Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Clippings From Our Newsroom Floor 

Maybe ABQ should ask the Trump campaign to help it pay the bill:

APD had about 200 officers assigned and an estimated 8,000 people attended the rally. The city said the damages to public and private property by a few unruly members of the protests and the required overtime for the public safety personnel cost taxpayers at least $50,000.

We heard on one of the networks that the Trump campaign is open to picking up the tab for cities that have had to add extra security.

Maybe ABQ City Councilor Dan Lewis should be the one asking for the reimbursement. He was one of the few elected Republicans at the Trump rally. What that means to any campaign he launches for mayor next year is anyone's guess.

Here's an interesting Bernie Sanders-NM connection:

“I am a strong proponent of Sandia Lab as a matter of fact, I helped get a project in Vermont from Sandia Lab so I know a little bit about the lab,” Sanders said. “These national laboratories, not just Sandia, can play a very important role in new technology.”

Sanders generated a lot of attention and enthusiasm on his recent three stop NM swing, but insider polling following the trip did not show an appreciable bump in his support, making Hillary the likely winner of the June 7 primary.

We had blogged that we saw no Dem elected officials at the Sanders ABQ rally.  But ABQ State Sen. Cisco McSorley says he was there along with fellow ABQ Dem Senator Jerry Ortuz Y Pino. We were thinking statewide or full-time elected officials. Cisco wants to administer lashes with the wet noodle on us for this Sorry, Cisco, this minor mishap does not qualify or such stern punishment.

ABQ Journal newsman Dan Boyd noted that political "heavyweights" like Republican Governors Kasich and Walker and Senator Rubio and Jeb Bush all came to the defense of Gov. Martinez this week after she was attacked by Trump at his ABQ rally. We noted that all of them were trounced by Trump who knocked them out of the presidential race. Said Boyd: "Maybe vanquished heavyweights" is more like it.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lots Of Trump Fallout: Its Impact On State Politics, Martinez's National Standing, Will She Eventually Give In On Endorsement:? Also: Bill Clinton's Tia Sophia Debate 

In one hour Donald Trump may have reshaped the state's political dynamic. His calling out of Gov. Martinez's handling of the distressed economy here blew a hole in her "all crime all the time" agenda which she hopes to use to keep the state House under GOP control.

It is a big break for the Democrats who can now say, "Even your own presidential nominee attacks your job performance." Of course, the tepidness of the Democrats in dealing with Martinez is nearly legendary so we'll see how they play it but if they were ever handed a gift this is it.

One Democrat gets it. Daymon Ely, who faces a tough challenge in trying to unseat GOP State Rep. Paul Pacheco, came with this:

Given that the leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, is claiming that Governor Martinez is ineffective at improving our economy, I ask Representative Pacheco, do you agree with Trump that Martinez has failed to create good jobs and increase revenue for our state? Or do you side with the Governor and believe that the next leader of your Party is wrong about her claim that our economy is improving and heading in the right direction?”

Nothing about crime there and jobs still polls as the #1 issue. The irony is supreme that it is Republican Trump who is outing the economic issue. It's almost as ironic as the Governor saying she won't be "bullied" into endorsing him. That statement comes on the heels of her favored GOP national committeeman candidate--Pat Rogers--being ejected from his post by Harvey Yates. Why? Because the Guv's machine bullied Yates and many other state Republicans.

The WaPo comes with two pieces on Trump and Martinez. The first is a rare exploration of her record and how it relates to whether or not she deserves to be called "a rising star" of the GOP. When they start asking whether you are, well, you aren't.

Along those lines longtime pundit Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia tweets:

(@LarrySabato) 5/25/16, 6:20 AM If you saw Trump's attack on Gov. Martinez last night in NM, you know why the Crystal Ball didn't include her in our list of possible VPs.

The other article is 7 reasons why Trump's bashing of Martinez was politically harmful to Trump. It is filled with the usual conventional bromides on why Trump erred in his attack, but how many of these pieces have we read about him and that have proven to be over thought?


Will Martinez eventually endorse Trump and succumb to what her office calls his bullying? Could she make some kind of deal with him and reap some benefits? The chaos in the streets over his visit here makes it politically untenable for now. It is just too hot to handle. But we don't see Martinez and Trump in a warm embrace during the campaign. And short of such a public demonstration you have to wonder how much her endorsement is worth.

If anything, Martinez has been given an excuse not to endorse or simply say she will "support the nominee." That preserves her worth on the national scene in the context of someday being able to make paid speeches about being the first Hispanic woman elected governor and sitting on company boards for lucrative paychecks.


The Trump attacks on Martinez may be a future problem for Lt. Governor Sanchez and ABQ Mayor Berry, both whom are aligned with her and harbor gubernatorial ambitions. The Trump wing of the GOP is not necessarily their friend now. Like Martinez, they boycotted the rally.

Sanchez has begun trying to separate himself Martinez, but posting a few things on Facebook doesn't cut it. Berry remains closely aligned with her.

The beneficiary of the Trump assault is southern GOP Congressman Steve Pearce, a leader of the GOP's anti-Martinez forces who has said he will support Trump (although bizarrely he says that's not an endorsement).


Well, there weren't riots at the Trump recent, but for the purposes of the NM GOP they were:

. . . We're pleased that Trump has visited our state and recognizes the importance of New Mexico's votes. The riots funded and organized by far-left agitator groups like ProgressNow New Mexico reflect poorly on our state. The Democrat Party of New Mexico should be ashamed to have supported their efforts. We cannot reward their violent behavior and will stand in unity against their disruptive and unproductive actions."

It's true the national news coverage of the downtown violence reflects poorly on the state. It sure isn't going to help Martinez get jobs in here and all those off the food stamp rolls that Trump blamed on Martinez.


The Wednesday blog rolls on with this question: What in the name of socialism was former President Bill Clinton doing by debating a young Bernie Sanders supporter for
a full 30 minutes while making a camping stop at Tia Sophia's restaurant? Staff were unable to pull him away. Well, we hope the ex-pres stuck to his vegan diet while there because he sure didn't stick to his schedule.

The Clinton visit went okay, but as others have reported the old zest isn't there. And Hillary should have come here herself. They can't land her campaign plane at the airport for a couple of hours on the way to California? Yeah, the Clintons. Hanging in there, but it sure isn't what it used to be.


The unpredictable candidacy of Donald Trump continues to draw unpredictable predictions. For example, state political analyst and Dem Greg Payne went out on the limb following the Trump ABQ rally and predicted New Mexico will be "in play" for the Republican hopeful this November. That means he thinks it will be competitive and fought for, not conceded to Clinton.

Now along comes veteran politico and radio talk show pioneer Mike Santullo--an independent--who goes way out on the limb and predicts a stunner, saying Trump will actually win the state:

It's because of what happened downtown Tuesday night. Because of that rowdy protest his supporters are now more dedicated and determined than ever. They will come out in big numbers and the Democrats will lose. Mark my words...

We are indeed marking those words, Mike, in this, the wildest of presidential elections.


Response now to that flyer we ran on the blog this week that showed ABQ Dem State Rep. Christine Trujillo actually endorsed her primary opponent, Chris Berkheimer, when he ran for state senate in 2004. We called Berkheimer's circulation of the flyer a "prank" but John Donalds and other Berkheimer supporters don't see it that way:

The portion of this story that you neglect to report is Rep. Christine Trujillo's use of Trump-like language, turning this primary nasty against Chris Berkheimer. Trujillo should have represented her constituents and not neglected 3/4 of House votes and 1/3 of its days. This is the prank that was pulled on New Mexicans. The mailer is merely reminding us what Rep. Trujillo knew in 2004 that Chris Berkheimer was, as he is now, a hard working champion for New Mexico. His politics are no prank.

Trujillo did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

What a week, kids.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Donald Trump cut Albuquerque in half Tuesday night. His appearance prompted violent street protests that drew national attention and at the same time had his hard core supporters inside the Convention Center reacting with euphoria. (Complete video of Trump rally is here.)

Visiting the most Hispanic state in the nation and a Democratic city, Trump did not hold back. He hit hard all the hot button issues that have made his presidential candidacy the most controversial of our time. There was no change in tone or content to indicate he would pivot to generate more Hispanic support here or elsewhere.

It was a night of political theater unlike any ever seen here, giving an up front, uncut and unsettling look at the new brand of American politics that carries with it an air of danger.

When we left the convention center for the walk home to our near downtown neighborhood, protesters on the street and in cars taunted the Trump crowd, waving Mexican flags and shouting obscenities at them. Some vehicles spun their tires to burn rubber and send smoke into the faces of the Trump supporters.

It was a long walk home as cars filled with protesters shouted anti-Trump epithets. As ABQ Journal newsman Dan McKay tweeted: "Police break up shoving match and deploy pepper spray at Tijeras and Third. Lots of men looking for a fight tonight."

As for the action inside the hall where a crowd of about 8,000 gathered to hear the New York billionaire businessman, we watched from the press pen which Trump said was filled with "disgusting slime" who don't report his candidacy accurately.

Protestors were also inside--lots of them. When they erupted at him, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee yelled forcefully: "Get them out! Get them out!" And out they went to the delight of the boisterous crowd.

There were plenty of Hispanic New Mexicans in the audience but it was predominantly Anglo, reflecting Trump's particular appeal to White conservative males.


Trump is the master of the put down and Governor Susana Martinez came in for special treatment Tuesday night. She would not endorse him or attend his rally and she paid the price when Trump stunned the crowd (or at least the media) with this:

Since 2000 the number of people on food stamps in New Mexico has tripled. We have to get your governor to get going. She has to do a better job. Your governor has to do a better job. She's not doing the job. Hey! Maybe I'll run for governor of New Mexico. I'll get this place going. She's not doing the job. We got to get her moving, Come on, let's go governor.

By throwing Martinez under the bus Trump was not only extracting his revenge for her shunning him but also putting Republican elected officials across the nation on notice that if they mimic her behavior they will be getting some of the same medicine.

It was yet another political low point for Gov. Martinez. She was coming off a big weekend loss at the state GOP convention where her favored candidate for GOP national committeeman--Pat Rogers--was trounced by her ardent critic Harvey Yates. Combine that with her falling poll numbers and all that blood in the water proved irresistible to Trump who cuts jugular veins with glee.

And where was the Governor's vaunted political team? Once again, the defensive game eluded them. Political pros said they should at least have had Martinez out of the state when Trump spoke. To have her here and not showing up had to serve only to further inflame him.

Martinez's reaction to Trump throwing her under the bus:

"The potshots weren't about policy, they were about politics," said spokesman Michael Lonergan. "And the Governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans, and she did not hear that today."

Well, Trump could care less.


One of the few--very few analysts--who think NM may be in play for Trump in November is Greg Payne, the former city councilor and state legislator. Now an attorney, the longtime political consultant and strategist says ABQ will not vote for Trump, but he might be able to cobble together a coalition of rural support--as did Bush in 2000 and 2004--that could put the state back in play.

He says the unpopularity of Hillary makes that a plausible scenario. But he says turnout will have to go down--especially among Hispanics. He believes the rowdy ABQ protest could actually help Trump by firing up his base voters. But will that also fire up Hispanics?

It's a longshot but coming from the analyst who first predicted (back in January) that Trump would be the GOP nominee, it's worth mentioning.


Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump. Great rally in New Mexico, amazing crowd! Now in L.A. Big rally in Anaheim.

Protests? Chaos in the streets? No problem.

Update: Another tweet from Trump:

"The protesters in New Mexico were thugs who were flying the Mexican flag. The rally inside was big and beautiful, but outside, criminals!"


On building a wall on the southern border to keep Mexican immigrants out, there was no  give from Trump, no sign that he might moderate himself for the sake of attracting Hispanic votes. He mentioned the wall a number of times, saying it was needed and he was going to build it. He pointed to the roof of the convention center and said the wall might be as high as that. He did not say, however, as he has in the past, that "Mexico will pay for the wall."


A lot of people showed up at the Trump rally intent on causing trouble. The often troubled ABQ police department was prepared. Rocks and bottles were thrown at the police. Their calm and measured response was viewed under the spotlight of continuous coverage of the protests from CNN, Fox and other national media.

As we were leaving the convention center protesters were pounding on a glass door (which eventually gave way) but the police held their ground--professionally and without incident. Good job. Still. . .

ABQ radio talk show host Eddy Aragon asked on Facebook: "Where were ABQ Mayor and APD Chief Eden?" Good question. . .


With all the commotion surrounding the Trump visit, you might have forgotten that former President Bill Clinton is in the state for two days to campaign for Hillary. He will be in ABQ today after a stop in the north Tuesday.

