Thursday, May 17, 2018

Cervantes Starts Pitching Negative On MLG In Guv Chase, NRA Dissed In ABQ Is Welcome In South; Herrell Nabs Its Endorsement, And A Kennedy Surfaces In Guv Campaign 

He's got a long way to go and a short time to get there. So Joe Cervantes finally took his first step to take Michelle Lujan Grisham down a notch. Actually, it's about 30 notches if the polls in the Dem chase for the '18 gubernatorial nomination have it right.

Cervantes negative TV ad on MLG was not a given. His supporters were nervous that the low-key state senator would take his lumps and hope for the best. But then there's that $2 million he loaned his campaign. What good does that do him in the First National Bank of Joe? So out came the cash and onto the TV screens came this:

Who's Michelle Lujan Grisham working for? Not us. Since going to DC Grisham has made a bundle off government contacts. Her campaigns have been bankrolled by $2.7 million in out of state contributions. Michelle Lujan Grisham even voted with Republicans to repeal part of Obamacare and benefit the wealthy. And now she wants to come back to be our Governor? That definitely doesn't work for us. 

The ad was on point but not harsh by today's standards, reflecting the personality of Cervantes who has never been one to go for the jugular, but favors the slow kill.

But slow is an issue here. His problem is not money but time. He was goaded by supporters to start his campaign much earlier and not let MLG build the lead she nurses today. He now will try to tear down in three weeks what she has spent over a year building. The moment did not go unnoticed at her campaign:

This ad is ridiculous and full of falsehoods. Congresswoman Lujan Grisham ran a patient advocacy company designed to help people get affordable care. Her small business didn’t make a “bundle” on state or federal contracts. This business saves peoples lives by helping vulnerable patients get health care after being denied coverage by insurance companies. . . 

Additionally, Congresswoman Lujan Grisham has voted over 30 times to save Obamacare from Republicans like Steve Pearce who voted for the Trump/GOP health care bill to take health insurance away from hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans. Michelle has fought to save people’s health care and will fight to expand affordable care for all New Mexicans. False attacks from her opponents won't change that fact.

The third player, Jeff Apodaca, doesn't have the money to join the hit parade. He is left to hope that voters the Cervantes' ad plies loose from MLG might fall his way.

The low cash count hasn’t stopped him from working the beat. He and his wife Jackie seem unfazed by the daunting task facing them and are campaigning seemingly nonstop and with vigor. If they could show that passion for the state in a significant way on TV in the final weeks, who knows?

But the happiest guy over this ad was one Steve Pearce. You could picture the soon-to-be GOP nominee cracking a gleeful smile when he saw the 30 second hit. And you could almost hear him saying, "Good stuff, Joe. I can use that one."


Also in the Dem race for Governor, a member of the famous Kennedy clan has made an appearance via the airwaves. Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts, whose family legacy lingers in the Catholic and Hispanic counties of Northern New Mexico, cut this Spanish radio spot on behalf of Lujan Grisham. Kennedy is a fluent Spanish speaker and her campaign says in the spot he:

 . . . Talks about his family legacy of public service and how Lujan Grisham’s work to investigate nursing home abuse, double the number of school-based health centers for children and families, and to lower drug overdoses through better treatment reflects that same dedication.


Rep. Herrell
State Rep. Yvette Herrell won't be saying "Fuck the NRA" as ABQ Dem congressional candidate Pat Davis did in his TV ad. Herrell has announced she's received the endorsement of the NRA in her battle for the GOP southern congressional nomination.

Unlike the ABQ area, the endorsement in the south is a feather in her cap and a blow to her rival Monty Newman and his political consultant Jay McCleskey. Her campaign says:

Because of Rep. Yvette Herrell’s A-rating and Pro-Gun leadership in NM's Legislature, she is the NRA's choice for the NM 2nd Congressional district. “I am honored to have the support of the National Rifle Association,” said Rep. Herrell. “I am proud of my record defending the 2nd Amendment and will continue working to protect our gun rights."

The night and day approach to the NRA shows how New Mexico politically is often two or three states in one.


In the ABQ congressional race we've been talking about a three way battle at the top and a poll commissioned by VoteVets, a group that has endorsed Damon Martinez, shows just how tight is. The survey done May 13 and 14 by Lake Research in DC has Antoinette Sedillo with 25 percent, Damon Martinez with 23 and Deb Haaland at 20 percent. The other three candidates get only 5 percent of the vote and there were still 27 percent undecided.

The margin of error in the survey of 390 like Dem primary voters is plus or minus five percent so it's still a jump ball for the nomination. The firm has a long track record in the state and while this work was done for a pro-Martinez group they are not known for spinning.

Lake Research says the poll was conducted using professional phone interviews for cell phones and rob calls for landlines. Only three candidates were listed by name--Sedillo Lopez. Haaland and Martinez. Other insider polling in the race shows the other three candidates--Pat Davis, Damian Lara and Paul Moya in the single digits. However, Lara has gone up on TV since the poll.


New TV ads are being released. This one from Antoinette Sedillo Lopez highlights her legal expertise. This one from Damon Martinez focuses on sexual assault. Deb Haaland continues to garner national attention. The latest is from Nation magazine.


In looking over the TV ads by the candidates in the ABQ market this year, we find that KRQE is getting more ad dollars than KOB or KOAT. Media maven Chris Brown explains:

KRQE has the strongest early evening and prime time line up reaching viewers age 35+. They also command higher prices per spot for a typical schedule: 27% more expensive than KOAT, 11% more than KOB. So candidates on balance are buying more spots on KRQE, and paying more for each one, than on KOB and especially KOAT.

Although fading with the younger set, TV ads continue to be the top way to reach voters over 50 who will dominate the June 5 primary.


We referenced former ABQ GOP Congressman Manuel Lujan, Jr. this week as an uncle to Rep. Lujan Grisham. They are cousins.

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