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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Exclusive Stuff You Gotta Have: Mayor Marty Raises Ante To $1 Million; TV Ads Soon, Plus: ABQ Minimum Wage Very Much Alive, Our Special Report 

You Know Who
The guns of August are about to be fired by ABQ Mayor Marty. And they will be supplied by a stack of campaign money that will be dumped on all media. He told supporters Tuesday the campaign aims to raise a final, astounding total of $1.2 million to battle what he expects to be a very nasty and accusation filled final stretch. He also told supporters his TV ads will start in early August and stay on until the October 4 election. He indicated he will have as many as ten, if not more, TV spots in rotation. If no candidate gets 40% there will be a run-off between the top two contenders. Mayor Marty is obviously going for the 40% with a multi-media blitz. He has already raised $700K so hitting the $1.2 million goal is not unrealistic.

What is interesting is the willingness of the givers. When the mayor ran into a buzz saw in the form of the ABQPAC scandal, his supporters feared it would hurt his future fundraising because people would not want to be associated with him after his ethics board reprimand. On the contrary.

THE ALLIGATORS ANALYZE

"That is a huge pot of money and puts the field on notice that all charges coming his way will be answered. He will take heat for raising so much cash, but in the end the voters will decide on what is said, and Marty is going to have a megaphone to blast home his message. Still, an incumbent with high name ID is capped in how much he can grow his vote. Marty's campaign is more about hanging on to what he has. Is that 40%? The first polls should tell us," analyzed a senior Alligator who has been eyeing these things since we started them back in 74'.

Another Alligator bemoaned the big spending. "How in God's name do you spend that kind of money in a medium size city to become mayor? Does he plan on banking some of it for a future race?" mused the stunned Gator.

Our insider reports the mayor defended his big spending saying he is going to take hits from all directions, including "soft money" from opposition groups and will need every dime as his opponents gang up on him. Of course, if there is a run-off that will require even more dough.

The mayor's announcement at a breakfast for insiders puts Republican Brad Winter on notice. He is going to have to raise at least several hundred thousand quickly to stay on the playing field. There have been no polls on the race. The Alligators think we may be facing a three way deal, with Judy Espinosa and David Steele perhaps failing to make the ballot because of a lack of petition signatures. If that happens it would be the smallest field ever.

How do you raise a million for mayor? Well, for one thing you sell coffee. "Marty's Blend" was on sale for ten bucks a pound at the insider breakfast. They say it's quite smooth, a contrast to the bitter brew that his opponents are concocting for him.

ON THE BALLOT OR NOT?
ABQ Councilor Heinrich
What people around New Mexico really want to know about the effort to raise the ABQ minimum wage is whether it will make the ballot. Supporters say despite the admission of forgery on several hundred of the over 33,00 signatures they turned in, the bid to hike the minimum to $7.50 an hour appears headed to the Oct. 4 ballot. Here's the latest from ABQ city councilor Martin Heinrich, who supports the wage boost, and has been blogging for us.

"When I e-mailed you last time, I was confident that this proposition would make it onto the ballot. I still am. Not just because of the total number of signatures that were turned in, but more importantly because as the City Clerk's office went through them and about 60% were checking out.

I think anyone that forges someone else's signature should be prosecuted and those signatures that are suspect should not be counted. However, I also don't think that a few bad signatures should ever disenfranchise the honest voters who want this measure on the ballot," blogged the SE Heights councilor who is said to have a run for the Dem nomination for state land commissioner on his mind.

CAN IT PASS?

Meanwhile, the political pros are uncertain how the wage proposal would fare. An unscientific poll conducted via the Internet for KRQE-TV has the measure passing 53% to 45%. "This could be one that splits right down the middle," offered GOP analyst Bruce Donisthorpe. Bruce also adds that forged signatures "happens in just about every race. It's hard to avoid it with overzealous volunteers and even paid workers. The important thing is that there is enough valid signatures. I think this one will make the cut," predicted the onetime gubernatorial and congressional staffer.

RIO RANCHO REDUX

Our recent blogging on Rio Rancho and how it's starting to steal ABQ's thunder has sparked debate in several quarters, including the blogosphere. Although you wonder what there is to debate. Just take a drive out there. Soon there will be a big arena with a downtown business core. Sounds like a city to me. On the ground sources say get ready for more, that Rio Rancho city administrator Jim Palenick did not fall out of an Albuquerque tree.

ON THE AIR

Hard to believe that the ABQ election is just a couple of months away, but it is and we will soon gear up for our 18th consecutive year of delivering live Election Night results to New Mexico over the powerful airwaves of public radio station KANW 89.1 FM. Heck, Rio Rancho was a glint in our eye back in 88'. Top NM Lobbyist Scott Scanland will be with me along with the other usual suspects. I will blog more details as we get closer, but for sure it will be our traditional wall-to-wall coverage.

Thanks to my loyal readers, friends, informed sources, advertisers, supporters and critics for their help in producing this most rewarding effort.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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