Veteran political reporter Steve Terrell has that story.


Tom Garrity of the Garrity PR Group reports the 2016 Garrity Perception Survey is out and reveals an interesting divide between those identifying themselves as "somewhat conservative" and those who identity as "conservative." They see the major institutions in the state quite differently. For example, the oil and gas industry rates much more favorably with conservatives than the somewhat. Ditto for solar and wind power. More here.


Maestas Barnes
Some bleak news for Democrats in a district at the center of the battle for control of the NM House. Republican Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, seeking a second term, has secured the endorsement of the union for ABQ area firefighters, a group that usually goes with the Dem:

I am excited to announce the endorsement of the International Area Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 244 union, which is comprised of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Firefighters. I have a tremendous amount of respect for fire fighters and receiving this endorsement is extremely humbling. As a legislator, I have been a strong advocate for public safety and emergency services in New Mexico. I will continue to work to ensure that all first responders have the needed resources to continue to serve and protect the citizens in our community. 

Maestas Barnes has worked across the aisle on a number of issues, including solar energy. She has also kept an arms length from the Governor's political machine so the endorsement in this swing district is not out of the blue. Still. . .

The Dems say they have recruited a quality challenger in Ane Romero but the firefighters endorsement of Maestas Barnes is a wake-up call that taking back this seat and control of the House from the Republicans is anything but a done deal.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Like The Old Days: Prez Campaigns Continue To Swarm Over State; Trump's Big Show Here Tonight; Bill Clinton On The Undercard; Late NM Primary Grabs Spotlight But In November We're In The Shadows  

It's back to the good old days around here when presidential candidates and their surrogates stopped by as regularly as your relatives on a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy it while it lasts. If the crystal ball gazers have it right New Mexico is going solid Democratic in November and national campaign visits here are going to be as rare as green chile in Pittsburgh.

Unlike 2000, '04 and '08 we don't make the list of 13 swing states where the soothsayers say the election will be decided. But, hey, look at us now. Who would have thunk that our very late June 7the presidential primaries would matter?

Today we get an ex-president and a possible President-to-be. Bill Clinton traverses to Española in heavily Democratic Rio Arriba County to get them fired up for Hillary. There's speculation that her poll numbers in that county may not be so robust so she dispatched Bill to get some of his popularity there to rub off on her.

Bill will overnight here and appear at a Wednesday ABQ rally at 12:45 in ABQ's Southwest Valley, another very heavy Dem and Hispanic area.

His visit comes after Bernie Sanders appeared  here last week, hoping to pull yet another upset over Hillary.

In the old days, Clinton might have stopped by ABQ's spanking new Ruth's Chris Steak House but Bill's all vegan now, although don't be surprised if he throws some red meat at the presumptive GOP prez nominee while here.

But Bill is definitely the undercard today. The main event will be that showstopper himself--Donald Trump--as he presents himself at the ABQ Convention Center at 7 p.m. Sanders drew a throng of 7,000 there. Will The Donald beat that number? Heck, there might be that many protesters.

Since Trump is visiting the state with the largest Hispanic population in the nation--nearly 50% of its residents--everyone is wondering if he'll soften his tone on immigration or stick to his guns. Will he reiterate his call for his famous (or infamous) wall to be built along the border to keep Mexican immigrants out and have Mexico pay for it? Probably, but. . .

The politics are something like this: Trump knows NM is a longshot in November but there are also Hispanics avidly listening  to him in swing states like Florida. With the GOP nomination locked up this might be the time for him to make a bit of a play for them. Nobody is going to be elected president by carrying less than 30 percent of the Hispanic vote and that's where Trump is now polling. So stay tuned. . .

And what about the Republican leader of our fair city? Will Mayor Richard Berry meet and greet Donald? Only if he could go disguised as Harvey Yates. Maybe he can hang out with fellow R Susana at an "unknown destination" and wait for the Trump train to pass (she said Monday she will not attend). Or they could kidnap Lt. Gov. Sanchez and put him in there with Trump and ruin his chances to become governor in '18.

And one other thing: Whatever happened to that old saying that politicians like to jump to the head of the parade? We didn't see any elected statewide Dem officials at the Bernie barnburner last week. Not one. And for Trump tonight it may be the same. But these political outsiders need them like a dog needs fleas. Bernie and Donald are the cat's meow this season. Or maybe more like roaring lions.


Here are the details about where the presidential campaigns will be today and tomorrow and how to attend the events.

Bill Clinton's Española rally is at 6:30 tonight and Trump's is slated for 7 p.m. Bill obviously wants to crowd Donald some on the 10 p.m. news broadcasts. But we wouldn't be surprised if Trump, who has been hammering Clinton over his personal life, doesn't put the needle in him while he's here. That way he crowds Clinton.


We told you about the $10,000 a head fund-raiser Trump will have here as well as his rally. What we didn't tell you is that this is his first high dollar fundraiser anywhere. That's right. Impoverished NM gets to chip in the first large chunk of change to finance the billionaire's effort. Up to now Trump has mostly self-financed.

The fund-raiser here is being put on by retired funeral services director Kevin Daniels, a longtime GOP donor who once fiddled with the idea of running for the ABQ U.S. House seat. He expects at least 20 at the party, giving Trump a take of $200,000. The full story at the WaPo.


Here's confirmation of the news one of our Alligators broke on the Monday blog:

Finance and Administration Secretary Tom Clifford will retire at the end of this week. . . Clifford, who has been the top budget official in Martinez’s administration since mid-2011, said it was not an “easy decision” to retire but that the timing was right for him and his family. He touted tax cut packages passed in 2012, 2013 and 2015 as among the highlights of his tenure, describing the legislation as “three of the most substantial tax reform packages in state history.”

The tax cuts were accomplishments? What Secretary Clifford should have said in his swan song was something like this:

I regret adhering to a rigid ideological line and advancing tax cuts and promoting budget austerity as the solution to New Mexico's long-running economic stagnation. I should have realized that the state was starved for economic stimulation and that ongoing tax cuts were not the answer. 

Well, Tom, at least now you won't have to take phone calls from the political consultants telling you what to do.


Talk about the past coming back to haunt you. Look at the prank Dem Chris Berkheimer is pulling on ABQ State Rep. Christine Trujillo who he's challenging in the June primary. 

