Friday, August 21, 2009

Some Mayor's Race Blogging: Debates? Polling? Plus: More Belt Tightening For NM Cities, And: The Bottom Lines 

There will be precious few opportunities for the foes of ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez to deliver a defining moment in this campaign, but Democrat Richard Romero and Republican Richard "RJ" Berry will get one on September 23 when KOB-TV hosts a prime-time mayoral debate. It will apparently be the only one on commercial over the air TV. KRQE plans in-depth interviews with the candidates, but no debate. (The station has posted 12 minute interviews with the candidates). KOAT, say the campaigns, also currently has no debate plans. We're told by one of the campaigns that KNME-TV, the ABQ PBS affiliate, will host a Friday night debate in September. The candidates could make some news there. Also, KUNM-FM 89.9 radio is preparing a debate, according to the campaigns. There will also be a debate before the development community Monday at noon and that will be broadcast live on KANW 89.1 FM.

The KOB face-off will fall on a Wednesday night and will come just two weeks before Election Day, October 6. If Chavez is still the heavy favorite by the time they appear under the bright lights, Romero and Berry will be hoping for a night like that one in 2006, when Democrat Patrica Madrid faltered before ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson, changing the dynamic of the contest and helping Heather eke out a very narrow victory.

All three mayoral contenders have taken public financing which gives them about $328,000 to spend. Their TV advertising will be limited.


There's been no public polling on the ABQ mayoral race. The ABQ Journal can be expected to do at least one survey before the Oct. 6 balloting. Meanwhile, candidates may use automatic phone call polling to get a sense of the direction of the campaign. Those polls are much less expensive to conduct than telephone polls that call voters directly.

Historically, at this point Chavez should be at around 35 percent to 38 percent, says Harry Pavlides who has conducted polling for past mayoral campaigns. It takes 40% of the vote to avoid a run-off election. In our pool of expert Alligators a couple of weeks ago, the median of the election predictions was 43.5% for Chavez.

With two Hispanics and one Anglo in the race, the odds-makers are saying that Republican Berry may be the bigger threat to Chavez than Dem Richard Romero. If Berry consolidates the GOP NE Heights, reducing Chavez's strength there, the mayor will have to pick up more votes in mid-town. You can see him working to do just that by his courting of certain segments of "progressive" voters who would normally go with Romero.

Whatever the calculus, the goal of the opposition campaigns will be to hold Chavez below 40% and force the run-off which would be held November 24. From what we have seen so far, bumping him to second place does not appear to be in the cards. But that's why we have campaigns.


A friend of West Side GOP ABQ City Council candidate Dan Lewis says he has scored the endorsement of the ABQ Police Officers Association--the union that represents the cops. That could be seen as a coup for Lewis in his struggle to take out two-term Dem incumbent Michael Cadigan. Crime has become a bigger issue there since gang members conducted a bold day time hold-up and murder at a Denny's restaurant.


Colorado is in the same leaking boat as New Mexico when it comes to the state budget. Will we do what they are doing?

Gov. Bill Ritter plans to eliminate 267 state positions to balance the budget, but it's not clear how many people will lose their jobs because some posts are vacant. The governor's budget director, Todd Saliman, said today the cuts are not as deep as originally feared because the shortfall, once estimated at $384 million, turned out to be $318 million. The cuts announced today amount to around $320 million.

The Guv and most NM legislators hope to avoid employee layoffs or furloughs, but it depends how long the downturn lasts. The City of Santa Fe is just an inch away from announcing furloughs as the bear market bites deep into the city's economic and social fabric. The furloughs could come within a month, depending on city revenues from the tourist season. Santa Fe appears to need a long-range plan to deal with the new economic reality. That's the job of Mayor David Coss who is up for re-election next March.

Rio Rancho is also missing its numbers causing more belt tightening, but no layoffs or furloughs--yet.


Even though the Secretary of State's website lists recently indicted lobbyists Joe and Daisy Kupfer as being registered lobbyists for the city of Albuquerque through the end of this year, the city says it has been downsizing its lobbying corp and does not currently have a contract with the Kupfers. It ended in June. We reported, along with others, that they did have a contract, based on the SOS info. City officials tell us no one has been hired to replace the Kupfers, but lobbyist Natasha Ning has a $25,000 annual contract to lobby for capital projects on behalf of the city council.

We also said former Sec. of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron at one time was the highest ranking female elected official when we obviously meant to say the highest ranking "Hispanic" female.

Finally, while one longtime Santa Fe lobbyist told us Joe Kupfer is a regular in the office of House Speaker Lujan during the legislative sessions, another lobbyist differs: "Kupfer is not a Speaker's office regular. He was very close to (former State Senator) Manny Aragon and came from organized labor."

People tend to freak out when indictments come down and that probably explains why even the Alligators are getting jumpy.

Thanks for joining us this week. Other blogs are now free to rewrite our stuff. E-mail your news and comments.

Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign