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Friday, October 27, 2006

Latest On Land Commission Duel; Baca Tries To Bring Dems Home; Lyons Stays On Attack, Plus: Auditing The Auditor's Race 

Baca
Jim Baca may be the only statewide Dem candidate mentioning his party affiliation on his TV spots. He needs to. GOP Land commissioner Pat Lyons can only win the race with a significant abandonment of Baca by his own party. That's not impossible as Lyons showed four years ago when he narrowly defeated Dem Art Trujillo. Baca is not personally popular in many Dem circles and the citing of his party ID is a not so subtle call to vote the party, not necessarily the man.

Baca and the Dems are counting on the Guv's intensive early absentee voter effort to put him over the top while Lyons continues to hammer Baca in the mail. But observers are asking why no negative TV on Baca when Lyons has a pile of money? The turnout will b relatively low and the Lyons' camp apparently believes the mail will do the trick, as it did against Trujillo. Also, the last thing a lot of voters want to see is another candidate going negative. Still, if former ABQ mayor Baca ekes this one out, the no negative TV decision will be one Lyons will come to regret.

Going hard negative has its price, if you don;t get it 100% right. Pat Lyons found that out when he took this hit from the ABQ Tribune.

AUDITING AUDITOR'S RACE
Garcia
There's also going to be questions after this election about the focus of the NM Republican party. Their auditor candidate, Lorenzo Garcia, has an independent streak and tangled earlier this year with State GOP Chair Allen Weh over using a Weh and party approved consultant to handle his campaign. Garcia rejected the notion. He still picked up some money from Weh and a couple of party-paid billboards, but no big dollars.

Now, Garcia is picking up some of the most glowing newspaper endorsements of any Republican candidate, but has no money to get them before the public. The R's and their allied groups have gone ga-ga over attorney general contender Jim Bibb and R secretary of state hopeful Vickie Perea, but insider polling suggests both of them unlikely to pull off an upset.

Garcia, boosted in the free media by the scandal in the state Treasurer's office, is up against Dem State Rep. Hector Balderas who was named by the D's to replace Jeff Armijo who had to drop out because of allegations of sexual misconduct; a potentially momentum changing event in the contest. While the R's issue news releases touting Garcia's endorsements, the D's are providing full funding for Balderas, a vulnerable newcomer, but able to make his case before the state.

BOTTOM LINES

The readers took over the blog Thursday to comment on Tuesday's Madrid-Wilson TV debate. One of their comments drew a correction from in-the-know ABQ Journal science writer John Fleck who reports that writer Joe Barela was off the mark when he claimed employment at Sandia Labs was going down.

"Total employment at Sandia reached its highest level in history in Fiscal Year 2006. I've done several stories about this," corrected Fleck.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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