Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Martinez's Latest Ad Features Dem Mayors

In her latest TV commercial, Gov. Susana Martinez takes a page from the old Pete Domenici playbook and has a couple of Democratic mayors speaking out for her.

No, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales isn't one of them.

There's Las Vegas Mayor Alfonso Ortiz who says, "It's very reassuring that we have a governor who cares for all the people of New Mexico," and former Taos Mayor Darren Cordova, who says, "She's one of us, especially in time of need."

It doesn't take a political genius to figure out that this is a direct appeal to Hispanic voters, especially those in Northern New Mexico. Martinez didn't win a majority of northern Hispanics in 2010, but she won a big enough share to help put her over the top in a state where Democrats have a big edge in voter registration.

Also notable is the difference in tone between Martinez's TV ads (so far) and what she's saying in fund-raising appeals and even in statements to the media. Her TV spots are all positive and, in the case of this one, bipartisanship. (Her first ad was a soft biographical spot). Neither one even mentioned any of the five Dems running against her.

But away from the television ads, Team Susana hasn't shied away from talk about "union thugs" and describing opponents in terms like "far left fringe candidate" etc.

I guess she's talking to two difference audiences. With the TV ads she's trying to persuade casual viewers, mainly Democrats and independents to come over. People who are reading newspaper stories -- or blog posts -- about politics at this point tend to be those who are deeper into the nitty gritty of politics and aren't put off by tough talk. (And those who are likely to make campaign donations, especially at this point, tend to be partisans who appreciate the red meat.)

While Democrats Alan Webber and Lawrence Rael have run radio ads, none of the Dems have advertised on television yet. One frustrated Democrat I was talking to yesterday said she'd give money to the first of the five to go on TV.

(And, full disclosure: By mid October I will not even turn on my TV set because I'll be so sick of all the campaign ads.)

Here's Martinez's ad: