Poll: Gov. Lujan Grisham holds an eight-point lead
As the final week leading into the Nov. 8 general election begins, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has an eight-point lead over GOP challenger Mark Ronchetti, according to the latest Albuquerque Journal poll released over the weekend. The lead is a one-point increase from the Journal’s August poll. Both were conducted by Albuquerque-based Research & Polling Inc. “We can’t really say there’s been no movement from August to October, but we’re basically back to where we started,” Research & Polling Inc. President Brian Sanderoff told the Journal. “The race is not over, but I’d much rather be in her position than in his.” Specifically, 50% of surveyed voters said they would cast ballots for Lujan Grisham; 42% for Ronchetti; 5% were undecided; and 3% planned to vote for Libertarian candidate Karen Bedonie. Among Hispanic women, 65% planned to vote for Lujan Grisham, whereas 56% of white men planned to vote for Ronchetti. Voters with college and graduate degrees also were more likely to vote for Lujan Grisham. The governor polled better in the Albuquerque metro area, the north central region and the Las Cruces/southwest region; Ronchetti was more popular in the conservative east side of the state. Voters were split in the northwest corner, Sanderoff said. President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit New Mexico on Nov. 3, where the White House says he will deliver remarks on student debt relief and participate in a Democratic Party of New Mexico rally with the governor in Albuquerque. As of Saturday, the Secretary of State’s Office reported 216,694 people have cast early and absentee ballots—close to 16% of registered voters—54% of whom were registered Democrats; 33% Republicans; and 11.4% DTS (Declined to State), with the remaining voters either registered as Libertarians or other. In Santa Fe County, 26,445 people—26.3% of registered voters—have cast ballots. Voters have until Nov. 3 to request an absentee ballot.
With Halloween comes candy, and with Halloween candy comes warnings of drug-infused Halloween candy (the Atlantic magazine has an interview with a leading researcher on this particularly American fear; McSweeney’s has a satirical take on it). While the federal Drug Enforcement Agency recently issued a warning about rainbow-colored fentanyl particularly targeted at children and youth, the New Mexico Poison & Drug Information Center on Friday reported an uptick in cannabis-related emergency calls, particularly this Halloween season—the first since adult-use cannabis became legal in the state. “We had zero cases one week, and then suddenly 10 the next,” Director Susan Smolinske, PharmD, said in a statement. “Six of those cases were children, and we know for sure that at least one was an incident of a child who thought they were eating Halloween candy.” Smolinske says health officials aren’t worried people are deliberately handing out cannabis-infused candy to children. Rather, “that in the frenzy of sorting through all their candy to share and trade, a child might mistake grandma’s cannabis chocolate bar as part of their haul.” The department offers steps adults can take to protect children from accidentally eating potentially dangerous cannabis candy and also reminds people to call the New Mexico Poison & Drug Information Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222 if they suspect a child has ingested cannabis. “We want parents to know we are a safe place to call, and we do not involve the police when someone contacts us for help,” Smolinske says. “The health of the children comes first.” Tangentially related: Hershey’s mini bars became New Mexico’s favorite Halloween candy this year, outstripping last year’s dubious choice of Jolly Ranchers.
FBI investigates laced letter sent to advocacy group
The FBI confirmed on Friday it is investigating antisemitic mail covered in a chemical substance sent last week to Conservation Voters New Mexico. According to a news release from CVNM, the organization received the anonymous letter last Wednesday, which included “offensive and threatening language” directed at state Rep. Nathan Small, the Democratic Party of New Mexico and CVNM, along with antisemitic symbols and an unidentified chemical substance. CVNM immediately notified authorities and evacuated and quarantined its Santa Fe office. No one was harmed, CVNM says, and initial analysis from the FBI indicates the sample from the chemical substance “contained ingredients of a potent toxin used in terrorist attacks,” but was in inert form. “We are relieved that no one was harmed, ” CVNM Executive Director Demis Foster said in a statement, “but whoever carried out this vicious act was clearly intending harm. We want to be completely clear: Someone has attempted to cause serious harm to people in our organization as part of a threat against Representative Small and Democrats more broadly. There is no place in a functioning democracy for anyone to resort to the use of terror because they disapprove of a candidate for public office. It’s shocking and terrifying that we have to experience such a malice-filled attack on our democracy.” Small also described himself as “grateful” no one was harmed, but said it was “devastating” CVNM “would be targeted and attacked in this vicious manner. I know that the incredible advocates for the people of our state, our land, our air, and our water at CVNM will not be deterred from this important work by threats and intimidation, but we cannot allow the dangerous and inflammatory political rhetoric that leads to this kind of attack to continue.”
COVID-19 by the numbers
Reported Oct 28: New cases: 490; 627,203 total cases; Deaths: nine; Santa Fe County has had 359 total deaths; there have been 8,642 fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 110. Patients on ventilators: one. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent Oct. 27 “community levels” map, which uses a combination of hospital and case rate metrics to calculate COVID-19 risk for the prior seven-day period, nine New Mexico counties are now “yellow,” aka have medium risk levels (two more than last week): Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia, Torrance, Socorro, Cibola, Grant, De Baca and San Juan. The rest of New Mexico’s counties continue to have green, aka low, levels. 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; curative testing sites; COVID-19 treatment information; 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.
Here’s the trailer for Steven Spielberg’s 1982 seminal scary movie Poltergeist. And here’s the link to reserve free tickets to a 6:30 pm showing tonight at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. For even more spooky fodder, be sure to check out the Dos Spookqueños podcast, which features New Mexico-based paranormal stories (along with humor), particularly its Pumpkin Spice Halloween special.
As regular readers of this newsletter know, Santa Fe and New Mexico receive steady and often heady coverage from various travel and lifestyle magazines. Some fair share of Santa Fe’s coverage follows efforts by local tourism officials to proselytize the city’s charms, as detailed last week at the City of Santa Fe’s Occupancy Tax Advisory Board meeting. According to a Tourism Santa Fe marketing report for September and October, the public relations team’s efforts of late have focused on promoting fall events like Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta and Indigenous Peoples Day, while “preparing significant outreach themed around Santa Fe’s unique holiday traditions and skiing experience.” A third quarter marketing report notes the office’s success last summer in partnering with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, along with the state tourism department, to host journalists for Santa Fe Indian Market. “Hosting these media participants for the Indian Market resulted in a significant amount of media coverage that quickly went live both during the event and within two weeks after, providing a major boost to the Q3 metrics,” the report notes. “Top publications featuring the destination this quarter included Travel+Leisure, Vogue, WWD, Forbes, Vine Pair, Phoenix Magazine and more resulting primarily from press trips to the destination.” The state tourism department also reported positive outcomes last week: a record 39 million visitors in 2021, generating an estimated $7.2 billion in direct spending, recovering to 97% of pre-pandemic 2019 levels. According to a new report, of that $7.2 billion, lodging spending (including the value of second homes) accounted for $2.3 billion; Food and beverage purchases comprised 23% of each visitor dollar, with retail spending averaging 17%.
Chew on this
A California restaurant with cuisine “inspired” by New Mexico has sparked outrage and a petition over cultural appropriation. Tres Hermanas Ojai will open this winter in Ojai, California and, according to its website, will feature “food and drinks inspired by the Land of Enchantment” (the website includes a photo of Los Poblanos in Albuquerque). The website continues: “New Mexico’s food and culture is truly special. There’s nothing like it.” To that end, the restaurant says it will “offer quality food and delicious cocktails inspired by the enchanting state of New Mexico, served with the laid back, warm hospitality that is at the core of the Ojai Valley.” the chile? Sourced from New Mexico. The restaurant’s name? Ditto: “When visiting New Mexico, you will see the influence of the ‘Three Sisters’ almost everywhere you go. From the name of a trio of mountains, to organizations, to items on many menus, New Mexico continues to honor the Indigenous North American practice of companion planting corn, beans and squash.” Apparently, Ojai’s Latino community isn’t having it. LA Taco reports a petition accuses the restaurant’s owners of “using ‘New Mexico as a mask for appropriative actions, ignores important historical context, further marginalizing Indigenous and Latinx communities.” Among other requests, the petition asks the owners to “revise their logo and business name to remove elements that are of Indigenous and Latinx significance.” According to the story, the owners say they are “currently working with and in deep communication with our contacts and vendors in New Mexico. We are engaging with cultural anthropologists and with food culture specialists. We are researching the best and most appropriate non-profit organization to make benefactors of our future restaurant.”
The National Weather Service forecasts a clement end to October, with sunny skies, a high temperature near 57 degrees and northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. The next few days should bring comparable weather, with a turn toward rain and snow at the end of the week.
Thanks for reading! While The Word thinks some of these Airbnb OMG! Fund recipients look intriguing, she doesn’t understand the appeal of staying in a Modern Cereal Lover’s Paradise (slide four in the slideshow at the bottom of the story).