The prank is that this Trujillo endorsement of Berkheimer is from his  unsuccessful 2004 run for a state senate seat.

You may recall it was Rep. Trujillo who shouted "shame on you" at Gov. Martinez as she delivered her State of the State speech in January. She's probably warming up that line to use about Chris's antics.  

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Martinez And McCleskey Delivered A Mighty Blow By Yates In GOP Battle For Power; Rogers Defeat Extends Guv's Run Of Bad News, Plus: Pearce Emerges Stronger After Convention And: Bernie's Gift 

Martinez and Yates (Bralley)
The governorship of Susana Martinez was delivered a mighty blow Saturday when Harvey Yates--her friend turned foe--decisively ousted Martinez ally Pat Rogers 59% to 41% in a bitter contest for GOP national Committeeman.

It was a smashing victory for oilman Yates. He has repeatedly and publicly traded barbs with Martinez's powerful political consultant Jay McCleskey who was as much a victim of this defeat--if not more--than the governor herself.

Yates, 76, a former NM GOP chairman, has also berated the Governor and House Republicans, who took control of the chamber in 2014, for essentially doing nothing to improve the economy.

House R's were split between Yates and Rogers. If the R's retain the House in November the Yates win could signal a more aggressive posture from them on economic development, rather than the "all crime all the time" agenda that McCleskey is pushing as an alternative to confronting the economic stagnation.

In the end, however, this was a vote against the power and controversial tactics of McCleskey, the most powerful presence in the Martinez administration who was the subject of a recent federal investigation over campaign financing and who directs her political machine. One of our Senior Alligators summed it up:

Even state Republicans are sick of Jay McCleskey and company, despite an essentially winning record. It is the thuggish nature of the Martinez operation that repels people and led to a sweeping victory for Yates.

That "thuggish nature" has often been turned on Martinez's fellow Republicans and with her consent. Saturday it came back to bite her and will leave deep teeth marks.

The Governor showed up at the state convention but left before the vote rebuking Rogers was announced. It was the latest in a long line of bad news for her over the last six months..

Pat Rogers
It began in December with the infamous holiday pizza party where her image was deeply soiled. Then the legislative session came and went with little results and overshadowed by a crash in oil and gas prices. Then she endorsed Marco Rubio for the GOP presidential nomination, only to see him lose right after. Then came her plunge in the polls taking her below 50% approval for the first time. Then there was the ascent of Trump whose immigration views are so harsh Martinez is boxed in when it comes to dealing with the soon-to-be GOP nominee. And now Pat Rogers who McCleskey and the Governor furiously attempted to rescue but were soundly rebuffed.

And why was the prestige and power of the sitting governor allowed to be put on the line in the Yates-Rogers battle? Or in the ill-advised Rubio endorsement?  She  could have easily dismissed the committeeman contest as a personal feud between Yates and McCleskey and watch Rogers get thrown overboard. That's what governors do to protect themselves and the effectiveness of their governing ability.

As we've repeatedly observed this administration has been fine on offense but a disaster on defense. She seems a prisoner of her own design, willingly turning over the executive branch to her consultant and his allies who in turn have used her power and position to pummel--often personally--anyone who dared disagree with them.

Throughout all this Governor Martinez has smiled and read books to third graders for endless photo ops. Now it is she who is getting taught some lessons.


Reader analysis now from Kathryn Carroll:

The defeat of Pat Rogers was the beginning of the demise of what was once the well-oiled Martinez/McCleskey political machine. While the reports in the ABQ Journal and elsewhere seemed to indicate that no hard feelings were on display in an attempt to sell party unity, you can be sure the knives will come out.

The play by Mr. Yates to end Mr. Roger's eight year reign as Governor Martinez's chosen National Committeeman, may well be just the start of his return to take over the State Republican Party, which will include naming the next State Chairman, and setting up his own candidate to run for governor in 2018. Lt. Governor Sanchez should keep a close eye on Mr. Yates, as well as anyone else who has eyes on the Roundhouse in 2018.

Well said, Kathryn. This could just be the start of Yates' power plays.


We interrupt our convention coverage to bring you the news of the apparent departure of Dr. Tom Clifford as head of the important Dept. of Finance and Administration under Gov. Martinez. Direct from Alligator Alley:

Joe, Clifford resigned on Friday May 20th. He gave only one week's notice. There were several issues:

-Main problem was that the Fourth Floor interfered with him excessively.
-His deputy, Duffy Rodriguez, constantly spoke to the Fourth Floor (the Guv's office) behind his back.
-There was a quarrel between Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla and Clifford and the Fourth Floor took Padilla's side.

Clifford was and is a well-respected economic analyst, but he went into the tank for the Martinez/McCleskey axis and it cost him his credibility. The second term departures are underway.


Who received the most votes at the Saturday NM GOP convention to become a delegate to the Republican National Convention this summer? Gov. Martinez? Nope. It was southern conservative NM GOP congressman Steve Pearce whose forces emerged as the dominant wing of the party by openly backing Yates over Rogers and rebuking Martinez. Here's how that vote came down:

At Large Delegates/473 voting:

1. Rep. Steve Pearce, 341 votes. 2. Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, 326. 3.  State House Speaker Don Tripp, 298 4. Allen Weh, 205 6. Gov. Martinez, 203 6. Lisa Shin, 193 7. Andrea Moore, 191 8. Fernando C'de Baca, 159 9. Susan Throckmorton, 150 10. Phil Archuleta, 145 11. Demesia Padilla, 137 12. Jonathan Gardner, 135.

The NM R's will send 24 delegates to their July Cleveland convention. The delegates listed are the ones voted on by the entire state convention.

And on the outside chance Trump should beat Clinton in NM in November, here are the five Republicans named to the Electoral College and who would cast their votes for Trump: Ed Cassidy, Robert Martinez, Jo Mitchell, Charles Moran and Marge Teague


It looks as though Donald Trump is dead serious about not spending his fortune to fund his '16 presidential bid. Take a look at this from the state GOP:

Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump is coming to Albuquerque for a rally this Tuesday, May 24th! If you'd like to attend, you can find tickets available on Trump's website. If you're also interested in attending a private reception with Donald Trump before the rally, the price per person is $10,000. Please call RPNM at 505-298-3662 for more information.

The state GOP has officially endorsed Trump but Governor Martinez continues to have a hard time making up her mind.


