Thursday, February 25, 2010

Denish Vs. Domenici? More Likely In Wake Of New Poll; She Leads Him By Just 5, Plus: More NM Politics On Your Thursday Blog 

Denish vs. Domenici?
The 2010 race for the GOP Guv nomination was reshaped Wednesday with the release of an independent poll showing Pete Domenici Jr. the only one of the five R candidates within striking distance of Democrat Diane Denish. Di, soon to be the Dem Guv nominee, had 45% to Pete Jr's 40% in the Public Policy Polling. The poll is going to be very hard to ignore in the elite circles of the state GOP and in the money circles that will feed this contest in the months ahead. Complete poll here.

No other GOP candidate comes even close to the Light Guv in the survey taken from a sample of 990 New Mexicans from Feb. 18th to 20th. She trounces the rest of the Republican field. It's 48-30 over Allen Weh, 47-33 over Janice Arnold-Jones, and 46-32 against Susana Martinez and Doug Turner.

Domenici's foes, especially Martinez, were quick to denounce the favorable Pete Jr. poll as merely reflecting the name ID of his famous father, retired US Senator Pete Domenici. But the same could have been said of Gary King, son of former Governor Bruce King and now NM attorney general. Or of Ben Ray Lujan, son of House Speaker Ben Lujan, and who now sports the title of congressman on his business cards.

It will take millions more in campaign money for Domenici’s foes to get anywhere near his name ID and that can't but help influence uncommitted delegates to next months GOP preprimary convention. This poll is going to have them taking another hard look at the race before they cast their votes.

Domenici is currently in danger of coming up short of 20% of the delegates needed to get an official spot on the June 1 primary ballot. This poll could move some of the uncommitted to Domenici and that 20 percent.

Without reaching the 20 percent, Domenici's foes would have some credibility in questioning his legitimacy. With the 20 percent, he would be the clear front runner for the nomination.


Domenici has been accused of being lifeless and lacking charisma, but his campaign sprang to life upon the release of the poll. They described themselves as “ecstatic” and said: "(Denish) should have a double digit lead over all other opponents at this time. The opposite is true.”

For her part, Di is anticipating that she will face off with Domenici in November. That’s clear by the increased flow of negative news releases emanating from NM Dem Party headquarters about the 50 year old environmental attorney.

Her camp is pragmatic, mindful of the plunge of Big Bill’s popularity to the 28 percent level in the PPP poll. That insures that the cries of “Richardson-Denish” from the R's will soon grow louder than a worked up Pit crowd at a Lobo-BYU game.

This poll and the one conducted by a NMSU class also showing Domenici out distancing the field will create an air of inevitably about his nomination among casual Republican observers. The onus will be on the opposition campaigns to dispel that notion and get in the way of any stampede developing among the party rank and file.


The Alligators looking at that PPP poll tell us the firm polls mainly for Democrats and employs automatic phone calls. If they did live interviews with confirmed registered voters from a voter list, Governor Bill’s miserable 28% approval rating might be higher. The same goes for the tepid 48% approval ratings given Dem US Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman. They normally both poll near 60 percent approval.

However, Tim Jensen of PPP emails in that the firm uses a list of registered voters "who had voted in at least one of the last three even year general elections."

And there’s no questioning the current anti-incumbent trend. Both senators are thankful it is not their turn to face angry voters this year and Big Bill wishes he were somewhere else--even on a houseboat carreening out of control on Elephant Butte Lake.


We interviewed with KRQE-TV”s Kaitlin McCarthy about Big Bill's bad numbers. That report and the video is here.


Our post Wednesday on that heated email exchange between Bernalillo County GOP chairman Rick Abraham and Whitney Cheshire, campaign manger for GOP Guv candidate Allen Weh, made its way to the National Journal's Hotline in D.C. Here's how they played it:

The chairman of the Bernalillo Co. GOP is alleging a leading GOP GOV candidate physically assaulted a staffer, according to a string of emails made public by a NM political blog.

In an angry back-and-forth, Bernalillo Co. GOP chair Rick Abraham told Whitney Cheshire that her candidate, ex-NM GOP chair Allen Weh (R), acted inappropriately during an altercation at the state conventions this weekend. Cheshire is Weh's campaign manager.

"Your candidate physically attacked one of my staff members in front of many witnesses and others, including myself, received verbal attacks from your staff," Abraham wrote to Cheshire, according to emails posted by well-respected NM blogger Joe Monahan today...


The bear market rolls on in New Mexico with word that Doug Vaughan, a fixture for decades on the ABQ are areal estate scene, is declaring both business and personal bankruptcy. Folks who invested with him are in for big losses. The Vaughan Company was one of those iconic signs that sprouted everywhere during the great real estate bubble. No more.


In a bit of a departure with tradition, GOP Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Wiener has endorsed William Kurth for the R nomination for county sheriff. Kurth, a retired APD command level officer, faces retired sheriff's captain Dan Houston.

Wiener backed Kurth when the county commission appointed Dem Manny Gonzales to fill the vacancy left when Darren White went to work for the city of ABQ.

The Houston camp says it has its share of prominent endorsements as well, citing backing from former Bernalillo County Sheriff and APD chief Bob Stover.

The R nomination is worth having. It is the one county office where the GOP has had historical success, despite the Dem registration advantage in the county.

Gonzales is seeking election to the post he was appointed to and faces several rivals for the Dem nomination.

An ABQ reader writes of government employment and the state budget shortfall:

Public payrolls have become so large they are an interest group that trumps all others and makes them immune to the same unemployment suffered by the taxpayers who are facing tax increases to spare their employees any pain from the decline in state revenues. The purpose of government is now to sustain itself.

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