ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A few political ads from this election season have one thing in common: the topic of murdered New Mexico children.
In the home stretch to Election Day, political ads are dominating local TV, slamming candidates left and right. Some of those ads are pulling at your heart strings, using the deaths of local kids killed over the last year.
The one-year anniversary of Lilly Garcia’s road rage shooting death was last week. Jaydon Chavez-Silver, a Manzano High teen was killed in a shooting last June. Victoria Martens’ death was just months ago.
In a recent political ad, the mothers of Chavez-Silver and Garcia tearfully recount the deaths of their children. Then they slam Democrat Senate Majority Floor Leader Michael Sanchez.
Chavez-Silver’s mother says Sanchez “cradles criminals.” Garcia’s mother agrees and the text on the screen says Sanchez is “soft on crime.” They say he lacks empathy and needs to go.
In another ad released in September, Martens’ murder is used to slam Children, Youth, and Families Department and Gov. Susana Martinez. A little girl asks her mom, “Mommy, what happened to Victoria?” The mother explains the entity that’s supposed to protect New Mexico children isn’t doing enough thanks to the Governor.
Tim Krebs, who is a University of New Mexico professor and chair of the Political Science Department, examined the spots.
In regards to the newer spot targeting Sanchez, Krebs says, “It doesn’t appear that they’re even trying to link a legislative response or a legislative non-response to Senator Sanchez.”
Krebs says the ad lacks an explanation as to how Sanchez “cradles criminals,” which could deter viewers.
He also says ads like this are ineffective because only those who live in the senate district can vote in that race. Sanchez is out of Dist. 29, which encompasses much of Valencia County.
As for the Martens ad, Krebs says, “Even though it’s exploiting a very negative situation, it’s a bit more effective in terms of a negative spot because it’s more relevant to the actions of the governor [and the administration].”
Yet, Gov. Martinez isn’t on the ballot this year.
Overall, Krebs says, there’s two reactions he imagines most people would have to these kinds of ads.
“One reaction is, it’s horrible…this is horrible that these children and these situations are being exploited for political purposes,” he said.
The other is a reaction of anger toward the current leaders of our state, blaming them for these awful crimes. He says that’s the reaction the ad makers are after in order to sway your vote.
KRQE News 13 asked Krebs if he thinks it’s too late in the game for these kind of ads to do much persuading. He said it’s not impossible and similar ads ran in the past have made for a surprise victor.