We had 12 RSVPs, but 47 folks showed up and were brimming with enthusiasm at Thursday’s meeting. Next meeting: June 5, 6:30-8:30pm. Also, Milan Simonich absolutely nailed Rep. Lujan for his fundraising emails, which are clearly annoying, but also apparently riddled with lies. We summarize Simonich’s piece and provide a link. Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Retake on KSFR today.
Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturday 8:30 am, streaming statewide and available on podcast with 15 minutes of bonus coverage. So, today you get a double feature focused on New Mexico’s US Senate race, a compelling interview with our Secretary of State and a report on Milan Simonich’s body slam of Rep. Lujan’s campaign strategy. Maggie’s interview went well over the 30 minute show. The full podcast will be posted on Monday morning, but you can listen in to most of the show at 8:30 this morning..
Now That Is What I Call a Great Organizing Meeting. Almost 50 folks showed up on Thursday, with people coming from Taos, Dixon, Embudo, and Albuquerque. Everyone had several opportunities to offer input on how our Roundhouse advocacy strategy worked and where it could be improved. We then spent an hour laying out future plans and priorities. The enthusiasm was pulsating; the ideas bold. And when we noted that all the great ideas don’t amount to much if there aren’t folks willing to lead and others willing to work, no one backed down. We hatched strategies for advocacy at the PRC, during the Roundhouse Interim Hearings and the 2020 legislative session to follow, and in preparation for the June 2020 primaries. While 2/3 of those attending clearly have climate change as their number one and most urgent priority, there was also recognition that budget, tax and revenue and other justice issues need our support. Pretty much everyone felt that our Rapid Response Network was our most effective legislative strategy with one person after another describing how it had empowered them and had been shared far and wide. And there was a recognition that for Retake to achieve its full potential, we need to vastly expand our base. There seemed to be energy in the room to start that work. We invite others to join us on June 5th to advance this work. See below.
Wednesday, June 5, 6:30-8:30pm. Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, Santa Fe. Snacks and serious planning. We will begin filling in the details on plans for an emerging climate action group, statewide organizing, Interim Hearing strategies and others. We had almost 50 folks join us on Thursday, and between now and the 5th we will have received more input from colleagues in CD-2 and others. On June 5 we will hit the ground running to lay out bold plans. Please plan to join us and RSVP by writing to me at Paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org.
Milan Simonich Body Slams Ben Ray–Big Time
I am guessing most all of you have gotten Ben Ray’s fundraising emails. They come daily and always convey some kind of urgent crisis where either he needs you to take a poll or sign a petition and always stresses the urgent need for your donation….now. I have been alternately annoyed and amused by these emails and had wondered at the truthfulness in some of them, specifically when he was making histrionic claims of being targeted by the GOP. In truth, it hadn’t occurred to me that in all these emails, Lujan entirely bypassed the fact that he actually has a formidable Democratic challenger in a primary, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. The emails were all about how the GOP was targeting him personally. Milan Simonich obviously had a similar reaction to these emails, but did a bit of research and what he found is compelling. He begins with two quotes from recent Lujan emails.
I’ll make this quick,” Luján wrote in one of his solicitations for money. “FIRST: Trump’s hand-picked puppet announced he was running against me for Senate. and “THEN: Mitch McConnell announced he raised $2.1 MILLION to defeat me and hold the Senate.”
The problem with the claims: neither is true. Simonich calls them “laughable.” Simonich points out that Lujan’s obvious ploy is to make the case that he is being targeted by McConnell and Trump and he badly needs your help to preserve the nation. Taking Lujan’s assertion that Trump has “hand-picked” a “puppet candidate, Simonich noted that the “puppet” Republican challenger is Gavin Clarkson, and after Simonich exposes the numerous problems with his candidacy it is hard to believe that any big money GOP donors would invest in him. As a start, Clarkson managed to lose two NM elections within five months in 2018, finishing a distant third in the primary for the GOP nomination for CD-2 House of Reps and then just five months later lost again by a huge margin in his challenge of Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. Not the resume of a formidable, “hand-picked” candidate.
This bit of hyperbole is troubling and feels manipulative, but the reference to McConnell is not just troubling, it is a fabrication. Lujan’s email claims that McConnell is building a fund that explicitly targets Lujan’s campaign. “McConnell announced he raised $2.1 MILLION to defeat me.” The $2.1 million is true, but as Simonich points out, those funds are for McConnell’s own re-election campaign and last I checked McConnell is running for re-election in Kentucky not New Mexico. There is no hand-picked opponent; there is no seven-figure campaign fund targeting Lujan. Simonich closes with the following:
Luján’s fabrications and distortions don’t add up to Watergate, but they are bothersome. His party’s leaders talk about Trump’s many lies as a reason the president is unfit for a second term. Luján, like every politician, will say honesty should be a requirement to hold office. If he means it, he will reform his campaign. I am confident that Luján’s apologists will mount a spirited defense of him and his methods. They haven’t got much to work with.”