Oh, politics! Money pleas never end | Local Columns


I rarely “like” anything on Facebook posted by a politician, unless it’s something like a picture of a grandchild or a joke that actually is funny. Yet something posted by a former state official last week immediately sent my finger to click on the thumbs-up.

“As the year came to a close, and as someone who has been a candidate who had to raise money constantly, I was still struck by the number of political solicitations I received,” wrote former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish. “Everyone was facing a critical deadline! Everyone had just a few more bucks to go to make their goal! Everyone was going to be the most anti-Trump person ever elected! Their opponents were monsters! Some who don’t even have an opponent in the wings were just anticipating a monster! Seriously, very few, if any, talked about what they needed to do to be a part of a winning agenda for Democrats. No one encouraged giving to your local charity to feed the homeless, house the infirm, fight a disease. (did they remember the season of giving was not about political giving?)”

I felt her pain. Denish’s email in-box must look a lot like mine (though mine probably has a lot more weird music).

The days leading up to New Year’s Day were especially bad.

Denish was right about those “critical deadlines.” In the case of congressional races, there actually was an end-of-the-year deadline for campaign finance reports. But in the case of statewide candidates, their next reports aren’t due until April.

But you wouldn’t know that by the deluge of contribution pleas from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham. In a Dec. 28 email with the subject line “Can you believe it?” she seemed on the verge of panic. “The end-of-year deadline for our campaign to turn New Mexico blue is only days away, and we’re still falling short of our $25,000 online goal.”

Why should this concern me?

“Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are hell-bent on stripping millions [from] health care, reversing climate change protections and unraveling everything we’ve fought for,” Lujan Grisham explained. “And with Donald Trump pledging his ‘full support’ to my Tea Party opponent, Steve Pearce, it’s never been more important that we elect a Democratic Governor and turn New Mexico blue.”

Denish had special ire for candidates running unopposed begging for money: “… no, I am not giving you money if you don’t have an opponent (other candidates will need it more.),” she wrote.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich has no primary opponent and only a so-far unknown running as a Republican. Still, his campaign on Dec. 30 said contributing to Heinrich “sends a strong message that New Mexico will not fall to President Trump’s and the Koch brothers’ extreme agenda. We need you with us!”

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-Santa Fe, who hasn’t had a primary opponent or a strong Republican opponent in years, took it even further. A Dec. 30 email from his campaign claimed, “If Ben Ray doesn’t report strong fundraising numbers, it will embolden Donald Trump and Paul Ryan to continue their attack on our healthcare and working families.”

I can just hear Trump talking to Ryan, saying, “I dunno, Paul, look at those numbers in Ben Ray Luján’s report. Maybe we should change our ways.”

On Dec. 29, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales sent a folksy plea for dinero. “My dad George always used to say, `Hoy por ellos mañana por nosotros.’ He believed that if we looked out for one another we could all have access to the American Dream. Today, too many of our friends, families and neighbors are falling through the cracks. To change that we need to be courageous enough to take a new path of shared responsibility, to bring forward policy that invests in children, diversifies our economy so New Mexicans will have upward mobility in good-paying careers and supports a healthcare system that focuses more on high-quality, accessible care.”

That would be a lot for any lieutenant governor to achieve, considering the state constitution gives the second in command virtually no power beyond breaking ties in the state Senate.

The bulk of campaign fund solicitations I am getting this year comes from Democrats running for Congress in Albuquerque’s 2nd Congressional District. My favorite one last week came from candidate Pat Davis, who seemed sheepishly aware of the ridiculous clutter of holiday solicitations from politicians. The subject line of his Dec. 29 mailing was simply “Sorry.”

The holidays are over and my in-box has seen a lull from politicos with their hands out. But we all know that next critical deadline is just around the corner.

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