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Political roundup, Feb. 20, 2018

February 20, 2018

Spoiler alert: The American Federation of Teachers New Mexico will announce its endorsements on Tuesday, but one riled Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor has already dropped a spoiler.

Jeff Carr of Eagle Nest says the union is not endorsing him.

In an email to supporters on Monday, Carr said the union that once elected him its treasurer will instead endorse state Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City.

Describing himself as betrayed by the union’s leadership, Carr wrote: “Union values do not include throwing their brother under the bus.”

The union had a measured response to Carr’s complaint.

“While we are disappointed in Mr. Carr’s reaction to our decision to endorse a different candidate in the race for lieutenant governor, our choice, like Mr. Carr, is also a former union educator,” it said in a statement. “We stand by our endorsement process, which included a comprehensive questionnaire, an interview by the AFT NM Committee on Political Education with representation from each of our constituencies, and an endorsement vote by the statewide Executive Council of AFT NM. It was a fair, transparent, and multi-step process. We wish him the best of luck in his race.”

For the union, endorsing Morales may make plenty of sense. Whether it will matter much remains to be seen. After all, Carr pointed out that the union endorsed Morales when he ran in the Democratic primary for governor in 2014. Morales finished fourth in a five-way race.

Tax man: Mick Rich, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, is airing radio ads this week criticizing incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich for opposing tax cuts approved by Congress late last year.

The GOP has been hoping workers will remember where the extra money popping up in their paychecks is coming from when they head to the polls later this year.

And the ad (https://goo.gl/W78Pt4) is the latest sign that the Republican Party hopes to put Democrats on defense over voting against a tax bill that is credited with boosting workers’ take-home pay.

“Recently, Congress has cut taxes for small businesses and individuals, reined in job-killing regulations and freed companies to reinvest in America,” Rich, of Albuquerque, says in the new 60-second spot that mostly highlights his career as a contractor. “Yet our New Mexico senator has fought these cuts and New Mexico is being left behind.”

Indeed, Heinrich voted against the tax bill.

But he argued there was good reason, accusing the GOP at the time of “recklessly blowing up the deficit in order to reward their wealthy friends and corporations with a tax cut that they do not need.”

Americans seem leery, too.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll (https://goo.gl/bMFvSn) found that most Americans believe the legislation is a windfall for the wealthy and big businesses. Meanwhile, 55 percent of respondents said the tax plan “makes me more interested in voting for Democrats” or “will not change my interest in voting.”

Historically challenged: Republicans seem to have trouble when it comes to praising one epochal figure in American history.

President Donald Trump recently implied that the famous abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, was alive. Douglass died in 1895.

And Ryan Cangiolosi, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico, sent a statement mangling Douglass’ name.

Cangiolosi wrote: “As we begin Black History Month, we reflect on remarkable Republicans from history like the abolitionist Fredrick Douglas and honor his legacy with vigilance in our commitment to freedom for every American.”

Cangiolosi went zero for two in his tribute, misspelling both Frederick and Douglass.

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