Monday, May 14, 2018

A Political F Bomb, A Lie Detector Test, A Guv Candidate With Millions Pleads Poverty And Future Billions Stripped From Los Alamos 

Turn away from the campaign trail and you could miss a lot. Like a TV F bomb, a political lie detector test, a Guv candidate with millions pleading poverty and billions of dollars for Los Alamos Labs going out the window. So let's put on our hiking boots and head out to the trail. . .

Pat Davis is one of the best organizers and activists the state has seen, and perhaps one of its worst congressional candidates.

Call it what you will--a fit of pique or desperation or both--the Dem ABQ city councilor and congressional candidate dropped a bizarre TV spot that began with him telling the audience: "Fuck the NRA."

So far the spot has aired only once on broadcast TV--on the KRQE noon news for $250--but it got plenty of play on social media. Predictably, the over the top 15 second spot generated the controversy and national media coverage Davis was playing for. We suspect it put some cash into his sparse campaign coffers as well, but at what price?

His decision seemed selfish--trash the political dialogue (as if it needs more of that)--in order to try to make his noncompetitive candidacy competitive. It was another dumbing down of a process whose IQ has been steadily dropping.

As for the six way Dem race to take the seat being given up by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, even after waves of TV ads none of the hopefuls have caught fire. The race is a muddle because no one candidate stands out for their past accomplishments and none has a personality that crackles.

By showering his F bomb on the proceedings Davis didn't explode anything. Rather, it further alienated voters from this sparkless campaign and raised further questions about the state's progressive wing which seems headed for the kind of overreach we saw with the Tea Party in 2010. The retort from the far left might be "Fuck that. We're beating Trump!" No, you're beating yourselves.


Trujillo (New Mexican)
A politician voluntarily taking a lie detector test? That sounds like Superman volunteering to juggle Kryptonite. But State Rep. Carl Trujillo needed to do something to change the subject, with prominent unions backing off their endorsements of him because of allegations that he sexually harassed lobbyist Laura Bonar. So on went the detector straps. Of course, the test showed that Trujillo had not harassed Bonar.

The obvious problem is that lie detectors are known to be about as reliable as the first budget draft for the UNM Athletic Department, so the stiff primary challenge Trujillo is receiving from Andrea Romero for his Santa Fe County seat goes on.

The question du jour is whether Romero has been able to raise funds from the controversy. Trujillo is a business oriented Dem and those interests have written healthy checks to his campaign, giving him considerably more cash than Romero has. But there's been considerable damage done to Trujillo in the media and the race remains in play.


Our heart skipped a beat when we glanced at the latest campaign missive from Rep. Lujan Grisham, thinking we were on to something big. Alas, that fizzled fast when we realized at last report the frontrunning Dem Guv candidate had $1.8 million in cash on hand, but that didn't stop her from pleading poverty:

We're still $12,788 short of what we need to stay on the air with our first TV ad and we're running out of time.

Well, either $1.8 million doesn't buy what it used to or the staffer who puts this stuff together for the campaign needs a new calculator.

Poverty is anything but the problem in Los Alamos County, by far the wealthiest county in the state, but the impact of billions of federal money going into Los Alamos National Labs is felt in impoverished regions near the storied facility. Now, as a result of DC machinations and to the lasting chagrin of the state's congressional delegation, there will apparently be fewer billions pumped into the labs in future years.

That’s because the Trump administration has decided to send most of the expensive work in producing nuclear pits for missiles to the Savannah River nuclear site in South Carolina which, unlike NM, is a reliably red state.

Not that the decision was entirely political. The safety culture at Los Alamos--or lack thereof-- contributed mightily to the lost billions but it was a  big loss for the state and for US Senators Udall and Heinrich.

Udall is not up for re-election until 2020 but Heinrich is seeking a second term this year and the campaign of Mick Rich, his GOP foe, pounced:

This disappointing news shows once again how Martin Heinrich fails to stand up for New Mexico’s national labs – and how critical they are to our economy and national security. New Mexico needs a senator who will stand for jobs and national security in Washington D.C., and Mick Rich is ready to do that on day one.

Los Alamos is still expected to expand its hiring over the next several years because of fresh nuclear policy under Trump.

The loss of the pit production casts a shadow of uncertainty over the long-term future of not only Los Alamos but other federal installations in our state. We remain badly out of position in Washington with little seniority and few open lines of communication to the White House.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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