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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Fasten Your Seat Belts: More On That Heated Dem Race For State Treasurer; Possible Conflict For Benavidez Explored; Eichenberg Doubles Down On Charges Against Montoya  

Heather Benavidez
Perhaps against our better judgment and at risk to our mental health we once again wade into the frightfully contentious race for the Democratic nomination for State Treasurer featuring combatants Heather Benavidez, who has worked as an executive to current Treasurer Tim Eichenberg, and former two term Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya. Fasten your seat belts. We're off. . .

Our Legal Beagles inform that there does not appear to be any legal issue with Heather Benavidez serving on the state Board of Finance if she is elected State Treasurer but there are ethical concerns.

MLG appointed former state Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez to serve on that powerful board that oversees state fiscal practices and has the authority to issue general obligation and severance tax revenue bonds. As Treasurer, Benavidez, who is married to Sanchez's son, would automatically serve on the board. According to the BOF website

The State Board of Finance. . . Members are the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer and four members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the senate.  No more than two appointed members may be from the same political party and each appointed member serves a two-year term.  The Governor is the president of the Board. . . The Board of Finance Division provides operational, analytical, and administrative support to the State Board of Finance in accordance with statutory mandates. The Board has broad statutory responsibilities for general supervision of the fiscal affairs of the State, in addition to other regulatory and oversight functions. . . 

Having two close relatives voting on important and costly financial matters on one of the state's most influential boards would obviously not be a "good look" and could present more serious issues. 

We asked Benavidez of Valencia County for her thoughts on this possible conflict of interest. She replied:

After I’m sworn in, I will address any perceived conflict that you think might exist.

Oh, we get it. The blog is the only place in the entire state that looks askance at the situation and voting Democrats should just not bother with these silly matters and vote for you now and worry later? Nice try, Tim.

How soon they forget that not that long ago we had two state treasurers forced out of office and jailed because of massive corruption charges. 

Well, it will be interesting to see what MLG or possibly a Gov. Ronchetti think of the situation since the Governor appoints the four board members that are not placed there under statute. 

Laura Montoya said of the situation:

Morally and ethically, it's concerning.

Former Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya, the sole candidate seeking the Republican nomination for Treasurer, commented:

I think it would be inappropriate for two close relatives to serve on the Board of Finance. It's possible one could have undue influence over the other on matters before the Board. If elected, I would urge the Governor to reshape the board to avoid any potential conflict of interest. 

Look at that. Someone else other than your blogger sees a possible conflict. For a minute there we were worried about our mental health but, as usual, it's the politicos mental well-being that is the issue. 

(The initial report on this subject Tuesday incorrectly identified the state board Sanchez sits on as the State Investment Council which the state Treasurer also automatically serves on.)

EICHENBERG PUSHBACK

Laura Montoya
Meanwhile current Treasurer Tim Eichenberg is defending himself against a letter of condemnation from a group of Democratic Party county chairpersons for the negative campaign he has personally been conducting against Montoya and that we carried here Tuesday. He wrote this to the chairs:

I’m surprised. . . that Democratic Party Chairs would take such an aggressive position in support of a candidate in a competitive primary race. Perhaps I’m old fashioned but it’s always been my belief that  Party officials don’t take sides in a competitive Democratic Primary. As State Treasurer I have no such legal or ethical prohibition.

I intend to protect the integrity of the State Treasurer’s office and that’s why I’ve been active in this primary. Primaries are to vet candidates and I believe it is important for voters to have information on our candidates that may negatively affect the result in the General Election. 

The list of why I believe Laura Montoya should not be the next State Treasurer goes on and on and I will continue to put a light on her past. I think Democratic Primary voters have a right to know Laura Montoya’s background as it impacts her ability to be a successful State Treasurer. If we can’t look ourselves honestly in the mirror during a primary, I assure you that our Republican opponents will seize the opportunity, as you pointed out, to besmirch whomever we nominate. The Republicans will use any weak link to demonize the entire ticket. So, I categorically reject your threats. 

Eichenberg listed a number of allegations against Montoya including this one:

Sandoval County’s financial consultant documented many times to the Board of Commissioners Laura Montoya’s counter-productive investment program resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenues to the County. 

Montoya responded:

I let go the county financial adviser (in 2014) after researching that the county's investment portfolio had investments such as junk bonds that are not permissible and that the adviser was making three times the national average. Had I stayed with that portfolio I would have had severe losses and could have been in trouble for investing in instruments that were not permissible under the law. 

Without a doubt the combative race for state Treasurer will be high on our watch list Primary Election Night June 7th when we broadcast all the statewide results on KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com.

AG ACTION

Colón and Torrez
Another too hot to handle race is that contest for the Dem nomination for attorney general with State Auditor Brian Colón and BernCo District Attorney Raul Torrez in all-out negative mode in what is one of the most grueling campaigns for the position in recent history. Tonight the pair will debate in person at 6:30 p.m. on KOAT-TV. We're glad they're not having it on Zoom but maybe there ought to be a big bouncer sitting between the two--just in case. . . 

The race appears tight and according to a poll conducted by the Colón campaign, it is. They have it at 35 percent for their guy and Torrez at 31 with a still high 28 percent of Dem voters undecided. The survey was taken May 12-15 so already it's a bit long in the tooth considering how both sides have amped up their TV onslaughts since then. 

The survey was conducted by DC's Lake Research which ha a long track record in the state. They say Colón is leading in all geographic areas including Torrez's home base of BernCo. There's s a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent so Torrez is not out of position. The poll used in-person phone calls to 500 likely voters.

A SurveyUSA poll conducted April 29 thru May 7 had Torrez leading Colón 38 to 34 with 28 percent undecided. In that poll Torrez was leading in BernCo.

TV TALK

GOP Guv candidate Jay Block comes with a 60 second spot that takes on the homeless problem but in not a typical GOP way. Standing outside a crowded homeless camp near downtown ABQ, he declares that as Governor he would devote significant resources to treating mental issues of the homeless. He recently said:

"I look at a lot of things through the lens of a kid and an adult who’s gone through a lot with drugs, alcohol and mental health,” Block said. Like many veterans, he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, he said, after serving in Afghanistan. As a child, his parents were arrested on drug charges and school was more challenging because he had dyslexia.

Block says MLG has "turned her back" on mental health and addiction issues. He adds that he also could find common ground with Democrats on education and crime.

