Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Election 2009 Is Today; Final Predictions For Exciting Mayor Race; Election Night Coverage Tonight at 6:30 p.m., Plus: Bill Sets Special Session 

  • 12:30 pm Update---"Steady stream" of voters reported by TV news in ABQ city election. No major problems; some optical scanners break, says city clerk
  • Wall-to-wall radio coverage starts today at 6:30 pm on KANW 89.1 FM and streamed at www.kanw.com
The guessing game comes to an end tonight, but what a game its been. With three candidates seeking the ABQ mayor's office and 40 percent of the vote required to avoid a run off election, the combinations of who will end up where have provided ceaseless entertainment. And before we get to the serious business of counting the votes tonight at 6:30 p.m. on KANW 89.1 FM, we give you a final round of guesstimating with a trio of top political analysts.

John Wertheim, former NM Dem Party chair and a backer of Mayor Marty Chavez, says no one will get to 40 percent tonight and the Nov. 24 runoff will be between Chavez and Republican RJ Berry. He said Chavez and Berry will each score between 35 and 39 percent tonight and that Democrat Richard Romero will come in third with 25 percent.

State Senator Eric Griego, the second place finisher in the 2005 mayoral derby, told our KANW Election Eve special audience, it will be three for the thirties--predicting all three candidates will go over 30 percent. Griego, a Romero supporter, would not commit to supporting Chavez if he were to get into a runoff. That set off a spirited debate with Wertheim and signaled the deep divisions between the centrist Dems represented by Wertheim and the liberals represented by Griego.

GOP State Rep. Larry Larranaga set everyone back on their heels when he came with this set of numbers: Berry--40.5%, Chavez--30.5% and Romero--29%. Larranaga, a supporter of Berry, but a veteran observer of ABQ politics, contends that Chavez getting only 26% in the ABQ Journal poll conducted Sept. 22 to 24, signals that the incumbent is done. It wasn'tLarry's prediction, but the spread between the contenders that prompted guffaws.

Of course, no one is calling for this finish either--how about if two of the candidates get 40% of the vote and the third gets 20%? As we said the combinations are endless and the mayoral election of 2009, initially thought to be a snoozer, will go down as one of the more exciting ever--no matter the outcome.


Here's one last round of analysis of the ABQ election. We appeared on KOB-TV's "Eye on New Mexico" Sunday with former Mayor Jim Baca. It's a half hour hosted by KOB anchor Nicole Brady and political reporter Stuart Dyson. And a final look at our candidates on the campaign trail.


If you aren't in the listening area, you can hear Election Night coverage live tonight from the KANW site beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Thanks to our sponsors--Coca Cola, DW Turner Public Relations, Ladera Golf and Banquet Facilities and Serrano and Sons, Constructors for making possible Election Night coverage. We'll be on the air continuously and stay on until all the votes are counted. We'll have attorney Wertheim with us for the duration, Griego for an hour and former Mayor Jim Baca will also provide analysis. Rep. Larranaga will be joined by former Bernalillo County GOP executive director Bob Cornelius who will be stationed at Government Center for the official vote count. Former Bernalillo County Commissioner Lenton Malry will be back for his 21st year of giving us early and exclusive results from select voting precincts. And Steve Cabiedes and Harry Pavlides will coordinate even more early results. And, of course, we'll hear from all the candidates. This one is going to be exciting, so be sure to tune in.


Here's the League of Women Voters election guide for today's election. Info on where to vote is here. Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The city clerk's number is 768-3030.


Big Bill will call them back October 17, but there is still no deal cut on how to resolve the state's now gargantuan budget deficit. The special legislative session will confront red ink totaling as much as $650 million for the current budget year, says Senator Tim Jennings. The Guv insists that public schools take no cut, but is agreeable to an across the board three percent reduction for other state agencies.

Some lawmakers think they are being played, that Richardson will set them up as the bad guys, continuing to hammer them over trying to cut public education, but in the end sign a law that does just that.

But a train wreck now seems possible. We've had several special legislative sessions where conservative senators simply quit working and adjourned, leaving Big Bill looking smaller. Now that he's a lame duck, the Senate's recalcitrance may grow.

There is still time for a deal before Oct. 17, but with Dem special interest groups are clamoring for tax increases and fighting spending reductions. Richardson and Light Guv Denish are feeling the heat from them.

The New Mexican government is in need of restructuring for the long-term, not just big spending cuts to solve the immediate budget crisis. What should we be paying state employees? Can we reduce the administrative structure of the public schools? How many political appointees can we shed? What about the oversized salaries at the University of New Mexico? What of the many state boards and commissions with highly paid executive directors--how many of them are necessary in a new lean and mean economic era? What of the Medicaid program for the state's poor? Can it be made more efficient and responsive? What of our tax structure? Can the wealthiest among us continue to be taxed like the middle class?

The list of questions goes on, but legislators for now will cut across the board and let each agency decide where the axe will fall. But the time for a reorganization of state government has come. It will take creativity and study, not just a strong arm on the budget axe.


Tony Schaefer has more time than he thought. The former Public Regulation Commissioner from Las Cruces who told us he will attempt to run for governor as an independent, said he had until early February to collect nearly 17,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. Actually, a check of state rules shows he has until June 2nd. He can also get signatures from members of any political party. He will likely need that extra time as petition pros say Schaefer will have to come with well over 20,000 signatures to get the 17,000 valid ones required. Schaefer was elected to the PRC in the 90's as a Republican. He is now a Democrat.


Remember her?

The Justice Department is investigating whether former Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton illegally used her position to benefit Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the company that later hired her, according to officials in federal law enforcement and the Interior Department.

Alright, I am off to radio land. Join me there tonight and back here on the home of New Mexico politics on Wednesday for a wrap on the outcome of the 2009 mayor's race.

E-mail your news and comments.

Not for reproduction without permission of the author

website design by limwebdesign