Monday, April 30, 2018

Cervantes Says Hello, New Mexico, He Debuts TV As He Looks For A Late Charge, Plus; Say What? Donald Trump Has Been Good For New Mexico? Really? We Explain  

Joe Cervantes hopes to put on a late charge to catapult himself into the thick of things in the chase for the '18 Dem gubernatorial nomination. To that end he's released his first TV ad and put behind it about $175,000 of the $1.4 million he reports in cash on hand.

The Cervantes spot is a standard bio ad introducing him as a businessman and state senator who "was born and raised on a farm." The strongest portion is when he highlights his wife and three daughters, with the female narrator saying that the title he is most proud of is "father of three" and that "Joe Cervantes raised his daughters with New Mexico values" as the camera pans the family enjoying the moment.

Cervantes, 57, is going to need a deep connection to women voters who will comprise the majority in the primary, if he is to start chipping away at frontrunner Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The policy message in this first ad is generic boilerplate: He pledges to fight "for working families, better schools, safer neighborhoods and a fair economy."

The problem he faces is an old one but emerges with more clarity as the campaign nears its climatic phase and Cervantes takes to TV:

If Cervantes can't break through with the broader electorate he will end up splitting male Hispanic voters with Jeff Apodaca allowing Lujan Grisham to ride to victory with majority support from women.

In other words, Cervantes is going to need some edgy follow-up spots to his mild mannered introduction if he is to make a go of it. Campaign polling continues to show MLG with a distinct advantage in the three way match.

Meantime the danger that Apodaca faces from Cervantes is evidenced in the latest TV buys. While Cervantes is coming with that big buy from 4/24/ to 5/7, Apodaca posts a meager buy of $15,000 in ABQ, reports media watcher Chris Brown. MLG has purchased about $55,000 of broadcast and cable as of 4.27, just enough so viewers don't forget her as Apo and Joe play to the crowd.


Murder #26 in ABQ for 2018 has been counted after only four months. A police spokesman says murder is often a crime of passion and thus difficult to stop. However, that passion often arises from drug deals gone bad as was apparently the case with two recent slayings, both over mere $40 debts. The thought follows that if you can stop some of that drug trafficking you can slow the murder rate.

Meanwhile readers checking in say they do see more of a police presence on the streets under APD Chief Geier. We actually encountered the rare sight of a hyper-speeding motorist being stopped by a city officer near the Big I recently. But then we spotted a bunch of young motorcycle riders popping wheelies with abandon and no law enforcement in sight in the middle of busy Montgomery Boulevard on a sunny and warm Sunday. Who knows which incident best reflects the current police presence but short-staffed Geier is trying.

ADDENDUM: Monday afternoon the city recorded its 27th homicide of the year.


Sure Donald Trump is pretty unpopular in New Mexico but the pragmatists are again warning that it's really not in the interest of our state for our congressional delegation to go out of their way to dump on this White House? Why? Well, because the Trump presidency is turning out to be a pretty good one for the state in terms of its finances.

First, there is Trump's beefed up nuclear policy which will mean larger budget for NM mega-employers Sandia and Los Alamao Labs.

Second and thirdly, there's that big tax cut Trump pushed through Congress. The electric company--PNM--was able to slash a high single digit rate increase down to a low single digit one because of the tax cut it will be getting.

And now comes word that same tax bill will very likely mean the state can avoid paying dreaded balloon payments for the controversial Rail Runner.

. . . The state road fund will go from paying $29 million (in bond payments) this year to nearly $118 million in 2025. The fund, which is meant to cover the costs of improving roads and highways, will have to cover another $111 million in 2026 before debt payments on the Rail Runner taper off.

But those huge payment time bombs can now be reduced and made more manageable. How so? Because of provisions in the Trump tax bill. That's how.

As everyone knows, New Mexico is one of the most dependent state's in the nation when it comes to federal spending. The Dems in the congressional delegation may be going mad as a hatter over Trump's antics but any politician worth his salt will tell you don't bite the hand that feeds you. It follows that our DC guys and gals need to occasionally bite their tongues when it comes to their outrage over the President. And they need to take advantage of this time to bring more badly needed federal funding to the state.

There are plenty of lawmakers on Capitol Hill who can save the world from Donald Trump and follow the Russia thing or whatever else they want down a rabbit hole. And they can do it without economic risk to their states. The pragmatists are right--the Land of Enchantment is not one of those states.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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