(ABQ Journal/Rosales)
We waited outside the downtown ABQ Convention Center with Bernie Sanders supporters at 7 p.m. Tuesday. They were nearly as  fearful as they were enthusiastic as officials slowed the entrance line to a crawl. But just about everyone was finally admitted to the hall in time to hear the Vermont Democrat begin his hour long speech by saying of the 7,000 on hand: "It looks like ABQ is ready for a revolution!"

Sanders is the only one of the three remaining active presidential candidates who has won majority favorability in the nation. In just about every poll he beats Trump by a comfortable margin, something he did not let the crowd forget as he implored them to help him pull an upset over Hillary Clinton in New Mexico's June 7th presidential primary.

The crowd was diverse, with plenty of Hispanics and Native Americans on hand which are groups that the Clintons have long appealed to and which Sanders has had trouble attracting. But what struck us most was the tender age of many in attendance. Many of them will be voting for president for the first time, an event that one remembers for a lifetime.

Certainly, the Sanders candidacy will be remembered throughout their lifetimes. It marks the first time a Democratic socialist has performed so well for a major party nomination. Only history will tell us whether it marked a major departure from traditional economic and political nostrums. But it has the feel of it and the look. Youthful energy made the handheld signs bobb and weave throughout the rally.

Their slogan struck us as particularly poignant as we took measure of the scene: "A Future We Can Believe In." There they stood, unabashedly and joyously expressing their hope for their futures and embracing our tottering political system to help make their dreams come true. Win or lose, support him or not, that is the great gift Bernie Sanders has given to America.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Trump To New Mexico Tuesday Puts Gov. Martinez On The Spot; AnalysisAnd Context, Plus: Friday Clippings From Our Newsroom Floor 

Joe Monahan
Donald Trump is headed for New Mexico. That sentence alone raises political temperatures and Tuesday night at the ABQ Convention Center, where Trump will appear at 7 p.m., will be one hot ticket (tickets here).

We covered the big story Thursday night with KOB-TV newsman Caleb James (video here). Here's that report:

Why is presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump making a New Mexico stop, and what will Gov. Susana Martinez do about it? Those are the big questions looking ahead to Trump's planned Tuesday rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Gov. Martinez faces a difficult decision in this political climate.

Trump may be her party's presumed nominee, but he's also done a lot to alienate the Latino voters who made her governor. She's publically denounced his idea to build a wall between Mexico and the United States -- but Thursday, her own party is starting to line up behind Trump.

"There's a big difference between being the nominee and that 'P' word: presumptive nominee," said New Mexico political analyst Joe Monahan.

Monahan runs a policy analysis blog, and has followed Trump's campaign closely -- especially the implications his candidacy has for New Mexico's future.

"Maybe, just maybe, we're seeing Trump try to soften himself among a Hispanic audience," he said. "It will be interesting to see what he says."

More likely though, says Monahan, Trump is here to win Republican votes that already belong to him -- to say he "won New Mexico."

In other words, said Monahan, he's likely not here to woo Latino voters. "Those who support him support him, and those who don't, don't after these really inflammatory comments," said Monahan.

Early in his campaign, Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as criminals. His most widely-pushed plan is to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It's a plan governor Martinez has denounced.

But her party's communications director, Tucker Keene, says New Mexico Republicans feel differently.

"I think we need to toughen our border security quite a bit," said Keene. KOB asked if that should be achieved with a wall. "I think if that's the idea that our president would...we'd be 100 percent behind our Republican president," said Keene.

That, says Monahan, is the sticky situation Martinez finds herself in now. He says she may be a Republican, but Martinez was put in office by the same Democrat Latino voters Trump has alienated.

"To put it plainly: Governor Martinez has hit the wall," said Monahan.

Right now -- Martinez won't say if she'll endorse Trump. Her office won't even confirm if she'll be at his Tuesday rally.

"She's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't," said Monahan. "But she's more damned probably if she does."

Monahan says the governor's team is likely trying to come up with a way to support Trump, without full-on endorsing him. "Talk about having to juggle politics," said Monahan.


Meanwhile, here are our clippings from our quite littered newsroom floor. . .

What do you think? Ambassador to Cuba?:

I was wrong about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders lasting so long,” (former Gov. Bill) Richardson said. He is endorsing Hillary Clinton. "For seven years, I was in the woodshed,” Richardson said. In 2008, Richardson backed Barack Obama who went on to beat Hillary Clinton in the then presidential race.

In the long run this issue is as important to the state as anything:

NM Congressman Ben Ray Luján announced he has been appointed to a conference committee that will work to complete legislation addressing the opioid crisis that is hurting communities in New Mexico and across the country. 

In the Democratic primary for BernCo County Clerk Roman Montoya is fearful that Linda Stover is going to pull away. He writes in a fund-raising letter:

My opponent is going to be running ads on TV. . . FCC records show that my opponent - who has self-funded her campaign to the tune of nearly $40,000 - is going to write herself another check to pay for TV ads. . .Look, I’ll be straightforward. The only way we can keep pace is with your help.

Thanks to this Alligator, we were on to the UNM/WisePies/Pit naming rights debacle months ago. He now says:

Joe, I can't imagine any company coming up with enough money for a very marginal franchise. My bet is UNM will never see any more money. This whole thing has been a scam from the start. If UNM does not get paid UNM President Frank and Athletic Director Krebs should lose their jobs!

You mean liberal ABQ Dem State Senator Jacob Candelaria is endorsing newly appointed Republican NM Court of Appeals Court Judge Stephen French in the November election and not soon-to-be Dem nominee and ABQ attorney Julie Vargas? Say what, Jacob?:

I've known Steve since I was in high school. He was one of my mock trial coaches--his eldest daughter and I were classmates. He's the first person that made me actually think that I could become an attorney, and has been a great mentor ever since.

Well, Julie probably won't hold against him when she wins.

But does he smoke pot?:

Former NM Gov. Gary Johnson has joined forces with another former Republican governor to strengthen his Libertarian presidential bid. William Weld, who served two terms as the Republican governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s, will seek the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nomination.

They said it. From Matt Taibbi writing in Rolling Stone:

A century ago, the small-town American was Gary Cooper: tough, silent, upright and confident. The modern Republican Party changed that person into a haranguing neurotic who couldn't make it through a dinner without quizzing you about your politics. They destroyed the American character. No hell is hot enough for them. And when Trump came along, they rolled over like the weaklings they've always been, bowing more or less instantly to his parodic show of strength.

