Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Spending Craze Hits New Peaks: $1 Million To Air One Ad? Super PACS Take Control Of Airwaves, Plus: Are Dems Too Progressive For North? And: Zombies And Aliens On The Campaign Trail 

They're spending with reckless abandon now so soon it will be time to hide under our beds to avoid the media warfare from the giant Super PACs invading the state yet again.

When we say reckless abandon we mean it. How else to explain the news release from Emily's List and other progressive groups that they have banded together to spend $1 million on a TV spot and digital ads in support of Dem congressional candidate Xochitl Torres Small?

Sure, you buy both the ABQ and El Paso TV markets and lots of social media but if they actually spend that kind of money on this ad with less than a month before the election it will bring new meaning to the term overkill.

By the way, the spot did not require much research. It's a rehash of the ad that the Democratic Governors Association ran against State Rep. Yvette Herrell, the GOP rival of Torres Small. It slams Herrell over her family's business getting "sweetheart contracts" with the state and not reporting them on her disclosure forms. It also accuses her of using state money to take "lavish trips."

Both charges have been explained in the free media and the ads are not generating any news coverage or a response from Herrell. Will putting a million bucks behind the charges make a difference? Here's the gold plated ad.

There's more crazy spending. The Save the Children Network says it will dole out $415,000 on TV supporting Dem Guv contender Michelle Lujan Grisham. Crazeeee.

That and more is headed your way in the weeks ahead courtesy of the US Supreme Court and its Citizens United ruling that opened the floodgates to this inglorious excess a number of years ago. Like uncontrollable weeds in your garden, it grows and grows.

At the start of the campaign we thought the TV stations might have only a so-so ad year because there was not a competitive US Senate race and only one competitive US House contest. We didn't count on the no limit Super PACS to go overkill. Staffs at the stations ought to be clamoring for a pay raise.

And in this cash-crazed environment it's only appropriate that we shot too low Tuesday when reporting the total spending of the two Guv candidates so far. Michelle Lujan Grisham has raised a total of $7.8 million since the start and Steve Pearce has raised $4.3 million.


And even more Super Spending. The same Super PAC helping Torres Small is coming with nearly $400,000 over two weeks for this TV hit on GOP Guv nominee Steve Pearce.

It scores him for voting to repeal Obamacare, although the spot does not use that often controversial phrase. It also hits him for wanting to do away with the requirement that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, although on his website Pearce says:

We need lawsuit abuse reform, and a ban on discriminating against pre-existing conditions.

Pearce was looking for critical votes in Bernalillo County this week where Dems hope to blow him away in a landslide. His campaign said in a news release:

Congressman Steve Pearce toured Sandia National Lab with United States Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry.

And while the Super PACs we're playing bad cop for MLG, she was playing good cop, releasing her latest TV ad which is a positive take on New Mexico's clean energy potential. Remember when she called the enviro foes of the oil industry "crazy"? Well, she's busy offering olive branches.

This is also the season for the campaigns to start time releasing opposition research on their foes as the first absentee votes are cast and widespread in-person early voting gets going October 20. Take a look at this report that calls out Steve Pearce for questionable ethics, the same charge he happens to be hurling at Lujan Grisham:

. . . Pearce owns two companies that actively lease oilfield equipment to undisclosed customers even as he campaigns to regulate a booming petroleum sector and expand an oil-dependent economy. . .Pearce’s campaign confirmed that the congressman’s businesses, Trinity Industries and LFT, provide oilfield equipment rentals after The AP found corporate registration documents that describe the activities. . . Pearce has reported holdings in Hobbs-based Trinity Industries that were worth between $5 million and $25 million in 2017. . . 

And the predictable turning of the screws on Pearce by the MLG camp:

. . . Despite the 2003 sale of some oil and gas-related assets, and repeated claims to have businesses involved in party rentals, Steve Pearce still has millions of dollars in business with the New Mexico oil and gas industry. Steve Pearce has yet again been caught lying to New Mexicans, while he continues to hide his tax returns. 

Pearce has said he will release his income tax return for 2017 this month.


Then there's this Internet only ad. It's a strange trip indeed. A PAC financed by oilman and former NM GOP Chairman Harvey Yates puts this 2:30 video up. It features Hispanic Northern New Mexicans who profess themselves tired of fellow Democrats who they dub "ultra-progressive."

The ad doesn't mention any candidates but it's clearly aimed at weakening Hispanic support for Lujan Grisham and building support in the Democratic Spanish North for Pearce. He is among those circulating the video. Also, some of those appearing in the ad are supporters of State Rep. Carl Trujillo, who lost a bitter northern Dem state House primary battle to progressive Andrea Romero. The GOP PAC is taking advantage of that rift.

Because the ad is not on broadcast or cable TV and resonates with mostly older, rural voters not heavily engaged in social media, its impact will be negligible. However, a Senior Alligator of the Dem variety thinks it could portend things to come in Santa Fe:

It does possibly predict the dissent we will see among Democrats at the next legislative session. State Representatives Trujillo and Gonzales and State Senator George Munoz and others may be on to something here. Could they join with Republicans and form an anti-progressive, Anti-#MeToo majority in either chamber? Could there be dissent in the race for state party chair next spring? 


Cockroaches? Is it an ad for Raid? Dem Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver who is running against Republican Gavin Clarkson as well as a Libertarian candidate, shows the roaches getting the shoe crushing treatment and the SOS says:

With the lights on, it's easy to see what needs to get squashed, That's why I've shined a light on dark money and worked to clean up state politics.

Nothing like a big heel crushing scurrying cockroaches to break through the political ad clutter.

Meantime Republican Clarkson is running into a headwind over his service in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Trump administration:

Clarkson, then a business professor at New Mexico State University, was selected in July 2017 for a top job in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As part of his role. . .he oversaw the program that had guaranteed (a) loan in 2010 for the Lower Brule Sioux. . .Clarkson resigned in November, shortly after. . . ProPublica reported about the loan.


Clarkson still seems to be having fun in the race that is ranked Safe Democratic. He accused Toulouse Oliver recently of registering "aliens and zombies" to vote when she was BernCo Clerk.

Chill, Gavin. We can assure you that the only zombies and aliens registered to vote are three candidates who are seeking elective office this year and we aren't telling.


You want your state auditor to be fiscally conservative, right? Dem hopeful Brian Colón goes that route by putting up the same TV ad for the general election that he used in the primary.

The ad recounts how he "grew up pretty poor" and understands "the value of money because I understand the value of investing in people."

Don't worry about Brian having to use old TV ads. If he needs some help he can call on his BFF Attorney General Hector Balderas who this week reported he now has $962,000 in cash in his campaign account. And that's for a race ranked Safe Democratic. Hmm.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.


website design by limwebdesign