MLG continues her early reelection ad blitz with more of those 15 second spots touting programs advanced by her administration. This one is on tuition free college and this one on streamlining state regulations for business. 
 
This is the home of New Mexico politics. 

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2022

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Nasty Treasurer Battle Draws Condemnation For Eichenberg From Dem Party County Chairs, Plus: New Political Odd Couple; Stansbury And Herrell, And: Block Rips GOP Guv Polling Leaders 

Eichenberg
The battle for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer has turned into one of the nastiest ever for a down ballot statewide office. 

Heather Benavidez and Laura Montoya are facing off for that nomination but it's almost as though current term limited State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg is also on the ballot. He is pulling out all the stops for Benavidez and conducting a scorched earth campaign against former Sandoval County Treasurer Montoya that includes hits on conduct in her personal life. 

A group of Democratic Party county chairmen and two high ranking Democratic officials have had enough. They've issued a letter of condemnation of Eichenberg who has previously endorsed Montoya for political office and who has long been one of the most popular elected Dems in the state: 

Tim Eichenberg has launched one of the most horrific, vitriolic, deceitful, mudslinging media campaigns ever witnessed against a well-qualified Democratic candidate. . .Eichenberg has misused the Treasurer Seal in an unethical attempt to promote his favored candidate. Eichenberg has ignored the increasing choir of colleagues who have respectfully pleaded with him to stop this destructive campaign. These unsavory tactics have been designed to ruin the reputation of a good and decent candidate, just because Eichenberg didn’t hand pick her. . .Our primaries must not descend into schoolyard spectacles where baseless accusations, half-truth distortions, and character assassinations are accepted. . .Ethical Democrats must stamp out inappropriate actions within our own ranks. The following individuals stand united in condemning sitting Treasurer Eichenberg salacious and egregious campaign tactics.

Among those signing the letter were Bernalillo County Chair Flora Lucero; Santa Fe County Chair Bernadette Vadurro; San Juan County Chair Mark Lewis; Sandoval County Chair Alexandria Piland; Socorro County Chair Juanita Gordon and McKinley County Chair Mary Ann Armijo, among others.

Eichenberg say he was motivated to do the attacks simply because of Montoya's character. And it should be noted that there are 33 counties in the state each with a party chairman. 

There is a red flag here. Former Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez sits on the state Board of Finance, appointed to the panel by MLG. Heather Benavidez is the daughter in law of Sanchez and would automatically sit on that board if elected Treasurer. According to the BOF website

The Board of Finance Division provides operational, analytical, and administrative support to the State Board of Finance in accordance with statutory mandates. The Board has broad statutory responsibilities for general supervision of the fiscal affairs of the State, in addition to other regulatory and oversight functions. . . The State Board of Finance is created in Section 6-1-1 NMSA 1978.  Members are the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer and four members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the senate.  No more than two appointed members may be from the same political party and each appointed member serves a two-year term.  The Governor is the president of the Board.

The Board has the authority to issue general obligation bonds and severance tax revenue bonds.

(An earlier version of this report incorrectly said Sanchez sits on the State Investment Council which the Treasurer also automatically serves on.)

THE ODD COUPLE

Rep. Herrell
You might call them the new odd couple. Progressive Dem ABQ US Rep. Melanie Stansbury and very conservative GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell are becoming if not fast friends--much better acquainted--as they both seek re-election this year.

Herrell's steadfast support of Donald Trump has made her a kind of black sheep in the five member state congressional delegation but that underwent an abrupt change when Stansbury announced in an apparent first that she and Herrell will actually co-sponsor a bill together. 

Stansbury's office says the Water Data Act is. . . 

Designed to transform and modernize water management across the United States by putting the power of data and science into the hands of communities, farmers, and water managers. The Act will create a national framework to unleash the power of water data, address longstanding technical challenges in water data and science and create a national Water Data Council/ 

Herrell chimed in: 

Rep. Stansbury
Ensuring that federal agencies adopt coordinated standards for reporting water data will enable states, tribes, and local communities to more easily access this information, which is vital during the severe drought conditions in New Mexico is currently experiencing.

There's good reason for these political opposites to find common ground. Stansbury's new district extends into rural counties that once belonged to Herrell and Herrell's new district includes parts of Albuquerque that were once in Stansbury's district. 

With an uncertain national environment, Stansbury needs to tone down her "wokeness" and Herrell needs more street cred on policy not politics. Working together gets Stansbury entree to conservatives and Herrell to liberals so stay tuned for the next episode of the odd couple.

NOT GIVING UP

That Sunday Journal poll showing Mark Ronchetti trouncing his four foes for the GOP Guv nomination a real morale buster, but Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block isn't giving up and  after the debate made his case this way:

The political insider candidates have gone negative on each other and now they are unelectable. Mark Ronchetti lost to Ben Ray Lujan for U.S. Senate in 2020 by almost 60,000 votes. Lujan was a much weaker candidate than our current Governor and if we nominate the weatherman, history will repeat itself and a Lujan will reign victorious once more. (State Rep.) Rebecca Dow has even more baggage than a career politician in Washington. Once MLG grabs this baggage she will make her unelectable. Both of these candidates cannot defeat our current Governor, I can. A vote for Ronchetti or Dow is a vote for a second Michelle Lujan Grisham term. 

THE BOTTOM LINES

One of Ronchetti's favorite lines on the campaign trail is how he is proud "not to be a politician." But he is, according to the dictionary:

A person who is professionally involved in politics, especially as a holder of or a candidate for an elected office.

Politician or not, Dems are now worried about Ronchetti winning the GOP nomination in a landslide and coming into the general election with added momentum. 

Reader Steve Crespin writes of a divided NMGOP:

Joe: Regarding your May 19 blog “GOP Heavy Hitters Sit On The Bench In NM Guv. Race." If you go back to my comment on June 3, 2021, I blame Susana Martinez and her inner circle of jack asses for the huge divide in the Republican Party. I also said it would take a minimum of two election cycles (8 years)for the NM Republican Party to begin to recover from her disastrous administration. Unless the Republican Party can completely separate itself from Susana and the idiots she surrounded herself with, my June 3, 2021 prediction will come true.

From the city of Espanola May 3 police blotter:

1:58 p.m. A caller said a man is going crazy, yelling at the sky and jumping up and down.

Wonder which primary candidate that was?

This is the home of New Mexico politics. 

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.  

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2022

Monday, May 23, 2022

Big Ronchetti Lead Confirmed In GOP Guv Contest; Dow Distant Second In Latest Poll, Plus: Candidate TV Debate Fizzles, And: Affairs Of The Heart; MLG Wedding Update 

The ABQ Journal poll Sunday showing Mark Ronchetti running away with the '22 GOP gubernatorial nomination proved anti-climatic, confirming the commanding lead that the former TV weatherman demonstrated in the early May SurveyUSA poll. 

However the authoritative Journal poll did remedy an apparent misread from SurveyUSA. State Rep. Rebecca Dow placed second in the Journal poll, while SurveyUSA had her in fourth, even though she is the only candidate besides Ronchetti spending heavily on statewide TV ads.

The Journal poll had Ronchetti at 45 percent and Dow running second at 17 percent. Greg Zanetti received 9; Jay Block garnered 8 percent and Ethel Maharg one percent. 
 
The poll was conducted May 15-19 among 560 likely GOP voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.

SurveyUSA had Ronchetti at 44 percent and Dow at 9 percent. Dow nearly doubled her support in the Journal survey.

SurveyUSA methodology gets the big picture right but the Journal had Dow with a healthy lead in the Las Cruces/SW section of the state in her home territory. That was the major difference.

The Journal uses in-person interviews with tightly screened voters and over 80 percent of responses are from cell phone users. No robo calls. No Internet panels. It's not cheap but that's what it takes to get the most accurate and useful results. 

The relatively high undecided of 21 percent in the Journal poll bothered some Republicans who read it as a lack of enthusiasm for either Ronchetti or Dow, signaling that the primary winner may have work to do to bring them home in November. 

THE DOW DIVE

Ronchetti has had only one scare in the primary. That's when Dow came with her winning TV ad on border security, but that was her peak. 

Next she came with an ad questioning Ronchetti's loyalty to Trump. His campaign then pummeled Dow in a relentless wave of negative ads, including one about her voting for a state budget bill that allowed undocumented immigrants to collect Covid relief money. 

GOP analysts said that hit appeared to be the most damaging, proving yet again that when done right negative campaigning is a powerful tool.

Then there's the critical money difference. Ronchetti has raised $2.5 million and had $1.495 million in cash on hand as of May 2. Dow reported $495,000 in cash and raising $1.3 million. 

As her campaign stalled under the rain of negative attacks Dow was left airing just a single ad for several weeks. That spelled the end long before the official election day of June 7.

Dow has now gone positive with this latest ad that labels her the "proven conservative" in the race. 

As for the general election outlook, the first job for the GOP is to get the race fully in play. As of May 18 the consensus forecast of the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections and Sabato's Crystal Ball rank the race "likely Democratic" and Real Clear Politics does not list NM among their "Top 2022 Governor Races.

ZOOM MALAISE

The five GOP contenders conducted their one and only TV debate that aired Friday night on KOAT-TV but it was not very illuminating. 

Because the station policy does not allow anyone unvaccinated into the building, the debate was pre-recorded and conducted via Zoom, always an annoying prospect but especially so in this case. 

Candidates Zanetti and Block were plagued with significant technical issues, demonstrating that the station should have moved the one and only debate to a remote location and held it live. That would have solved the Zoom problem and also promoted a more vigorous exchange among the candidates. 

As it was a few sparks flew but none of any major consequence, leaving Ronchetti accomplishing his goal of leaving unharmed.

All the candidates, however, acquitted themselves when it came to understanding the key issues they were asked about including the state's wildfires, border security and crime. 

JAY VS. JAY

Pity Jay Block. He tried to score points when he asked Ronchetti why he had hired controversial political consultant Jay McCleskey who last year settled a defamation lawsuit brought by a GOP state House candidate whom he had attacked. McCleskey also was the subject of a federal grand jury investigation regarding campaign finances when he worked for  Gov. Susana Martinez. That probe ended with no charges. 

But Block's maneuver backfired badly when Ronchetti shot back that Block had tried to hire McCleskey for his own Guv campaign. There was much guffawing over that. 

Dow, Zanetti and Block continued to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Biden's election but Ronchetti did not, positioning himself in the center for his now expected face-off with MLG.

THE INK STAINED SPEAK

The Republican leaning editorial pages of the ABQ Journal have endorsed Ronchetti as have the liberal leaning editorial pages of the Santa Fe New Mexican. In the race for the Dem nomination for attorney general the Journal went with Raul Torrez and the New Mexican endorsed Brian Colón. 

AFFAIRS OF THE HEART

The publicity surrounding MLG's Saturday wedding to longtime boyfriend Manny Cordova was so low-key (nonexistent in fact) that one could assume they ran off to Vegas and eloped, not tying the knot at the DC home of the Vice-President of the USA who conducted  the ceremony. 

But the raging wildfires burning so many homes and ruining so many lives and requiring gubernatorial attention made the spectacle of a joyous MLG wedding a touchy political situation and the event did appear touch and go for a while.

Last Tuesday we blogged that a reliable source was told directly by MLG that the wedding would be postponed because of the fires that have received worldwide attention. The newspapers asked the Fourth Floor about that report but were deflected and were told there would be no comment until Friday. Odd for sure. Then it was announced that MLG would be traveling to Washington to meet with top federal officials about the fires. That gave her the PR cover she sought to quietly get married the following day. 

But Saturday and Sunday came with still no official release about the wedding, no photos of VP Kamala Harris officiating and no pics of a smiling and freshly hitched couple. But a spokesman did confirm to us that "the wedding occurred as planned." In fact, the only pictures of the governor that surfaced were of her visit Sunday to fire stricken areas in the north. 

With the blacked out wedding taking place, it turns out our initial report was incorrect or perhaps temporarily correct. It just goes to show that affairs of the heart are often unpredictable and subject to change without notice. In any event, congrats to the newlyweds. We'll keep it as quiet as possible. 

THE BOTTOM LINES

It’s peak season for La Politica and we’ll run down all the action today at 5 PM on KKOB with radio veteran TJ Trout. As usual, this will be a no spin zone.

This is the home of New Mexico politics. 

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.  