Now, about those Democrats. . .


We're glad this week is over after the mess we made over the  NM super delegates to the Democratic National Convention. First we blogged that delegates Harris and Gutierrez were uncommitted. Well, they were back in February but now support Clinton. Then we  quoted former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish who told us Dem Party Chair Deb Haaland was the only uncommitted super delegate. But she (and we) forgot about Dem Party Vice Chair Juan Sanchez. As party leaders they stay uncommitted until the nominee is chosen.

So we end the week by subjecting ourselves to not ten, but twenty lashes of the wet noodle. Hey, it was a super week until the super delegates spoiled it.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Peeling The Onion On The Latest State Polling; SOS Race Outlook, Trumps Troubles Here And Susana's Swoon, Plus: Heinrich's Inside-Outside Game 

Let's peel the onion on that PPP poll of NM conducted May 13-15. . .

In the race for Secretary of State Democratic hopeful and Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver bests Republican contender and Roswell State Rep. Nora Espinoza 43% to 36% with 21% undecided.

Oliver is a two term county clerk and unsuccessfully sought the secretary of state's office in 2014 so a 7 point lead is not seen as overwhelming by the Espinoza supporters. They argue the danger for the Dems is if Espinoza can start flipping Hispanics. And they also argue that Oliver is quite a distance from 50%, putting the race in play.

In the PPP poll Oliver leads Espinoza among Hispanics 53% to 29%. Espinoza takes White voters, 46  to 35.

The higher the presidential turnout the better for Oliver and Dems in general. That will be key as will what kind of TV ads come. So far, the candidates are about even in the cash on hand race.

Here's all the PPP crosstabs. . .


Now on to Governor Martinez's approval rating. As we blogged this week she is below the important 50% approval number in four separate surveys we've seen, including PPP which has her at 47%. One big reason? Her approval rating among Hispanics, according to the survey, is only 43% while her disapproval is 45%. Meanwhile, her favorability among Anglo voters (many of whom are Republican) is a sturdier 54%.

Hispanic Dems have been instrumental in getting a Republican Hispanic governor elected and re-elected. Martinez coming down among them is a major turning point in her tenure.

In diving into the polling on the presidential race we see no reason to change New Mexico from "likely Dem" for the November election. Here's why:

Just 21% of Hispanics gave Trump a favorable rating while 74 percent are negative toward him. They favor Clinton over Trump 56 to 19.

That means the presidential race here will again be under the radar with no candidate visits or TV buys. That could be worrisome for the Dems who want a big turnout so they can take back control of the state House. It appears the get-out-the-vote duties will fall on local shoulders as the presidential candidates fly over us.

Public Policy Polling is based in North Carolina and polls mainly for Dems. They interviewed 802 voters here and give the poll a MOE of plus or minus 3.5 percent.


We apologize for the bum list we blogged about regarding the state's super delegates to the Democratic national convention. It listed Fred Harris and Joni Gutierrez as "uncommitted" but both, previously uncommitted, are supporting Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination. The only uncommitted NM super delegates are Dem Party Chair Deb Haaland and Vice-Chair Juan Sanchez

Someone is gong to get ten lashes with the wet noodle for letting this one get by. . . probably us.


Sen. Heinrich
It's the old outside to inside game, say observers of Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich. He isn't up for re-election until 2018 but he is busy romancing rural conservatives outside of the big cities as he works to ward off strong opposition there.

In a Facebook post Heinrich boasts of the work he is doing in getting funding for defense and his support of a tough airport security measure that has drawn civil liberties opposition. He is also trying to dampen the partisan divide in the hinterland:

I am taking the power you have lent me to fight every day to solve the problems facing our state and our nation, and doing it by putting aside partisan differences and focusing on what matters to all of us.

Heinrich is too liberal for most of the voters in large swaths of rural NM but like Senator Udall and before him, Senator Bingaman, Heinrich is getting those voters to focus on what he has done for them locally and not so much on his actual voting record. It worked for Udall and Bingaman who were able to avoid landslides there while getting big victory margins in the cities.

One other note: With Gov. Martinez's slide in the polls, Heinrich's larger worry of a possible Martinez '18 challenge seems to be less worrisome.


One of the races we'll be watching when we convene our Election Night roundtable on KANW 89.1 FM is the contest for Bernalillo County Treasurer. Three Hispanic men--current treasurer Manny Ortiz, former treasurer Pat Padilla and treasurer's office employee Christoper Sanchez--are seeking the Dem nomination. The fourth candidate is health insurance professional Nancy Bearce. Could an ethnic split develop that could hand the nomination to Bearce? The office has been tangled in controversy under both Ortiz and Padilla.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bernie To Bring The Big Show To New Mexico; Will Speak At Friday Rallies In Santa Fe And ABQ; Insider Polling Shows He Needs Boost, Plus: The Woes Of Second Term Susana As She Tries To Stop The Bleeding; Keep A Tourniquet Handy, And: DA TV 

No doubt it will be a couple of "barnberners" from Bernie as he sets down in New Mexico Friday afternoon for two rallies that will put the state front and center in Campaign '16, if only for a couple of hours.

Senator Sanders, who has electrified Democratic youth from coast-to-coast but not so much the old folks, will first appear at a 1 p.m. rally at Santa Fe Community College. Info here. At 7 p.m. he'll take his fiery Democratic socialist campaign to the downtown ABQ Convention Center. Info here. The NM Facebook page for Sanders is here.

It's easy to predict that both events will be jammed to the rafters, although the Santa Fe attendance is capped at 2,500. What is more unclear is whether the voting booths will be jammed with Bernie supporters come primary election day June 7th.

Internal campaign polling conducted around May 1 and that crossed our desk surprised us. It showed Sanders trailing Hillary Clinton in very liberal Santa Fe County as well as Bernalillo County. She was in the high 50's there and he was in the low 30's. His long talked about weakness with Hispanics is apparently the cause. She gets 64% Hispanic support and he gets 21%. Against that somewhat troubled backdrop Friday is a good time indeed for Bernie to rally the troops. Widespread statewide early voting will begin on Saturday.

It's always welcome to see New Mexico get some attention from the presidential hopefuls. After all, we have more federal dollars per capita coming in here than just about any other. And in this crazy year it's not inconceivable that Sanders could somehow end up with the Dem nomination, although the delegate count thus far rules against it.

