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Politics Notebook: Congressional candidates begin hitting the airwaves with TV spots

With less than 50 days until the primary election, Albuquerque-area congressional candidates are hitting the airwaves.

Former Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland was the first candidate to launch a TV ad in the six-way Democratic primary race, but two rival candidates won’t be far behind with ads of their own.

Ex-U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez so far has spent $34,384 to air his TV ad – starting today and running into next week – on several network channels, according to public station files.

His ad riffs on “The Apprentice,” a reality television show featuring Donald Trump, and ends with Martinez vowing to help fire Trump. The Trump administration asked Martinez and 45 other U.S. attorneys to resign in March 2017.

Former law school associate dean Antoinette Sedillo Lopez is spending roughly $42,000 to begin airing her 30-second spot on cable and network channels this week, a campaign spokesman said. The upbeat ad includes a reference to a high school guidance counselor telling Sedillo Lopez women could not be lawyers.

The TV ad blitz come as candidates are trying to distinguish themselves in a crowded race with no clear front-runner.

Haaland, who is seeking to become the first Native American woman in Congress, began airing her TV ad Monday on several Albuquerque-area stations. It features Haaland hiking in the Sandia Mountains and begins with the line, “I don’t look like most people in Congress.”

Haaland’s campaign is spending roughly $117,000 to run the ad through May 13, a campaign spokesman said.

The other Democrats running in the 1st Congressional District race are Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association President Damian Lara and Paul Moya, the CEO of Millennial Labs.

The winner of the June 5 primary election will face Republican Janice Arnold-Jones and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton in the fall.

New caucus: New Mexico Democratic Party insiders have signed off on the formation of a new progressive caucus.

The Adelante Progressive Caucus, which is similar to the progressive caucuses in more than a dozen other states, will focus on transparency and accountability issues, and will work to recruit candidates from “under-represented” communities, according to its interim chairwoman Pia Gallegos.

Already, more than 250 party members have joined the caucus, which will host a candidate forum for Democratic land commissioner candidates on May 12 in Albuquerque.

Dan Boyd: