Morning Word

Ronchetti Outraises Lujan Grisham With Less Than a Month To Go

Proposed changes to Legislature’s harassment policy fails

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Ronchetti outraises Gov. Lujan Grisham

Over the last month, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronchetti surpassed incumbent Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in campaign contributions, according to the candidates’ latest round of finance reports, filed yesterday. Ronchetti’s report shows he raised about $1.45 million between Sept. 6 and Oct. 3, and has a closing balance of nearly $2.5 million heading into the Nov. 8 general election. Lujan Grisham raised about $1.1 million during the same period and has a closing balance of about $1.6 million. All told, Ronchetti has raised more than $7.8 million during the campaign; Lujan Grisham over $11.1 million—making this year’s race for governor possibly the most expensive in the state’s history, the Albuquerque Journal says. “BOOM!” Ronchetti tweeted last night. “We just out raised the sitting governor in the most important financial period of the election.” The state Democratic party, in turn, called upon Ronchetti yesterday to return donations from Republican electors who signed fake electoral certificates for Donald Trump after the 2020 election. (Ronchetti also received $100 from Santa Fe resident and Trump lawyer John Eastman). “Mark Ronchetti should immediately return the money his campaign received from known fake electors and seditionists,” DPNM Communications Director Daniel Garcia said in a statement. “The longer MAGA Mark keeps these fraudsters’ funds, the clearer it becomes that these really are the people he wants in his inner circle: election deniers and extremists.” Lujan Grisham, the Journal notes, received large donations from labor unions; oil and gas companies; and cannabis businesses, with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Conservation Voters New Mexico and Best Daze in Santa Fe each donating more than $10,000. Lujan Grisham and Ronchetti are scheduled to have their second televised debate at 6:30 pm today on Channel 7, KOAT. Libertarian candidate Karen Bedonie will not participate in that debate; she raised about $15,000 in the most recent campaign period.

Legislators vote down changes to anti-harassment policy

State lawmakers on the Legislative Council yesterday came to a stalemate over proposed changes to the Legislature’s anti-harassment policy, quashing a proposition to retain an attorney with experience in harassment claims to serve as an additional voting member for investigative subcommittees. This change, proponents argued, would provide the committee with a needed tie-breaking vote as the four-person interim committees have a Republican/Democrat split. Opponents, however, expressed concern yesterday at the prospect of a non-legislator voting in such matters. Moreover, Senate Minority Whip Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, said the current interim committee composition requires bipartisan agreement in order for matters to proceed and should stay that way. “You’re possibly ruining someone’s political career and maybe their employment if there’s a finding,” Brandt said. “It’s a serious thing.” The discussion over changes to the Legislature’s anti-harassment policy comes in the wake of fallout in the investigation of harassment allegations against state Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, in which a report leaked to SFR indicates an investigator found sufficient evidence against the legislator, but no action was taken. Last month, Ivey-Soto resigned as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, amid calls for his removal from the Legislature from a coalition of advocacy groups.

State receives $74.4 mil from feds for biz development

The state Economic Development Department announced yesterday it has received up to $74.4 million from the US Department of Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative for capital assistance and investment in socially and economically disadvantaged businesses. According to a news release, the grant award comes through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 as amended by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and addresses the “scarcity of investment capital available to very small businesses and those from traditionally underserved communities” as identified in the department’s 20-year strategic plan. The state says it has retained California-based Avivar Capital, which specializes in impact investing and racial equity, to help assess equity capital needs in the state’s business landscape and help develop a VC/Equity program; the economic development department has also solicited proposals from investment funds with capacity to work with underserved businesses. Under the grant agreement, $9 million has been specifically allocated to EDD’s Collateral Assistance Program, which prioritizes business owners who are women, US Veterans, ethnic minorities or part of other underserved groups. “Small businesses are the backbone of so many New Mexico communities, but they often have difficulty finding and qualifying for the assistance they need to grow and create jobs,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “We now have more capital to support small businesses, making them more resilient and better able to serve the needs of their communities.”

