After months of television ads, YouTube pre-rolls and political mailers, the election is past us.

New Mexico’s voter turnout was 52 percent, lower than the last midterms, but not too shabby. That turnout was even higher in Socorro County at 54 percent. Over 6,000 people showed up to vote in our county last week. Harding County had 67 percent turnout, with 422 of their 629 registered voters coming out.

Las Cruces Sun-News reporter Justin Garcia noted on Twitter that he saw lots of New Mexico State University students taking advantage of same-day voter registration to make their voices heard. Here in Socorro, I was hanging around a precinct waiting for a friend to finish voting and started chatting with one of the poll workers. She told me she’d seen plenty of New Mexico Tech students very determined to vote that day, patiently going through the same-day registration process.

Of course, that’s all anecdotal. But if you want some real research on young voters, I’ve got it.

Nationally, youth turnout is likely the second highest in a midterm election in 30 years, according to Tufts Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. They estimated that 27 percent of people ages 18-29 voted across the country. As a person who falls in that age range, heck yeah to the youth being invested in our little ‘d’ democracy!

Elections are of course one-part voters, one-part spending, and boy, was there spending.

Nationwide, Congressional candidates received $2.4 billion, with a b, and disbursed $1.8 billion from January 2021 through June 2022, according to the Federal Election Commission. Political parties received $1.4 billion, and PACs raised $5.5 billion.

Here in little old New Mexico, KRQE reported in September that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her challenger Mark Ronchetti had already spent a combined $6 million. By last week, the Secretary of State’s website showed Ronchetti had spent $6.8 million and Lujan Grisham had spent $5.8 million, far outpacing the next highest spender, our new attorney general elect Raul Torrez, whose campaign spent a not-so-measly $725,000.


One of the things campaigns spend all those dollars on are political mailers. I managed to get very few at my home address. Strangely the newspaper office received plenty, plus more than one person wanted to show me some of the mailers they received.

Some were cotton candy-sweet, proclaiming the many ways the candidate would heroically fix the problems of our state with candidates’ friendly faces chatting with voters. Some were nasty, proclaiming the many ways their opponent would destroy the state of New Mexico.

Fear and anger are good motivators, I suppose. As much as all of us decry the nastiness of mudslinging, it must be effective, right? Why else would anyone do it?

The mailer that irritated me the most was not meaner or more boastful than any other mailer. What irritated me was this paid political mailer pretended to be a free newspaper, complete with page numbers, subheads, photos with cutlines and photo credits, and, to keep it all legal, a small disclaimer that it had been paid for by a political campaign below the fold. Notably, there were no bylines on any of the “news” stories.

Now there’s nothing wrong with a candidate attacking their opponent’s talking points. That is part of how they persuade you to elect them, after all. But it does seem disingenuous to design a mailer to look like a special election edition of an imaginary newspaper.

I wonder how successful such faux news mailers are in areas where the local newspaper has closed up shop.