Ronchetti’s new ad hits MLG where it hurts. The incumbent Democrat started her governorship with a sexual assault scandal that just wouldn’t go away. They denied it, called it desperate and defamatory, even tried discrediting the accuser. But in the end, they cut a check–many of them actually–totaling $150,000, paid from campaign contributions.
Because the case never went to court, there was no judicial ruling of fault, no witness testimonies, no findings of fact–only accusations and counter-accusations. The campaign denied the claims, accuser, James Hallinan, doubled down on them. For Republicans, it was difficult to utilize the scandal as a political bludgeon, and nobody managed to get any leverage from it.
Officially, the governor settled the case “due to the expense of litigating business disputes and to prevent any distraction during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Unofficially, the campaign knew that losing in court would cost even more, drag out the issue even longer, and look much worse than forking over the cash early.
What actually happened depends on who you ask. Did the soon-to-be-governor “pour” water on Hallinan, grab his crotch, then mock him for having a small penis, or did she “spill” water on him, brush it off, and laugh at the awkwardness of the whole situation? Who knows. Everybody’s a liar when there’s political points to score, reputations at stake, and money to be made.
The story made national headlines with every new development in the case, but the scandal itself never really hurt MLG. That’s because Lujan Grisham is a woman, and her alleged victim is not only male but gay. This fact takes the “sexual” out of “sexual assault.”
Calling MLG a “crotch-grabber” is crass. Calling her a sexual “abuser” is laughable (the governor is five feet tall in cowboy boots. Calling her an idiot who fucked with the wrong staffer is about as close as any reasonable person has come to accurately describing the incident.
Mark Ronchetti’s campaign ad addressed the issue masterfully. It’s not crass or inaccurate, and distills the issue into one poignant question to viewers: if you did this, would you still have a job?
Categories: 2022 Governor's Race