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2022

Thursday, May 19, 2022

GOP Heavy Hitters Step Up To Plate For Domenici Son Running For Senate But Sit On The Bench In NM Guv Race; Party Split Still There As NM GOP Struggles For Rebirth 

They love their politics, they just don't love the Republican candidates for Governor. We'll explain. . .

A who's who of GOP heavy hitters came together this week for a high dollar fund-raiser for Adam Laxalt, son of the late NM US Senator Pete Domenici now running for a Senate seat of his own in Nevada. The minimum donation was $1,000 and up to $5,800, the maximum allowed.  

Pictured left to right are Doug Turner, nationally known public affairs expert who ran for the GOP nomination for Governor in 2010; Adam Laxalt (whose grandfather was the late Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt); Harvey Yates, former NM GOP chairman whose family made a fortune in the oil business; Ryan Cangliosi, another former state GOP chairman but not of a rarefied financial pedigree; Roswell oilman Mark Murphy, whose family, like Yates', has made a fortune in oil and who has been a key political player for years and Ben Spencerfounder of the land developer Titan Development that has made him a millionaire many times over. 

The host committee for the event included George Romanos, Domenici's longtime, loyal chief of staff and Terri and Jack Fortner, living legends in GOP politics in the Four Corners.

The picture is fascinating on several fronts. 

First, all of these men represent the anti-Susana Martinez wing of the state GOP. The pro Martinez  wing is now led by GOP governor candidate Mark Ronchetti and Martinez's consultant Jay McCleskey. 

Second, none of the heavy hitters, of course, has donated to Ronchetti but neither have they given major money to Rebecca Dow, the chief anti-Martinez candidate seeking the Guv nomination against Ronchetti. They have sat on their wallets, opting not to reignite the intraparty warfare that has so bedeviled the GOP and sent it into extinction when it comes to winning statewide office. A showdown will apparently have to wait for another day. 

Don't think these hitters couldn't make a difference. Murphy and his friends were instrumental recently in making Democrat Tim Jennings the mayor of the ruby red city of Roswell. 

The one thing the group does have in common with Ronchetti is an apparent dislike of Donald Trump who was famously anti-Martinez. Dow is an unabashed Trumper. Saint Pete and the GOP heavy hitters are middle of the road guys. Still, many of them donated big bucks to Trump.

The GOP being what it is today Laxalt, 43, who served as Nevada's attorney general, accepted the endorsement of Trump last year as well as that of Florida Gov. Ron Desantis. Like his dad, Adam knows how to cover all the bases. 

Senator Domenici was the longest serving US Senator in NM history ('73-'09) and it was not until 2011 after he left the Senate that he disclosed that he had conceived Adam Laxalt out of wedlock with the lobbyist daughter of Nevada GOP Senator Paul Laxalt. 

Domenici was not a big presence in young Adam's life but if politics is passed along in the DNA, Laxalt got a big dose. 

Laxalt was elected attorney general in 2014. In 2018 he sought the Nevada governorship and lost. In 1970 his father Pete Domenici lost the governorship to Bruce King. In 1972 Pete was elected to the US Senate where son Adam now hopes to follow in his footsteps--if he can get past Dem US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. It is a very tight race. 

It looks like the GOP heavy hitters pictured here are having grand old time hosting and doling out cash to Laxalt at ABQ's upscale boutique Hotel Parq. If only they could figure out how to do the same for some New Mexico Republicans, New Mexico might someday again become a two party state. 

But congrats on the fundraiser fellas. . . or something. 

(Exclusive photo courtesy of a Senior Alligator who will not be reimbursed if they had to pay Five Grand to get in.)

BLOGGING SENATOR

Sen. Heinrich does a little campaign blogging in his latest fund-raising missive. Take a look:

A Chevron-backed super PAC is pouring tens of thousands of dollars into New Mexico’s Democratic primaries. They want to tip the scales in corporate America’s direction. We can’t let them. One of their main targets is Raúl Torrez, who I’m proud to support for Attorney General. Raúl will fight every day to preserve our public lands, protect a woman’s right to choose, and hold corporate bad actors accountable for preying on New Mexico’s most vulnerable communities. And that’s all a threat to this super PAC — who’s mailing out ads attacking Raúl in an attempt to keep him out of the Attorney General’s office.

Okay, not exactly unbiased blogging there but interesting info as the race for the AG nomination between Torrez and Brian Colón has turned hotter than a Tucumcari parking lot in July. 

Of all the oil companies, Chevron is the most active politically in New Mexico. Former NM GOP political consultant Pat Killen is a key player in determining where the cash goes and does so very quietly.

RAISING GREEN

Here's another interesting pic courtesy of the Alligators who are now running frenzied laps on the campaign trail. 

It's MLG attending a fund-raiser for legislative candidates this week with Cherise Quezda pictured in front of her who is running against Eleanor Chavez for the Dem nomination for ABQ westside District 26. 

It may have been a bit awkward as MLG has not endorsed Quezada but did endorse state Rep. Art De La Cruz who along with Quezada was being feted at the fundraiser. De La Cruz has two opponents. 

But green is green and the Guv's presence hyped turnout for the event held at the home of ABQ City Councilor Klarissa Pena. Some of the green generated fell into Quezada's purse--endorsement or no endorsement. 

Yeah, there are some weeks when we really dig this stuff. This has been one of those. See ya back here Monday. 

Reporting from Albuquerque, I am Joe Monahan and this is. . .  

The home of New Mexico politics. 

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.  

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2022
 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Analysts And Alligators Size Up State Of The Major Races As June 7th Primary Campaign Heats Up, Plus: Trial Lawyers With Big Money For Progressive House Dem Contenders 

Less than three weeks to go before the June 7th primary and here's the conventional wisdom from the Insiders, Alligators, Wall-Leaners and Hangers-on as to where things stand in the major contested races.

Governor--The race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination had hearts racing when Rebecca Dow came with her polished, debut TV ad on border security featuring her riding on horseback with elected sheriffs. But the excitement has since died down as Dow stalled out and Mark Ronchetti pulled away. Without a bombshell development Ronchetti will likely end up in the winner's circle.

Attorney General--BernCo District Attorney Raul Torrez got off to a slow start but since is now coming on stronger. State Auditor Brian Colón has outraised Torrez and has a distinct financial advantage, but did Colón err by not spending more of his money earlier? Early polling is inconclusive and there is too much media to play out for forecasters to give either hopeful a solid edge. 

State Treasurer---Tim Eichenberg is a well-respected state treasurer but his foray into negative campaigning on behalf of Heather Benavidez is a backfire, according to several of our insiders. They see former Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya benefiting from Eichenberg's interference and her experience as an actual treasurer giving her the edge. 

State Auditor---Public Regulation Commissioner Joe Maestas is being put through his paces by 31 year old Zack Quintero but the 61 year old Maestas been elected to a number offices in the North besides the PRC and has a strong base there. To pull off the win Quintero could use statewide TV exposure. But money is a problem.

Lieutenant Governor---Republican newcomer Ant Thornton, a retired aerospace engineer from ABQ's East Mountains, carried the day with 59 percent of the vote at the GOP preprimary convention. No other candidate received the required 20 percent to win an offical spot on the primary ballot. Peggy Muller-Aragon, an elected school board member in ABQ, submitted petition signatures to make the ballot. It appears Thornton will be the first Black to be nominated lieutenant governor by a major state political party.

IT'S THE ECONOMY

MLG continues her early effort to get her approval rating up to the key 50 percent mark and also interfere with the early TV bashing she's getting in the Republican primary. Here is the third, 15 second TV ad she is running addressing the economy. The subject is paid sick leave.

The campaign has also set up a web site--newmexicodelivers.com--to tout the economic achievements of the administration, including child care assistance, college tuition, and cutting Social Security taxes.

The economy is seen as her strong suit while high crime is seen as her weak hand. Her approval rating in the late April/early May SurveyUSA poll was 47 percent, 

LAWYER PAC

A PAC--Committee for Individual Responsibility--has raised $288,000 in contributions from trial lawyers and has been doling out the maximum contribution of $5,200 to progressive Dem House primary candidates. That includes Eleanor Chavez running for the Dem nomination for an ABQ westside seat; Andrea Romero running for re-election in Santa Fe; Rep. Kristina Ortez in Taos; Rep. Meredith Dixon in ABQ; Rep. Sue Herrera in Rio Arriba and Rep. Pamelya Herndon in ABQ.

At the '21 legislative session a bill supported by trial lawyers to abolish qualified immunity for law enforcement officers was approved and signed by the Governor. The measure "shields officers from civil  from civil liability as long as they didn't violate an individual's clearly established constitutional right."

GOP Guv candidate Mark Ronchetti is now using MLG's support of that bill in an anti-crime TV ad called "Back the Blue." 

Trial lawyers are often hired on contract by state government to pursue lawsuits against corporations for a variety of causes, including the opioid epidemic and environmental damage.

THE BOTTOM LINES 

We joined radio talker Richard Eeds on Santa Fe's KTRC Tuesday to take a look at some of the key primary races in the June 7th election. A portion of that program can be heard here. . .

And we're putting together Election Night coverage for you on public radio station KANW 89.1 FM radio, our 34th consecutive year of doing so and looking forward to returning to the studio after two years of Zoom. 

We've learned a lot in nearly 50 years of covering and participating in the public discourse but the overriding lesson is that the First Amendment is the guardian angel of La Politica. 

May it ever be so.

This is the home of New Mexico politics. 

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.  

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Playing Favorites: MLG Treads Carefully With ABQ House Endorsements, Plus: Martinez Vs. Whitlock In Hot SW NM House Primary, And: Wedding Bells Fall Silent For MLG; Fire Disaster Cancels Ceremony Planned For VP Harris Home 

The joke is that Dem Sen. Martin Heinrich makes political endorsements like he hunts elk--if it moves he shoots. But Gov. Lujan Grisham, navigating her re-election this year, is more circumspect when doling out her support.

Take this fund-raising event she's having tonight where ABQ Dem state Rep. Art De La Cruz is being highlighted as well as Dem state Rep. candidate Cherise Quezada who is in an intense primary battle with former state Rep. Eleanor Chavez for an ABQ westside House seat. 

MLG's campaign confirms she is publicly backing De La Cruz who was appointed to fill a vacancy to his South Valley seat and is now seeking election for the first time. However, the Guv is not endorsing Quezada, wife of Dem BernCo Commissioner Michael Quezada--at least "for now" says the Guv's camp.

De La Cruz, a moderate, faces two progressive women candidates who may be splitting the vote and favoring the former county commissioner. 

That De La Cruz also happens to be a Hispanic male and moderate, a sore polling point for MLG, can't be overlooked.

The Quezada-Chavez face-off is tricker territory with the race expected to be close and progressives more intent on taking the seat that is being vacated by Rep. Georgene Louis. The upside for an MLG endorsement doesn't seem as obvious there as with De La Cruz.

MARTINEZ VS. WHITLOCK

Another state House primary battle getting attention is in SW NM where former Dem state Rep. Rudy Martinez is battling Karren Whitlock, who twice ran unsuccessfully against Republican Rep. Rebecca Dow and who is now running for Govneor. 

With redistricting Martinez and Whitlock are now facing off in HD 39 which includes Silver City in Grant County as well as towns and villages in Catron and Hidalgo counties. 

The seat is currently held by freshman GOP Rep. Luis Terrazas who beat Martinez in 2020. But Terrazas could be in trouble no matter who wins the Dem primary. His new seat has a Democratic performance rating of 55.7 percent to 44.3 percent for Republicans. 

Whitlock, the progressive in the race and Martinez the moderate, were evenly matched in cash on hand going into the final weeks, with Whitlock reporting $48,000 for the last weeks, including a personal loan of $16,000. Martinez, who has represented the area on and off for the last ten years, reported $47,000 in cash, including a personal loan of $15,000.

Whitlock, an educator and social worker, received $1,000 from state Rep. Patty Lundstrom in the most recent money reports and $2,000 from Rep. Javier Martinez. Both are potential candidates to replace outgoing House Speaker Brian Egolf. The selection will made by the House Democratic caucus. Lundstrom also donated $1,000 to rudy Martinez but Javier Martinez's committee did not donate to him.

Whitlock vs. Martinez will be high on our watch list when we take to KANW 89.1 FM on June 7 to deliver all the latest primary election results.