Hillary is sending Bill Clinton in here next week for stops in ABQ and Espanola, but maybe she ought to stop by in person and follow up on what Bernie will say on these topics:

“Sanders will discuss a wide range of issues, including getting big money out of politics, his plan to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, combating climate change and ensuring universal health care.”

Come on over, Hillary. Bernie is warming up the crowd for you.


The slogan for the Governor's first term was "Bold Change!" The slogan for the second could be "Stop  the Bleeding!"

Here she is pictured with Children Youth and Families Director Monique Jacobson promoting the "Pull Together" campaign aimed at decreasing child abuse in the state. But unlike the first term these ubiquitous photo ops highlighting programs that lack much substance are now widely derided.

The blood in the water is coming from several arteries--her plunge in the polls, the bitter campaign between Martinez-backed Pat Rogers and Harvey Yates for the post of GOP national committeeman, the shift in perceptions of her since her infamous pizza party and the continuing deterioration of the state's economy, the latest sign of which is the slashing of 195 positions from the ABQ Public Schools.

Even the prestige of being the chair of the Republican Governors Association this year is just another excuse for the protesters to come out as they did at a meeting of the GOP governors that Martinez was hosting Tuesday at the Hyatt Tamaya resort near Bernalillo.

Bill Richardson and Gary Johnson can tell you something about second gubernatorial terms around here. You don't go anywhere without a tourniquet because the bleeding can start at anytime.


So says longtime labor activist and independent John Ingram of Gov. Martinez's plunge in the polls to below the 50% approval mark:

Joe: No surprise. Shouldn't be to others, either.  When NM is forced to go without surplus revenues all the years of her reign, it results in no jobs for people. No jobs leads to no spending, no demand, and economic stagnation. All this increases the jobless rate. Then the other dominoes start to fall: drug use, drug overdose, increasing crime rates, poor graduation rates, and our "Land of Enchantment" at the bottom of all these lists.
The real surprise in these polls is the number of Democrats who are finally abandoning our sinking ship.

About that Pulling Together campaign reader Richard Flores writes:

The "pull together" campaign is window dressing at best. PR campaigns do not substitute for effective strategies of intervention with families, and adequate state funding to support early intervention, health, mental health and community based services. With the HSD debacle that dismantled the existing mental health services system, and now, with the impending loss of federal health care dollars, how can we expect that a campaign akin to "just say no to drugs" will make a difference in child safety and child well- being. If people were interested in simply accessing resources, that information has always been available. Where the "pull together" campaign is good as an ancillary approach, it does not address the real issues faced by New Mexico's children and families.


Dem BernCo District Attorney hopeful Raúl Torrez is going up with two TV ads today as he works to defeat challenger Ed Perea in the June 7th primary. The ads are here and here.

Based on his recent cash on hand it appears the buy will top $100,000. Perea does not appear to be in the financial shape to match Torrez, 39, on the tube.

The winner will face Republican Simon Kubiak in November  but the Dem primary winner will be the heavy favorite.

Four term DA Kari Brandenburg announced she would not seek re-election in '16.


In our first draft we said PRC candidate Cynthia Hall was running negative ads in her Dem primary campaign against PRC Commissioner Karen Montoya. The ads are actually being paid for and produced by Verde Voters, the PAC associated with Conservation Voters of New Mexico. . . A list of Democratic super delegates that was given to us had Joni Gutierrez of Las Cruces as uncommitted in the presidential race. A Dem consultant says she just recently committed and will go with Clinton. She was at the Las Cruces opening of Clinton's headquarters Tuesday.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

PRC Candidate Ponies Up Personal Cash After Getting Sidetracked, Bernie Opens ABQ HQ As Hillary Sends Bill Here, And: Okies, Obamacare And NM 

Hall & Montoya
Cynthia Hall is hungry for that ABQ area seat on the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) that is currently held by Karen Montoya. So much so that Hall has loaned her campaign $35,000 to make up for the public financing funds she would have received if she hadn't been denied them by the secretary of state for making an error in the financing process.

Montoya did qualify for public financing and is getting $31,544 to run her Democratic primary campaign against Hall. The two faced off in the Dem primary four years ago--along with Al Park--and Montoya emerged the winner. She went on to win the general election and a four year term.

Hall, an attorney who has worked for the PRC, thinks she has a better shot in a two way race. She's gone heavily negative on Montoya calling into question the commissioner's integrity via social media and now we're told a third party group is up with negative cable TV ads.

The PRC is powerful, with its role regulating the electric company PNM among its most watched duties.

No Republican is running for the seat this time so the winner of the primary should get the four year term. We say should because of this candidacy announcement from independent and former state legislator Bob Perls of Corrales:

 This race is winnable for a qualified, independent candidate. New Mexico voters are tired of incumbents being automatically re-elected, perpetuating the same dysfunctional political class who won’t solve real-world problems for New Mexicans. The two party system is broken. There is gridlock in Washington, Santa Fe and within the PRC: a very powerful regulatory body I tried to help reform when I served in the legislature.


On the June 7th NM prez primary trail, this news from the Bernie Sanders campaign:

Our campaign office is finally open! The address is 2112 Central Ave SE here in Albuquerque. We're open 7 days a week, 9am-9pm.

Former President Clinton will campaign for Hillary in ABQ and Espanola May 24 and 25. No word on whether she will also make a stop. Ditto for Sanders. Sending her husband here is a play for the important Democratic Hispanic vote which has been a weakness for Bernie and which could make up half or more of the vote cast in the June 7th Dem primary.


They were Feelin' the Bern as they opened up that aforementioned Sanders campaign headquarters last night across from UNM in ABQ.

We stopped in to see the deans of the state's liberal community--ABQ Dem State Senators Cisco McSorley and Jerry Ortiz y Pino--rally the enthusiastic crowd that jammed into the room. Ortiz y Pino maintained that NM's primary could be "pivotal" even though the political class continues to write off Bernie as the nominee.

Also on hand for the opening were former ABQ City Councilors Rey Garduno and Eric Griego.

Here's how the state's "super delegates" are lined up for the presidential nomination:

Uncommitted Delegates:  Fred R. Harris, Debra Haaland, Juan Sanchez. Clinton delegates: Joni Gutierrez, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Sen Tom Udall and former state House Speaker Raymond Sanchez.

Clinton's campaign earlier opened an ABQ office and will open another in Las Cruces on Thursday.


Yet another poll--the fourth one we're reporting on--shows Gov. Martinez's approval rating falling below the key 50% mark. A PPP survey conducted May 13-15 among likely NM voters pegs the Guv's approval at 47%, with 42% disapproving and 11% undecided. MOE for the survey is plus or minus 3.5%.

We first blogged several weeks ago of Martinez's polling plunge in a PAC commissioned poll and blogged Monday of all three surveys all confirming the drop. Now we have four. You wonder if the newspaper will pick up on any of these polls?

And about that Morning Consult poll showing Martinez's approval at 48%, 45% disapproval and 7% undecided, we did not post the margin of error on the Monday blog. A reader dug it out:

The reported sampling error is 4.9%. This means that (1) the sample size was fairly small for a statewide survey, about 400, and (2) statistically, the results pro and con could be reversed, that is 45% could approve of SM and 48% could disapprove (however, this is not likely).

We think you'll be interested in this next eyebrow raising item out of Oklahoma:

Despite bitter resistance in Oklahoma for years to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, Republican leaders in this conservative state are now confronting something that alarms them even more: a huge $1.3 billion hole in the budget that threatens to do widespread damage to the state's health care system. So, in what would be the grandest about-face among rightward leaning states, Oklahoma is now moving toward a plan to expand its Medicaid program to bring in billions of federal dollars from Obama's new health care system. What's more, GOP leaders are considering a tax hike to cover the state's share of the costs. 

Obamacare and a tax hike? In Oklahoma? Yep. And the reason will sound very familiar to you:

A bust in the oil patch has decimated state revenues, compounded by years of income tax cuts and growing corporate subsidies intended to make the state more business-friendly.

Hey, that's us. An oil bust causes a crash in state revenue along with over zealous tax cutting for high income individuals and corporations. Just call us Okie Joe. . .

Santa Fe's austerity is like walking with this spring wind in your face. And there's more to come. Rather than find funding for a Medicaid shortfall and enjoy the matching federal funds, we're going to cut funding. As for any revenue enhancement, that's about as likely as Chuck Franco giving up his baloney sandwiches--even if that position itself is baloney.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Polling Martinez: Three Surveys Show Her Below Key 50% Level; Drop In Dem Support Drives Her Polling Plunge, Plus: Yates Vs. Rogers In Final Stretch  

Blog readers recently learned exclusively that the approval rating of Gov. Martinez had dropped below the key 50% mark. A poll conducted for a political action committee had her near 46%. Another poll conducted for an elected official had Martinez's approval rating at 47 percent. And now the first public poll of this year is out and confirms Martinez sinking below 50 percent, garnering approval from just 48% of those surveyed:

A Morning Consult survey of more than 66,000 voters in all 50 states was taken from January until early May...The data was weighed using the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. Sample sizes varied from state to state based on their population. . . Morning Consult is a media and technology company at the intersection of politics, policy, Wall Street and business strategy. . . Our journalism seeks out the stories and news that are shaping industry and government.

The PAC poll that has Martinez at 45% becomes 46% when rounded up and that's what it is circulating. The margin of error in that survey is plus or minus 2 percent, signaling the many voters interviewed. The MOE in the elected official's poll is plus or minus 4 percent. Morning Consult did not assign an MOE to its poll.

And, yes, we can hear the moaning that we are not releasing the name of the PAC or the elected official. We received the polling info on the pledge of anonymity but our track record in reporting polling speaks for itself. Also, the mainstream media rarely polls the Governor. It is left to us to ferret out where a sitting governor stands with the public.

Given that the upcoming campaigns will be crafted with Martinez in mind and that her policies have always been heavily influenced by polling data, it is essential to know where she stands in order to understand the state of New Mexico politics. Adding to the significance is the fact that this is the first round of polling that has put Martinez below 50% since she became governor in 2011.

That the infamous December holiday pizza party would lead to a decline in Martinez's numbers was first reported here in a blog titled "The Masquerade is Over"
in which we called it a defining moment of her tenure. It turns out it was. She was re-elected in 2014 in an an historic near landslide for a Republican, getting over 57% of the vote. She appears to have slid ten points from that high water mark or a drop of about 17 percent in overall support.

So just where is Martinez losing support? Again, we can report exclusively that it is with Democrats. Martinez has been kept in the mid 50's in approval by Democrats supporting a Republican governor. In the cross tabs we've seen she has taken a big hit with them in recent months. She also drops with independents and even takes a smaller hit with fellow Republicans.

Again, her behavior stemming form the ill-fated pizza party altered positive perceptions of Martinez. That,  combined with continued bad economic news, would seem to be the root cause of her increased unpopularity.

Getting significant support from the opposition party--as Martinez has done-- is no easy task. Winning them back won't be easy, either. At this point Martinez's best bet is probably to just stop the bleeding and avoid a further polling plunge.


The squabbling in her Republican party isn't helping Martinez repair her polling damage as the GOP seem quite divided as we enter the final week of campaigning for the position of GOP national committeeman.

Former NM GOP Chairman Harvey Yates is challenging two term incumbent Pat Rogers. The letters and literature have been bombarding the 500 plus state convention delegates who will decide the matter this Saturday in ABQ. Shown here is one of Rogers' latest efforts.

Yates is pushing back against the endorsements of Rogers by several state House committee chairmen. His own chair endorsements in this letter to the delegates from the chairs:

. . . There is no lack of folks who are willing to take credit for Republicans’ recent success in New Mexico elections. It would be very difficult, however to find anyone more deserving of credit than Harvey Yates. Our winning streak began in 2010. . . Congressman Pearce was able to win back his House seat, Susana Martinez and John Sanchez became Governor and Lt. Governor and. . . we were able to win the Secretary of State’s race. That would have been a spectacular achievement without including the eight house seats gained by Republicans that year - and Harvey Yates led the effort as Chairman of the GOP.

Here are the committee chairs endorsing Yates in the letter:

Yvette Herrell – Chairman / Regulatory and Public Affairs
James Strickler – Chairman / Energy, Environment and Natural Resources
Cathrynn Brown – Chairman / Transportation and Public Works
Paul Bandy – Chairman / House Rules and Vice-Chairman / Appropriations and Finance
Candy Ezzell – Chairman / Agriculture, Water and Wildlife

Each delegate to the GOP convention Saturday must pay an $85 registration fee. At least with the Yates-Rogers battle going full strength, they'll get their money's worth.

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