Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Big Bill: Come Fly With Me! And: The El Paso Mayor Shocker: Lessons for ABQ? 

What's that old saying? While Big Bill's away the R's will play? Something like that. No sooner had our Prez aspiring Guv landed in New Hampshire then word came that his administration had plunked down over $5 million for a fancy new jet plane. It was a political gifthorse that had the R's flooding talk radio and declaring that there is indeed a God. While there may be a God, there is no GOP candidate for governor and that explains a couple of things.

With his re-election bid looking more likely with each passing month, one top R chimed in that there is not much incentive for Big Bill to check himself when it comes to things like buying big airplanes. And with no major announced candidate for Guv, there is little effective criticism of the Fourth Floor. "We need a candidate on the ground and we need him now," our R urgently opined.

Big Bill will get his jet, but it will come with a new set of potential PR problems. Every trip, every stop and every passenger will be monitored for political slips. But for now, Big Bill is cleared for take off.

Meanwhile, the Guv blanketed New Hampshire like a wet snowfall Tuesday and will continue his offensive today. There was a New Mexico connection on one of his many stops, a dinner with a relative of Butch Maki, a major NM lobbyist and friend of Big Bill. We reported a couple of months ago that Butch was ready to deck out a luxurious motor home to escort the Guv around the Prez campaign trail. But with a $5.5 million plane in the hangar, Butch may have to up the ante to get some attention.


The R's also have their backs against the wall when it comes to finding someone to take on Dem U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman next year. But I have a suggestion. How about water expert Bill Turner who last night was narrowly elected in Bernalillo county to a seat on the board of the Mid Rio Grande Conservancy District? After all, Turner made a run for the GOP Senate nomination back in 94', losing out to Roswell's Colin McMillan. Maybe his son, PR and political maven Doug Turner, could sign up to run the campaign, just like he did for for Gary Johnson's guv campaign also in 94'.

Mayor-elect Cook
A shocker in the El Paso mayor's race has New Mexico politicos pondering whether there's any implications for the mayoral race in he Big Duke City set for Oct. 4. In Saturday's run-off election, incumbent El Paso Mayor Joe Wardy was thrown out of office by just one thousand votes. Winner and city councilor John Cook raised just $70k for the race compared to Wardy's nearly half million. What happened? Turnout. A pitiful 9% of El Paso voters came out. With that kind of turnout anything can and will happen. Polls are only reliable when their turnout assumptions are accurate. Not only did Wardy bite the dust, but severalincumbent city councilors (known there as reps) were also ousted. A true voter revolt, at least among the handful of voters who cared enough to show up.

Albuquerque elections draw a much larger percentage of the electorate, in the 40 to 50% range, so our polls have accurately reflected the eventual winners. But if turnout declined significantly, it could mean big upsets here as well. Intense negative campaigning can drive turnout down as voters reject everyone. Something to think about.


Already the middle of the week and there's a bunch of email I haven't gotten to, including stuff on Cannon Air Force Base. But I will get to that as well as your email which you can send from the top right of this page. Help us keep New Mexico's political community informed and, as always, thanks for making us a part of your day. Back tomorrow.

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