KRWG

Goodman: Trump Tactics Don't Look Good In Local Races Either

Nov 18, 2018

Credit Yvette Herrell (left) and Xochitl Torres-Small (right)

Commentary: Donald Trump – who insisted Barack Obama was not a citizen, wildly exaggerated his inauguration crowd, and says he really knows Matthew Whitaker and doesn't know Whitaker at all – witnessed an election the rest of us missed.

In Trump's election, Republicans would have won except that Democrats voted, then went to their cars and changed shirts or hats, then voted again. (I voted with a bushy red beard, then a purple wig.) “It's really a disgrace,” he says . [Note: did he confuse Election Day with Halloween?]

 

Apparently Dems fooled pollworkers and Republican watchers in sufficient numbers to affect Congressional elections. 

 

CD-2 Republican candidate Yvette Herrell is suggesting there was something fishy in our county's absentee-ballot count. (She hasn't returned my call, and the Sun-News has tried in vain to reach her.) I respect Ms. Herrell – who upset her favored primary opponent and ran hard against Xochitl Torres Small – but crying to Fox News while declining to comment to others suggests she's not real confident in her insinuations.

 

She claims the CD-2 result was shocking: she went to bed thinking she'd won.  [Note: since the Republican Party got daily reports, someone should have told her there were a boatload of absentee ballots still to be counted in this county!]

 

I'm a nobody, without her resources. I went to bed thinking Herrell was ahead, but twice during the night I stumbled to my office to look online, and found the 1900-vote margin unchanged with not all precincts fully reporting. I didn't know who would win; but since many uncounted votes were in Xochi's native Las Cruces, I figured she had some chance.

 

Come morning, it was clear that there were nearly 8,000 uncounted absentee ballots in Doña Ana County, plus a few hundred in Cibola. Xochi had gotten 60+ % of the vote here. It seemed likely she'd get at least that share of the 8,000. Dems were 51% of the in-person voters and more than 60% of the absentees, so the odds favored Xochi. Cibola was another county Xochi won big, and soon its report of absentee ballots narrowed the margin. Suddenly Xochi had a great chance to win, and I said so on my Wednesday morning radio show. None of this was rocket science!

 

Ms. Herrell's complaint that votes “magically appeared” seems to be magical thinking, unfounded and unfortunate. We could do with less “fake news” from all sides; and in talking with Ms. Herrell during the campaign, I'd taken her to be more reasonable. She spoke persuasively about working across the aisle. 

 

(The existence of a few provisional ballots doesn't indicate wrongdoing. The vast majority of provisional ballots never count. People mistakenly vote in the wrong county, forget they hadn't registered here, move without notifying officials, or find they've been purged from the rolls.)

 

It helps to have perceived this in real time, even secondhand. Democrat Frances Williams spent hours in the absentee-ballot counting room, as did a Republican. This wasn't 2015's 2,500 absentee ballots, or 2016's 2,900, but a massive 8,517, many delivered on Election Day.

 

If Herrell has real reasons to believe there was dishonesty, I hope she'll articulate them to the Sun-News and the legal authorities. If she doesn't, I hope she'll make a gracious statement saying she doesn't, and wishing Xochi well. 

 

Insinuating dishonesty without a solid basis may feel good; and it seems contagious nationally, particularly among Republicans; but it helps undermine faith in the democratic process. (Is that what Ms. Herrell's advisers want?) At every step, Republicans and the local press witnessed the process; and, despite unusual difficulties, it worked.