MARTIN FOR ZACK

Meanwhile, Sen. Heinrich is back with yet another round of endorsements, the chief one being that of Dem State Auditor candidate Zack Quintero who is challenging Public Regulation Commissioner Joe Maestas for the Auditor nomination. The stakes are high. There is no Republican candidate running so the Dem primary winner will take the prize. There is a Libertairan candidate. 

NO WEDDING BELLS 

There will eventually be wedding bells in MLG's future but they are not going to be heard in DC on May 21 as originally planned. That's the word from close associates of the Governor who said the decision to postpone the wedding of MLG and longtime boyfriend Manny Cordova was made out of respect for those who have suffered tragic consequences from the historic wildfire in Northern NM that is now the largest in state history. 

The Guv has been on the fire scene and giving briefings as well as announcing state actions to deal with the disaster. The "look" of a wedding in the midst of all of that would obviously be inappropriate. The couple were scheduled to be married at the home of Vice-President Kamala Harris with Harris officiating. No new wedding date has been announced. 

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Monday, May 16, 2022

Santa Fe's Cup Still Runneth Over From Oil Boom; Where To From Here? Plus: Colón And Torrez Still Not Household Names, And: Unknown Southern Congress Candidate Stands Out On Oil Views  

Another state revenue report and another upside explosion.

That's old hat now as the oil boom in the Permian Basin in SE NM blossoms even more and as higher inflation makes everything cost more so the taxman takes in more cash.

But what a startling mountain of cash it continues to be. The bean counters at the Legislative Finance Committee now say the budget for the year that ends July 1 will see a whopping $442 million more revenue than previously thought. And, an early childhood trust fund that sops up some of the excess oil royalties is now predicted to hit a stunning $4 billion in just two years. 

That doesn't include the billions now in the general fund reserve and a tax stabilization fund that also takes in energy revenue. 

These massive revenue inflows demand big ideas. We aren't getting anywhere near enough of them but some are trickling in. 

LFC Director David Abbey proposes establishing endowments to create revenue streams for some programs to free the state from worry over a downturn in oil prices, An example is the Opportunity Scholarship fund that pays tuition and fees for NM college students and soon could cost $100 million a year. An endowment could supplement those costs over the long-term. 

We've discussed going the Alaska way here and pushing out annual checks to taxpayers from the oil gusher. The rebate checks that the Governor did not jump for joy over when introduced will total $500 for individuals and $1,000 for two income households this year. That looks downright cheap in light of the mammoth surpluses and higher inflation. Those rebates could now easily be doubled. It makes more sense as gas goes over 4 bucks a gallon and rents are being raised in the ABQ metro at a clip of $300 a month or more.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Lundstorm wants to look at abolishing the personal income tax as other states have. She frets over the top rate of 4.9 percent, but a better start would probably be eliminating the tax for households with income under $60,000 and then tackle the top bracket. 

The time for reforming the more complicated gross receipts tax--long criticized as a job killer and business inhibitor--appears to have finally come in this new financial era. That sweeping project will require firm gubernatorial leadership.

POITICAL IMPACT

The massive surpluses have made budget management nearly irrelevant on the '22 campaign trail. The state never--that's never--has enjoyed a horn of plenty like this. However, inflation remains a problem and with it an opportunity for the GOP as they try to tie national Dem policies to the state election. 

Leading GOP Guv candidate Mark Ronchetti has come with a new TV ad that has him saying he will "take on the Biden administration and unleash New Mexico energy."

But New Mexico energy is more than unleashed, it's running like a wild horse. So much so that the state recently became the second largest oil producer in the USA and another record is expected in '22. That's even as the Biden administration temporarily suspended oil and gas leases and drilling permits on federal lands. The suspension has had minimal impact as the many current leases are more than enough to keep the industry cranking out the black gold at extraordinary levels. And as mentioned at the top m, state oil revenue is out of this world. 

AG RACE

Candidates can get wrapped up and think the world revolves around them but a recent poll conducted in late April and early May in the race for the Dem nomination for attorney general shows how hard it can be to build name ID.

The SurveyUSA poll shows a big 38 percent of voters still undecided in the contest between State Auditor Brian Colón and BernCo District attorney Raul Torrez, despite both being high profile figures in the party. 

The race appears wide open, according to the poll, with Torrez leading 34 to 28 percent (MOE plus or minus 5.7%). The candidates have stepped up their advertising since that survey so the large undecided is on its way down. Where it is falling adds more excitement to one of the few competitive statewide Dem races on the June 7 primary ballot.

UNKNOWN STANDS OUT

Patel
One of those Dem contests that doesn't seem very competitive is for the the nomination for the southern congressional seat held by GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell. 

Former Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez is the heavy favorite but political unknown and physician Darshan N. Patel is no slouch. 

Vasquez, backed by US Sen. Martin Heinrich and most of the Dem establishment, is often described as a progressive candidate but Patel is the same and in one important instance wearing that label brighter than Vasquez.

First, Patel, 35, who works at a hospital in Lovington and lives in Hobbs, describes himself this way:

As the only out LGBT candidate running for any federal or statewide office in NM, a rural physician, union president and former high school teacher, I would bring frontline experience to uniquely represent New Mexico as a policymaker on the issues that matter." 

Now the dividing issue from the ABQ Journal questionnaire:

What is your position on the leasing of federal land for oil, gas and mineral development? Do you think the federal government should change course and issue new leases? 


I oppose new leases on federal land for oil and gas development. New Mexicans are already experiencing a warmer climate, earlier fire seasons, historic drought and worsening air quality. I will stand up to big oil and secure our environment and jobs for future generations and lead a transition to a Green Economy.

Vasquez
Vasquez says:

Bureau of Land Management lands in New Mexico are governed by a multiple-use mandate, and we should continue to use our resources wisely to protect our energy independence, while looking toward the future of our rural economies by promoting uses of federal land that encourage renewable energy development. 

Patel pulls no punches but Vasquez, perhaps positioning himself for a moderate approach in the fall election, pulls back from the progressive view. Is that view congruent with the many environmental supporters of Heinrich and Vasquez or is Patel more in touch with those primary voters? 

