Political Attack Ads Work, People Believe the Lies

It was reported that New Mexico political candidates and committees have filed final spending reports for the 2016 general election with the New Mexico Secretary of State. (See “PACs spent big in final election days”, “Negative ads abounded as campaigns came to close on election day”, December 13, 2016 Albuquerque Journal, Metro & New Mexico section, page C-1).

Voters say they hate negative political advertising, but negative attack ads do work and all too often voters believe the lies, especially when a candidate who the negative ads are about has no money to refute the lies.

The Republican pac Advance New Mexico run by Republican political operative and the Governor’s political consultant Jay McCleskey spent more than $2 million since January 2016 of this year and $281,000 after November for the November general election.

Advance New Mexico targeted Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez of Belen, a strong opponent of Governor Martinez.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Sanchez lost his reelection bid.

Advance New Mexico sponsored negative ads with highly disputed claims that Senator Sanchez was insensitive with his treatment of crime victims and claimed without proof that Sanchez traveled to Hawaii at taxpayers’ expense.

Senator Sanchez insisted that he has never even been to Hawaii.

Three years ago, I was on the receiving end of similar negative campaign ads and the Governor’s political machine.

Two lies about me were that I stayed in a “castle” in Canada 20 years ago on a county sponsored trip and that I was responsible for police misconduct.

Jay McCleskey was Mayor Berry’s campaign manager or political consultant for both Berry’s elections for Mayor.

Review of the City Clerk’s campaign finance reports from 3 years ago on the City web site shows Berry raised $904,623 in private donations and paid McCleskey Strategies over $590,000 and another $40,000 to Public Opinion Strategies, a McCleskey company.

With over $900,000 to spend, Berry was able to run negative TV commercials, negative radio ads and negative campaign mailers for six weeks against me.

I was given $340,000 in public finance for my campaign and did not have enough money to refute any of Berry’s negative ads.

Only 19% of eligible voters voted in the lowest voter turnout election since 1977 and Berry’s margin of victory was proportionate to what we both each spent.

I will not be surprised if Republican Dan Lewis and Republican Wayne Johnson ask for assistance from Jay McCleskey to help them run for Mayor of Albuquerque.

The influence of money in our municipal elections allowed by the US Supreme Court decision Citizens United is destroying our democracy.

Political campaign fundraising and big money influence are warping our election process.

Money spent becomes equated with the final vote.

Money drives the message, affects voter turnout and ultimately the final outcome.

Albuquerque needs campaign finance reform.

My December 13, 2017 blog article “2017 Mayor’s Race Needs Public Finance Reform” on PeteDinelli.com makes recommendations on what I feel needs to be done.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.