With 10 days before the June 7 primary, and with early voting having already begun, both Raúl Torrez and Brian Colón are airing negative campaign ads against each other as they run to be the next New Mexico Attorney General. It’s a sprint to the finish line.
In early April, and before Brian Colón began his TV Ads, Raúl Torrez began an aggressive TV media campaign that repeatedly faulted Colón as a “career politician” who lacks “experience in public safety.” Torrez secured the endorsement of Democrat Senator Martin Heinrich who went so far as to do a TV commercial for Torrez saying that Torrez had his vote. Torrez has run an advertising campaign running at least 6 sperate commercials featuring him alone, one featuring Heinrich and negative ads against Colón.
On May 24, Raúl Torrez began to run his most negative campaign ad of the election thus far. The ad is very dramatic and emotional and it is as misleading as it is emotional. It is a 30 second commercial. It has the mother of UNM baseball player Jackson Weller, who was killed Darian Bashir outside a Nob Hill bar in 2019, appearing and looking directly into the camera telling Brian Colón to stop lying about the record of Raúl Torrez and that Torrez convicted Brashir who was sentenced to life in prison. The truth is, Torrez did not try the case himself but took credit for the conviction. What is not disclosed in the ad is that two years before the murder of Jackson Weller, Darian Bashir was arrested for the shooting of another man outside a downtown bar. Although Bashir was charged with the first murder, he never went to trial in that case and was released. A District Court Judge found that the office of District Attorney Raúl Torrez failed to comply with court ordered deadlines, did not interview witnesses on time, did not respond to motions as required by court orders with an unlicensed attorney appointed by Torrez handling the case. The first case was dismissed, Brashire was released and Brashire then killed Jackson Weller.
A search for a link to the campaign ad yielded no results for a link.
Brian Colón has had 7 campaign commercials. The first was an emotional one where Colón describes his personal struggles, being raised in poverty and having to hock his dad’s wedding ring. In the second ad, Colón talks about a “shield and sword” approach to prosecutions and protecting the general public. Colón’s 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6ht ads are far more effective TV ads. Other ads go into great detail about Torrez’s “failed prosecution rates” as Bernalillo County District Attorney and his failure to keep the public safe. Statistics prepared by the District Court reveal the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office under Raúl Torrez has a 65% combined dismissal, acquittal and mistrial rate with cases charge by grand juries. A recent ad features Colón going into great deal about why his diverse experience make him the most qualified.
On May 27, Brian Colón began to run a TV ad challenging the ethics of Raúl Torrez and alleging prosecutorial misconduct when he was an Assistant United States Attorney for New Mexico. In 2012, United States Federal Judge Cristina Armijo accused then Assistant United States Attorney Raúl Torrez prosecuting a drug case and trying to “unfairly alter” a transcript of a recorded encounter between drug agents and an Amtrak train passenger suspected of carrying a large quantity of crack cocaine. At the center of the controversy was Raúl Torrez asking 2 Federal law enforcement agents to make changes to a transcript. Torrez then had a new transcript prepared with the changes and informed the judge during the hearing that he wasn’t offering it as evidence but an “aid” for listening to the recording. Defense counsel objected, telling the judge “They’re trying to make an illegal search legal by making changes in the transcript.” The court agreed with the defense and entered an order. The United State Attorney filed a motion asking Judge Armijo to withdraw her findings about Torrez and requested that the original order and the language be deleted. Armijo honored the request. The day after Judge Armijo filed her amended order, the United States Attorney office dismissed the felony drug possession case against the Defendant. A few months later, Torrez resigned and it has never been revealed if Torrez was asked to resign.
Below is a link to review the Colón ad:
As is the case with any political campaign ad, no matter how effective, it absolutely useless unless the candidate has enough campaign contributions to air it on TV. For that reason BRIAN COLÓN has the upper hand to get his message out the last few days of the campaign.
According to the latest campaign finance reports, Colón has collected more than $1 million in campaign funds between April and October of last year. Colón has been given sizeable financial support from out-of-state law firms and attorneys in national firms. The political campaign committee of current Attorney General Hector Balderas, who is term limited, contributed a total of $10,000 to Colón. Colón had $911,546 cash on hand at the end of the May 9 reporting period. As of May 9, Colón reported spending $589,242. Most of the spending has gone to political consultants and to make media buys.
The link to the most recent Campaign Finance Report for Brian Colón is here:
Raúl Torrez has attracted significant contributions from in-state lawyers. Torrez reported contributions of $636,772 between April and October of last year. As of May 9, Torrez’s expenditures totaled $694,511. Most of the spending was to pay political consultants and make media buys. As of May 9, the Torrez’s campaign reported having $382,305.
The link to the most recent Campaign Finance Report for Raúl Torrez is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The race between both Colón and Torrez was bound to be hard fought in that both have expressed they are interested in eventually becoming Governor or going on to serve in congress. Both State Auditor Brian Colón and District Attorney Raúl Torrez are well-funded and their personal attacks on each other will continue until election day.
Given the back-and-forth poll numbers, the margin of error of the polls, the high number of “undecideds”, the amount of money being raised and spent, the race for Attorney General is still very fluid. Anything can happen that could change the dynamics of the race, including a negative ad, and have a major impact on the number of undecides.
It is likely whoever wins the Democratic Primary on June 7, 2022 will likely become the next Attorney General.