral run-off candidates in the wake of his own mayoral loss entertained blog readers but now, as expected, former NM Dem Party Chairman Brian Colón, who finished third in the Oct 3 balloting, has officially endorsed fellow Dem Tim Keller:

From the beginning of the campaign it was clear Tim and I shared far more in our vision for this city than we differed on. That is why I am endorsing his campaign. Tim is from Albuquerque and is raising his young family here—just like I did. He is committed to helping not just the privileged few, but every single one of us who believe that Albuquerque has the potential to be a safe and smart city. We need a leader like Tim who will move past hateful rhetoric and focus on the things that bring us together and make us stronger. Please join me and stand with Team Keller! 

Colón's support for Keller could help him with Hispanics from which Brian drew considerable support. Meanwhile, where's that endorsement of Dan Lewis from his Republican mayoral rival Wayne Johnson? We're still waiting. . .

But Dan did get a consolation prize. Independent mayoral candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes, who finished 6th out of 8 candidates, getting 4 percent of the vote in the Oct. 3 balloting, has endorsed his candidacy, saying:

Dan, like me, is pro-life and cares about babies, women and children in our city.

Hey, Michelle, you forgot the American flag and Apple pie. He's for them too.

Thanks for being with us this week. We'll see you back here Monday. 

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