September 26, 2018

NM Elections Roundup: Two debates, while focus is on 2nd CD

Every Tuesday, NM Political Report sends out an elections roundup email. Here’s a portion of this week’s email. To sign up for the full version, sign up here.

It’s almost October, which means the election is just around the corner. Which means you’re seeing a lot of TV ads featuring smiling candidates. But not quite as many ads as you’d think.

Some candidates also got some free airtime, with two televised debates last week.

One was by KRQE News (though it aired on KASA-TV). Sparks flew at the gubernatorial debate between Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Steve Pearce. Lujan Grisham supported raising the minimum wage in the state to $10, then $12. Pearce backed work requirements for those who receive health benefits through Medicaid.

You can watch the entire debate here.

Candidates in the 1st Congressional District also debated last week, on KNME. You can watch the whole thing here.

  • The New York Times poll of the 2nd Congressional District showed Democrat Xochitl Torres Small, a water lawyer, leading Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell by one percentage point—almost a dead heat. This result energized Democrats, but Herrell is likely still in a good position in the conservative district in southern New Mexico; an Albuquerque Journal poll by Research and Polling, Inc., released just before the Siena College poll for the Times, showed a seven percentage point lead for Herrell.
    We wrote about the polls here.
  • After the polling, two national political sites moved the 2nd Congressional District race to “Toss Up” status. Both Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball and The Cook Political Report shifted the races from “Lean Republican.” Politico, meanwhile, still lists it as leaning towards Republicans.
    Both the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts are considered safe Democratic seats.
  • The National Republican Congressional Committee took the gloves off. After coordinating on a biographical ad with Republican nominee Yvette Herrell, the organization released a new ad last week with images of anarchist protesters, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. It isn’t subtle, but it reflects other races around the country, focusing on Pelosi while giving a small nod to the taxes rather than President Donald Trump or specifics on the tax bill signed into law by Trump. According to FEC filings, the NRCC spent a total of $283,000 on the ads.
  • The Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC dedicated to electing Republicans to the House, announced it would spend $700,000 on behalf of Herrell.
  • The DCCC, meanwhile, reported another $50,000 in spending. That brings the total it has spent in 2nd district to $265,000.
  • How true are the ads from the national groups? New Mexico In Depth examined this.
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee isn’t just airing ads attacking Herrell, it has coordinated ads on Spanish-language TV stations with Torres Small. According to FCC filings, the ads are airing on Univision stations in the Albuquerque and El Paso media markets.
  • The New York Times profiled the 2nd Congressional District race as part of its story on five battleground districts that will determine control of the U.S. House.
    It is one of seven contested districts with a distinctly Western profile: sparsely populated and ethnically varied, with an underlying strain of cultural conservatism. Republicans appear favored in most of these seats in states like New Mexico and Texas, but Mr. Trump’s hard-line policies, including on immigration and trade, have rattled their traditional Western coalition.
  • Martin Heinrich began airing a new TV ad last week, that focused on public lands. In fact, the incumbent Democrat is the only one to air ANY ads in the race so far according to FCC filings. Nothing from Libertarian Gary Johnson or Republican Mick Rich. Elect Liberty PAC hasn’t aired anything for Johnson, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee is focusing on other races instead.
    This is perhaps the best corroboration of last week’s Journal poll that showed Heinrich with a healthy lead over his two opponents.
  • Andy Lyman asked the Senate candidates what they thought about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, in light of the allegation by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her while at a party in high school. See what they said. (Note: This story came out before a second woman said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her)

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