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Oct. 11New cases: 870 (includes the three-day holiday weekend); 621,166 total cases; Deaths: one; Santa Fe County has had 352 total deaths; there have been 8,596 fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 64. Patients on ventilators: six. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent Oct. 6 “community levels” map, which uses a combination of hospital and case rate metrics to calculate COVID-19 risk for the prior seven-day period, New Mexico’s COVID-19 outlook remains unchanged from last week: Rio Arriba and De Baca counties are rated “yellow” (medium); all other counties are green (low levels); no counties are red (high). Corresponding recommendations for each level can be found here.

Resources: CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; Self-report a positive COVID-19 test result; Curative testing sites; COVID-19 treatment info; NMDOH immunocompromised tool kit. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453.

You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Listen up

Our Land, from New Mexico PBS, takes a closer look the efforts to protect Chaco Canyon—efforts that stretch back more than a decade, and which include an appeal in a case challenging Trump-era drilling in the area, recently heard in the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. On the most recent episode, Our Land host Laura Paskus speaks with Pueblo of Acoma Historic Preservation Office Director and Conservation Voters New Mexico Board President Theresa Pasqual in the first of several interviews with people who are fighting to protect Chaco.

Thoma Foundation founders make top 200 art collectors list

ArtNews includes Thoma Foundation founders and board heads Carl and Marilynn Thoma in its 33rd edition of the top 200 art collectors in the world. The newspaper compiles the list, it says, “by consulting various industry insiders: dealers, advisers, auction house specialists, curators and others.” Based in Chicago, Illinois and Santa Fe, the Thoma Foundation, founded in 2014, reports having lent more than 1,000 works of art to over 115 exhibitions across the globe. It also has awarded 75 grants to nonprofit organizations, along with funding to more than 20 individuals for scholarly research; and has hosted 26 exhibitions at its various spaces. Those spaces include Art Vault in Santa Fe (540 S. Guadalupe St.), which features seasonal rotating exhibitions of algorithmic, interactive and video art. Carl Thoma became interested in cutting-edge art as a result of his work in Silicon Valley. “You just knew this art would become the mainstream one day,” he tells ARTnews. The couple’s collection also includes Art of the Spanish Americas; Japanese bamboo; and post-war painting and sculpture. Neither Thoma, Carl tells ArtNews, are interested in selling their artworks for monetary gain. “We’re buying it to share with the public,” he says.

GRRM award-winning sci-fi short to screen at SFIFF

Opening night for the Santa Fe International Film Festival (Oct. 19-23) includes a showing of Night of the Cooters, produced by George RR Martin and directed by Vincent D’Onofrio, who also stars. The 8 pm showing will include a Q & A with Martin, D’Onofrio and cast, Deadline reports. In August 2021, Martin said the film, which is based on a short story by Howard Waldrop and shot entirely on green screen in Santa Fe, had wrapped principal photography before being sent to Trioscope Studios, which provided the animation (here’s a trailer). Last August, the short film won for best sci-fi at the LA Shorts International Film Festival. The story “follows the time when martians invaded Pachuco, Texas in the 1800s.” Martin has a busy month, with a virtual international event celebrating the Targaryen Dynasty on Oct. 24 and an in-person New York event with Neil Gaiman on Oct. 27. As for SFIFF, check out its full schedule here.

The calm before the storm

The National Weather Service forecasts another sunny day with a high temperature near 69 degrees and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. The rest of the week appears similarly calm, but a wetter/colder storm system may arrive this weekend.

Thanks for reading! The Word has been unable to winnow down clips of Dame Angela Lansbury to share following her death yesterday at the age of 96, so: “The Last Word” via the New York Times; her 2015 Olivier Award acceptance speech; and her 2017 performance of “Beauty and the Beast” with the Tabernacle Choir.

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