FINANCE REPORTS (TAKE 2)

We mangled a software program on the May 11 blog that had the cash on hand totals from early May state finance reports for legislative candidates. The corrected version does not have any impact on the tilt of key races, as handicapped by the political pros, but it is important to have it right. So with apologizes to the hopefuls, we repeat that blog with the dollar amount corrections: 

In District 40 in the Rio Arriba county area the election of former one term state Rep. Joseph Sanchez over incumbent freshman progressive Dem Roger Montoya is now widely expected. But a large swath of the district is impacted by the wild fires and campaign mail can't yet be delivered in some areas. Montoya reported $23,000 in cash on hand for the final month of the race and Sanchez $56,000. Dem consultants say Sanchez has a clear edge. The general election will not be competitive in this heavy Dem district so the primary winner goes to Santa Fe. 

In District 38 in the Soccoro area moderate Dem and Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker is up against progressive Tara Jaramillo. She had $33,000 in cash and Bhasker $19,000 in state money reports filed Monday. Abeyta says because Bhasker has been mayor for over 30 years he has an edge but the race is hard fought. The Dem primary winner will be favored for the November election. 

Back in Rio Arriba in District 41 Dem progressive Rep. Susan Herrera is up against moderate Marlo Martinez. Herrera is running for a third term and has solid name ID. She had $39,000. Martinez is a former probate judge. He had $11,000 in cash. 

In District 42 in Taos county progressive Rep. Kristina Ortez faces moderate Florence Miera but the race has not taken off, with Ortez overwhelming Miera in the money race. Ortez reports $111,000 in cash on hand for the final month while Miera reports $13,000. 

In Santa Fe area District 46 progressive Rep. Andrea Romero has moved past moderate and Santa Fe County Commissioner Henry Roybal. She reports $69,000 in cash to Roybal's $10,000. Two other candidates did not raise significant money. Romero is seeking a third term. 

 In ABQ westside District 26 moderate Cherise Quezada is competing against progressive and former state Rep. Eleanor Chavez for the westside seat that will be vacated at the end of the year by Rep. Georgene Louis. Chavez had $31,000 in cash and Quezada $27,000. The race appears competitive. 

Also on ABQ's westside in District 17, an open seat, former moderate City Councilor Cynthia Borrego is challenging progressive Dem Darrell Deaguero who is a union leader. She reports $19,000 in cash for the final push to Deaguero's $31,000. Borrego lost her re-election bid for the council seat. Deaguerro is making his first run for office. 

Our analysts see the possibility of several of these moderate Dems prevailing and going on to win in November. If so, they could join with moderate Dem reps already there on certain policy votes. And if the Republicans pick up a couple of House seats the progressive majority could be in for numerous policy challenges. Among the many angles we are watching this cycle because. . . 

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

MLG Vs. Ronchetti Poll Match-Up; She Leads But Is Below 50 Percent; Both Have Work To Do, Plus Dow Gets Final Poll Shot At Changing Perception Of Guv Primary, And Latest AG Money Reports  

Now that Mark Ronchetti appears to be closing in on the '22 GOP gubernatorial nomination the conversation includes how vulnerable Governor Lujan Grisham is to a challenge. The answer for now is a mixed bag.

In a SurveyUSA poll conducted for KOB-TV in late April and early May among more than 1,400 likely voters, MLG led Ronchetti 47 to 43 percent, with 11 percent undecided. Error margin is plus or minus 3.9 percent. 

That's below the key 50 percent mark for the incumbent. On the other hand, she is leading and if she was in immediate peril she would be expected to be tied or behind.

For example, SurveyUSA also polled over 1,400 likely voters in May of 2010 when Susana Martinez was on her way to winning the GOP governor nod. That survey pitted her against Democratic Lt. Governor Diane Denish and she beat her in that first poll 49-43. 

Martinez never looked back, winning the election in November with 54 percent. Denish was strangled from the start by the deep unpopularity of Gov. Richardson. 

So, MLG has a bit of a hole to dig out of but not a crater, but so would Ronchetti if he were to be the nominee. In 2020, he spent millions against Dem Ben Ray Lujan for a US Senate seat but came up six points short, getting 46 percent of the vote. Now he has spent over $500,000 on media in this primary and gets 43 percent in a head-to-head with MLG. 

Her job is to get above 50 percent in the months ahead and his is to try to break through a ceiling that keeps him in the low to mid 40's against Democratic opponents.

MLG led in the poll in big Bernalillo County 52-39. Ronchetti won voters concerned about the economy, 49 to 40 but the Dem Governor carried those concerned about crime, 46 to 44. She won moderate voters 52 to 34. 

In a separate question, MLG's approval rating among those surveyed was 48 percent with 46 percent disapproving. 

ANOTHER SHOT 

There will be another and final polling opportunity for Rebecca Dow to show that she still has a shot at the GOP Guv nomination and that Ronchetti is not a done deal. Ronchetti flattened the field in the SurveyUSA poll released this week, leading his closest rival by 32 points. 

The opportunity for Dow will come when the ABQ Journal conducts a poll of the five way race. Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff confirms that the paper will continue their tradition of polling the primary race. The poll will be scientific using in-person phone interviews with the proper mixture of cell phones. The poll will be released May 22. The election is June 7. 

FIRE FINANCE

Many are wondering about the financial impact of the wildfires that have ravaged large swaths of the north this summer. Dem northern US Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez says

 The federal government compensated the residents of Los Alamos county harmed by the (2000) prescribed burn-induced Cerro Grande wildfire – we must do the same for the residents of Mora and San Miguel counties harmed by the Las Dispensas prescribed burn.

Leger Fernandez, Sens. Lujan, Heinrich and Rep. Stansbury introduced The Hermit's Peak Fire Assistance Act that would "require FEMA to design and administer a program for fully compensating those who suffered personal injury, property losses, business and financial losses resulting from the Hermit’s Peak Fire."

About 200 homes have been destroyed so far. Some of those homeowners will have insurance that will help defray the impact. Those without insurance would be entitled to full compensation from the Feds whose Forest Service set the prescribed burn that led to the historic blaze. 

THAT HOT AG RACE

Dem attorney general candidate Brian Colón has a reputation as a prodigious fund-raiser who sharpened his skills under Big Bill and through many of his own campaigns. That reputation carries into this campaign as Colón has raised a total so far of $1.452 million in his race for the nomination against BernCo District Attorney Raul Torrez who has raised a not so shabby $1.066 million. 

It's the cash on hand on May 2 that the candidates reported that makes the race a steeper climb for Torrez. Colon reported $911,000 in cash to Torrez's $382,000.

