In her first campaign commercial since Mark Ronchetti won the Republican nomination for governor, incumbent Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham recruited a Bernalillo law enforcement officer to do her dirty work, attacking the GOP challenger for lacking the “experience” needed to solve New Mexico’s crime problem.
And what a crime problem it is.
New Mexico consistently ranks among the least safe states in the union in per-capita violent crime, second only to Alaska (which has such a low population that such rankings are statistically insignificant).
“Do you think a TV weatherman has any idea how to fight crime in New Mexico?” asks former Bernalillo police chief Tom Romero.
The ad drips with irony for anyone who can Google “most violent cities in New Mexico.” Boasting 35 years of law enforcement experience in a city with the tenth highest violent crime rate in the state, Romero proves to be the perfect pitchman for a governor whose 17 years’ experience in politics has been about as effective as Romero’s in law enforcement.
“I’ve seen governor Lujan Grisham toughen penalties and give police the funding they need. She also knows the job isn’t done. Now we have to watch Mark Ronchetti, a TV weatherman, attacking the governor on crime? Mark Ronchetti only knows which way the wind blows.”–Tom Romero, 35 years law enforcement experience
The ad isn’t what one might expect from a sitting governor with a multi-million-dollar war chest. It avoids any mention of the policies Ronchetti has proposed or the effects MLG has overseen as governor. The meat of the ad is innuendo; the closer: wit.
By “toughening penalties” Romero apparently means bail reform and ending qualified immunity. By “funding for law enforcement” he omits the fact that money is aplenty in the state and no amount of it has made a difference when it comes to recruiting. It turns out not many people want a thankless job in one of the most dangerous states in the country. That’s not a failure of clever recruiting tactics. It’s a failure of leadership.
As is often the case with career politicians trying to muddle their failed records, what they don’t say speaks louder than what they do.
A typical political ad splashes headlines and citations from the media or independent studies across grainy black-and-white photos of their opponent to show that the statements made in the ad are factual, while their opponent is out of touch. Not so here. The black-and-white photo is there, but MLG’s well-funded campaign couldn’t find a single headline indicating she has had any measurable effect on crime in the Land of Enchantment since she took office.
Relying on “experience” rather than “results” is an implicit admission that she doesn’t have a record to advertise. But more importantly, it shows that she has no other ammo against Ronchetti, and that she would rather take an ad hominem approach than talk about ideas.
Romero complains that he has to watch “a TV weatherman attacking the governor on crime” (as if Ronchetti is the only person, with or without political experience, who has criticized the governor for her failures on this issue). Noticeably, he doesn’t criticize any of the policy positions Ronchetti is advocating. The ad avoids merit and relies on “experience” because spending decades in government jobs is their only measure of success.
Ronchetti has vowed to stop the revolving door of criminality by ending “Catch and Release,” repealing sanctuary state policies, closing the border, restoring qualified immunity for officers, appointing Conservative judges, and fighting for tougher laws for violent criminals.
These aren’t generic talking points. They’re in proposals that stand in direct contrast to the governor’s own approach to crime. And she can’t touch them with a ten foot pole, because doing so would require that she explain why her policies have failed and why Ronchetti won’t work.
Experience is a valuable tool in life, but MLG has shown that experience in and of itself does not make your policies sound or your leadership effective. If it did, she would have results to campaign on, not accusations of being a foreigner in the political swamp that has made New Mexico one of the most violent states in the country.
Categories: 2022 Governor's Race