Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Final Stretch For Wannabe ABQ Mayors; Marty Still In Driver's Seat; Also: Details Of Our KANW-FM Election Coverage, Plus: Rep. Whitaker Recovering 

The Final Stretch
"Where are the big ideas?" wondered former ABQ Mayor Jim Baca at a recent radio appearance with your blogger on KUNM-FM radio. Sorry, Jim. Wrong race. ABQ mayor races are traditionally low-key affairs and the winner (outside of Baca) is usually a mainstream technocrat who moves the city along little by little. Think Harry Kinney, Louis Saavedra, and, yes, Mayor Marty. Come to think of it, even though Baca had a big idea in managed growth, his lengthy government experience played a key role in his 97' victory.

With the low-key, lackluster 05' race in its final days, the field has conceded first place to the mayor and is now playing to keep him below 40% and into a run-off. But playing for second in politics is a dangerous and usually losing strategy. Voters sense your limited appeal. Large numbers of them have been ignored by the GOP's Winter and by Democrat Griego. Only Mayor Marty has sought votes from all quarters.

There remains a sliver of hope for the opponents to hold him below the magic number, but with a million dollar war chest and no major mistakes don't bet your adobe. And that war chest is going to get even bigger. The mayor will hold a $500 a person fundraiser Thursday night where he hopes to get 40 heads to contribute. That would add another $20,000 to his kitty which is now well over a million bucks. And it begs the question: When is enough, enough? In politics these days, it seems never.


Meanwhile, it was a major blow to Winter when the ABQ Journal endorsed Mayor Marty Sunday. Early on, most observers, including this one, felt Winter had a shot at winning the paper's nod. But he has run to the far-right and that has hurt his chances, not only with the Journal, but with the electorate at-large. The endorsement was relished even more by the Chavez camp since it was the Journal that went nuclear over his ABQPAC fundraising scandal and endorsed Bob Schwartz over him four years ago. The final ABQ Journal poll on the mayor's race will be out Sunday.


Don't forget, we will have a one hour 'pre-game' show on KANW 89.1 FM radio Monday, October 3, at 5 p.m. analyzing and predicting all the city races. Top NM lobbyist Scott Scanland, GOP State Rep. Larry Larranaga, the ABQ Trib's Erik Siemers and Democrat Terry Brunner of Senator Jeff's office, will make up the panel.

And then there's Election Night coverage on public radio KANW. That starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 4. Can you believe it will be year 18 for our KANW coverage of every major city and state election? D Lenton Malry will have some of the first unofficial results direct from the field as he has for every mayor's race since 1989. Scott has been at it longer than he wants to remember. And I called my first mayor's race at the ripe old age of 19 back in 74' at KUNM-FM. And there I was the other day back where it all started, guesting with Jim Baca of all people, who started in politics at the same time as press secretary to Mayor Kinney. Now that's a cycle of addiction you can warn your kids about.


A world away from ABQ, in Hobbs, NM, friends of State Rep. Don Whitaker tell me he has been making a good recovery from recent surgery and is not intending to resign the position anytime soon, as apparently was the case when we reported on the well-liked lawmaker last month. "He is doing well. Whether he will seek re-election is still an open question," a friend informed. Meantime, Lea County Commissioner Harry Teague is on standby to fill the post for the Dems if Whitaker does step down.

Thanks for your company. Let's get together again soon.

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