Among the contributors Colón reported was $1,000 from state Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart. And the campaign committee of current attorney general and Colon BFF Hector Balderas donated $10,000. But Colón was passed over by former Lt. Governor Diane Denish. Colón was the lt. governor nominee on the 2010 Dem ticket when Denish was the governor hopeful, but Torrez reports a $1,000 contribution from her and $500 from her husband Herb. Auto dealer Eddie Corley came with $1,000 for the DA.

The winds of La Politica are always shifting.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Key Dem State House Primaries Analyzed With Arrival Of Fresh Finance Reports; Moderate Dems Clash With Progressives Around State, Plus: Mailbox Hits Start, And: Ronchetti Pleased With Guv Poll 

Will the state House take on a more conservative tinge following this year's elections? The primaries that feature both a moderate and a progressive Democrat will give us some clues so let's take a look at the latest money reports in key races that could impact state policy.

In District 40 in the Rio Arriba county area the election of former one term state Rep. Joseph Sanchez over incumbent freshman progressive Dem Roger Montoya is now widely expected. But a large swath of the district is impacted by the wild fires and campaign mail can't yet be delivered in some areas. Montoya reported $23,000 in cash on hand for the final month of the race and Sanchez $56,000. Dem consultants say Sanchez has a clear edge. The general election will not be competitive in this heavy Dem district so the primary winner goes to Santa Fe. 

In District 38 in the Soccoro area moderate Dem and Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker is up against progressive Tara Jaramillo. She had $33,000 in cash and Bhasker $19,000 in state money reports filed Monday. Abeyta says because Bhasker has been mayor for over 30 years he has an edge but the race is hard fought. The Dem primary winner will be favored for the November election.

Back in Rio Arriba in District 41 Dem progressive Rep. Susan Herrera is up against moderate Marlo Martinez. Herrera is running for a third term and has solid name ID. She had $39,000. Martinez is a former probate judge. He had $11,000 in cash. 

In District 42 in Taos county progressive Rep. Kristina Ortez faces moderate Florence Miera but the race has not taken off, with Ortez overwhelming Miera in the money race. Ortez reports $111,000 in cash on hand for the final month while Miera reports $13,000. 

In Santa Fe area District 46 progressive Rep. Andrea Romero has moved past moderate and Santa Fe County Commissioner Henry Roybal. She reports $69,000 in cash to Roybal's $10,000. Two other candidates did not raise significant money. Romero is seeking a third term. 

In ABQ westside District 26 moderate Cherise Quezada is competing against progressive and former state Rep. Eleanor Chavez for the westside seat that will be vacated at the end of the year by Rep. Georgene Louis. Chavez had $31,000 in cash and Quezada $27,000. The race appears competitive. 

Quezada has been outraised overall but started the final month before the June 7th primary with more cash than Chavez--$27,000 to $19,000. The race appears close.

Also on ABQ's westside in District 17, an open seat,  former moderate City Councilor Cynthia Borrego is challenging progressive Dem Darrell Deaguero who is a union leader. She reports $19,000 in cash for the final push to Deaguero's $31,000. Borrego lost her re-election bid for the council seat. Deaguerro is making his first run for office. 

Political pros see the possibility of two of these moderate Dems prevailing and going on to win in November. If so, they could join with moderate Dem reps already there on certain policy votes. And if the Republicans pick up a couple of House seats the progressive majority could be in for numerous policy challenges. 

The best chance for GOP pick-ups are in the ABQ NE Heights where there are challengers to first term Dem Rep. Marian Matthews and Rep. Pamelya Herndon who was appointed to her seat last year to fill a vacancy.

The money reports cited here can be seen at the SOS website

TIS THE SEASON

Once again it's the season to check the mailboxes where the hits are even harsher than the TV attacks.

Here's one freshly arrived that is being mailed out to 84,000 Dem households by the Working Together NM PAC supporting Dem attorney general candidate Brian Colón over BernCo District Attorney Raul Torrez. 

Not only do the headlines on the pics scream that Torrez "failed to keep us safe" and "It's not safe to promote Raul Torrez," you get a photo of the DA clearly meant to present him as effeminate with his hand to his face and looking more than a little worried. 

A good mail piece has to connect emotionally and the picture is often the only thing voters see before they quickly dispatch the campaign mail to the circular file. 

There is another photo in this piece that may grab views. It is of the child Victoria Martens, the victim of a heinous 2016 murder which became one of the most publicized in state history. DA Torrez had to drop murder charges against the girl's mother and no one has been charged with killing Victoria, although one suspect associated with the crime has been sentenced to a long prison term.

In any event, be careful when you open the mailbox in the next month who knows what will jump out at you. (We'll labor to get a Torrez piece on his opponent up soon.)

PUSHING THE POLL 

It would be an understatement to say Mark Ronchetti is very pleased with that SurveyUSA poll released this week showing him with a 32 point lead over his closest challenger and Rebecca Dow in fourth place. Ocourse, he is using it in his fund-raising:

We can’t let up on the accelerator now. Michelle Lujan Grisham has a war chest she is sitting on to try and defeat me in November. I’m asking for your most generous contribution. Recent polls also show us neck-and-neck with Governor Grisham at 46%-46%. And her recent approval ratings have dipped to less than 50%. But, I fear that interest groups and dark money will pour into MLG’s coffers after seeing these primary polling results. Democrats would like nothing more than to have a weak Republican opponent to go up against in November.Even with this good news we can’t let our guard down. We need everyone who is tired of the status quo to contribute to our campaign and turn out to vote in the upcoming primary election!

Most analysts we spoke with question that Dow, who has spent hundreds of thousands on TV ads, is in fourth place. They speculate that the poll may have oversampled ABQ where Ronchetti is strongest and under sampled rural areas where Dow has muscle. But none is disputing that Ronchetti has a lead over his challengers. SurveyUSA did not release the county by county polling numbers that would show any ABQ oversampling, if indeed there was any. 

This is the only public primary poll so far. The ABQ Journal usually conducts one for the primary and one for the general election.  

NOT WAITING

Like Ronchetti, MLG isn't waiting for the GOP nomination to be settled before starting her general election media outreach. For her it's about showing the money and making those voters who are facing an economic crunch more comfortable. To that end her campaign comes with an ad promoting the Social Security tax cut enacted at this year's legislative session and another short ad on tax credits for lower income households.

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