At the Piñon Post, we have been longtime watchdogs of politicians in the state, including monitoring their, in many cases, desperate ploys for cash with fundraising asks. One of the most common offenders who likes to pull at New Mexicans’ heartstrings to raise campaign cash is Ben Ray Luján.
During his race for U.S. Senate in 2020, Luján literally begged for donations, writing, “BEGGING you” in one email headline. Another email read, “I’ll beg if I have to. Please, I’m only 429 gifts short. Could you rush a lasting $10?”
But it’s not just the Piñon Post exposing Luján’s “the sky is falling” email messages. Now, even far-left, GOP-hating columnist Milan Simonich of the Santa Fe New Mexican is jumping aboard to call out Luján’s outright desperation with his fundraising strategy, despite his term not ending until 2026.
“With Luján, everything is about money. His abiding interest is collecting cash for his campaigns,” writes Simonich.
He pointed out a specific email from Luján titled “dialing for dollars,” which read, “We have fallen behind on our fundraising goals for our upcoming FEC fundraising deadline. This is a real problem, which could endanger everything we’ve worked so hard to build over the last few years. Instead of pulling Ben Ray away from doing his job to fundraise, we hope to make up this shortfall with your help.”
Simonich went off on Luján, writing the following:
What an admission. An ailing country is trying to recover from a pandemic, but Luján’s camp says the senator needs more of your money, or he might ignore the job he was elected to do.
Imagine the backlash if Republican Congresswoman Yvette Herrell announced she might spend her days soliciting campaign contributions instead of doing her job.
Herrell would take a public whipping. Critics all across New Mexico would call her greedy and pummel her for misguided priorities. Democrats might be incensed enough to find a candidate to run against Herrell, the only Republican in the state’s five-member congressional delegation.
Luján has been a senator for only six months. Yet he’s confident enough in the state’s double standard that he believes most people won’t care if a freshman Democrat puts fundraising ahead of work in the Senate.
The columnist noted how, unlike everyday New Mexicans who are not guaranteed a fat salary, Luján is sitting pretty in D.C. while New Mexicans still are forced to deal with the recovery from the economically devastating lockdowns from the pandemic.
Simonich wrote, “Many other members of Congress operate almost like Luján. They’re always asking for money, and they always claim the sky will fall if they don’t get it. The difference is not many others are brazen enough to announce they might ignore their job so they can solicit donations.”
The roasting of Luján didn’t come without bashing of Republicans in the state, although it shared a rare glimpse into even far-left extremists like Simonich not buying Luján’s dramatic fundraising strategies.