Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Wednesday Blog: TV Ad Bombardment Nears, Udall Bruised In Oil Country, Major Development In Dona Ana DA Emailgate Case And More Vox Populi 

 To the delight of the revenue hungry stations and to the growing annoyance of viewers who will quickly tire of the repetition, the TV ad bombardment will get underway in earnest next week. TV is still the name of the game to attract voters, especially older ones who dominate off year elections like this one.

ABQ Dem Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham made a direct pitch for TV money in an email to supporters this week. In the process she came with the latest rates for a 30 second ad on some popular TV shows that we've posted here.

So far this year the over-the-air stations have raked in nearly $8 million in political ads:

Nearly $7.7 million is being spent for almost 177 hours of political ads in the state. . .(That) includes ads on traditional TV stations. Satellite and cable-only stations aren’t required to file with the FCC.

Well, we're glad to hear we don't have to worry about Tom Joles getting his paycheck. But New Mexico TV has actually taken a big financial hit since the state lost its status as a swing state in the presidential election. And while this year's US Senate race featuring Sen. Udall and Allen Weh has seen steady spending, it would be off the charts if the race were seen as highly competitive. Ditto for the governor's race.

What we are waiting to see in the years ahead is if the younger generation that leans toward social media for its news gravitates to the boob tube as they get older. If they don't, the 30 second TV ad could lose its status as the Holy Grail of the modern political campaign.


The US Senate race is ranked safe Democratic here, but that doesn't mean Tom Udall isn't taking some bruising on the campaign trail. The conservative Roswell Daily Record in oil country hits him hard as it endorses Weh:

Udall voted for cap-and-trade carbon emission legislation, to delay the Keystone XL pipeline and said he supported President Obama’s unilateral emission standards executive order. Renewable energy sources are great, but Udall has been a part of the Washington, D.C. crowd that has been forcing alternative energies down our throat. . .Udall has also said he’s very proud of his vote on Obamacare. He said he wished the federal health insurance program had gone further, as many other left-wing Democrats said at the time of its passage. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Udall. 

Udall has boasted about having a 94 percent pro-Obama voting record. That voting record may appeal to voters in northern New Mexico, but is contrary to the views of voters in southeastern New Mexico. . Udall has served in Washington, D.C. for 16 years. That’s long enough. It’s time for a change.

With that kind of roughing up Udall probably can't wait for his soothing endorsement from the Santa Fe New Mexican.


It turns out all those emails deleted by the office of Dona Ana County District Attorney Amy Orlando did not go to digital heaven forever. The liberal advocacy group ProgressNowNM has been digging deep and discovered a number of emails on a backup server that seem to indicate that state law enforcement databases were being used by the DA's office to do research for political ads  in the 2010 Guv campaign. Gov. Martinez was district attorney at the time and the GOP Guv nominee. Orlando was her chief deputy. From ProgressNow:

(The emails) show prosecutors and investigators in (Martinez's) DA's Office checking law enforcement databases to obtain records used in campaign ads . . Did they use confidential prosecutor and law enforcement databases to identify people and cases they wanted to profile in campaign commercials for Susana Martinez? The emails seem to suggest they did. . .Just two days after Orlando directed investigators to check on a person she prosecuted whom she thought was a deported foreign national, Susana Martinez came out with a TV ad featuring arrest and booking photos of foreign nationals in Dona Ana County. . Did (Dona Ana DA employee) Kip Scarborough check targets through NCIC? 

Martinez's powerful political adviser Jay McCleskey produced Martinez's 2010 campaign ads and is doing the same in 2014.

The NCIC reference is to the National Crime Information Center database. Republican sources alleged to Mother Jones magazine earlier this year that the 2010 Martinez campaign was running license plate checks on political foes of Martinez out of the DA's office.

Attorney General King has launched a criminal investigation into the destruction of the emails. Others have suggested since King is a political opponent of Martinez that the FBI pick up the investigation. Whoever investigates they now have a lot more to go on and maybe enough to take to a grand jury.

And that brings us to current Dona Ana County District Attorney Mark D'Antonio who launched the investigation of the destroyed emails which were being sought in a public records request from the state Dem Party and a TV investigative reporter. They wanted them to check out the allegation of possible illegal license plate checks being made through the NCIC system.

D'Antonio has been scorched by the Martinez machine ever since he took on Susana's BFF Amy Orlando for DA and beat her. He said when he released his report about the destroyed emails that it was not a criminal investigation. But now that we have emails that strongly indicate abuse of state law enforcement databases, will D'Antonio put on his criminal investigator hat? He could be the one to take the email case to a grand jury to get at the truth and bring any lawbreakers to justice.

Maybe he feels he can't do that in the middle of an election but the election will soon be over. D'Antonio appears to be the sole Democrat in the party's hierarchy to have the huevos to confront the Martinez machine. "Appears to be" is the key phrase for now. Stay tuned. . .


Here's a plum job for one of you politicos. Former ABQ State Senator Kent Cravens has left his position as director of governmental affairs for the NM Oil and Gas Association. He will continue to be a lobbyist. No replacement has been named yet. Polish up that resume. . .


Martin O'Malley writes:

As a longtime New Mexico resident relocated out of state by the stagnant economy, a phone call from an Arizona friend after his circle tour of SW New Mexico served as a quick wake up call to any illusion I had about a return anytime soon. Through Lordsburg, Deming , T or C and Socorro, he said the theme remained the same: vacant boarded-up businesses and eerily abandoned down-towns that seemed more like props for the state’s film industry than promise for anyone’s future. If catering to the post-apocalyptic film genre has been the goal of the NM Film Office, then the current Martinez Administration has handsomely succeeded.

From Taos, regular reader Helen Laura Lopez:

Removal of straight party voting will have an impact on the election. Here is a Taos County example. Republican Sheriff candidate Montez plastered the Peñasco area this weekend with no party affiliation on his signs. The Democrat's candidate is Hogrefe. While Taos County is overwhelmingly Hispanic with a strong Democratic Party voting history, with no straight party voting non-Hispanic Democratic candidates may not get the usual strong support. Taos will vote for Democrats, but there may well be dilution.


You might learn more than you want to if you go through the three major media political guides that are now available. They do a good job of putting all the campaign '14 candidates and issues under one tent. The League of Women Voters guide is here. The ABQ Journal has its guide here. KOAT-TV has produced a video guide--questions and answers with the major candidates--here. All three are worth a look. Just don't try to read them all in one sitting. . .

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