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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alligators Handicap Preprimary Conventions: Who Will Survive? Who Will Crumble? Plus: Alan Who? Take On New Congress Candidate, And: The Year Was 1980 

The Horse Race
Alligator handicapping is in full swing as Saturday's preprimary conventions draw ever closer. Everyone wonders who will snare the minimum 20 percent of the delegates to win an official spot on the June 1st primary ballot. Not reaching that mark has always meant the death knell is sounded for a candidacy. A contender can still get on the ballot without the 20 percent by filing additional petition signatures, but support and money dries up when you fail to cross the 20 percent benchmark.

So who will survive and who will crumble?

The hottest show in town (or at least in Pojoaque) where some 2,160 Dems will gather Saturday at the Buffalo Thunder Resort is the five way race for lieutenant governor. Here's the first round of handicapping from a veteran Dem operative turned Alligator. He thinks three of the five will make the cut:

Here's my two cents after talking to some county chairs and other party folks: Brian Colon--30.5%; Lawrence Rael--22%; Joe Campos--21.5%; Jerry Ortiz y Pino--18%; Linda Lopez--8%

The big surprise to me will be if Rael or Campos don't get to 20%, but I also assume they'll both collect enough signatures to get on the ballot either way. Anything north of 30 percent in a five way field is good for Colon.

Again, it's true that Rael and Campos can get on the ballot without the 20 percent, but if they don't reach that mark their candidacies may be done. No one has ever gone on to win the primary election without getting 20 percent at the preprimary.

CRYSTAL BALLING THE R'S


And how about that other five way race that has the politicos enthralled? It's the match for the GOP Guv nomination featuring Pete Domenici Jr., Allen Weh, Doug Turner, Susana Martinez and Janice Arnold-Jones. Here's how another of our Alligators is making book on that preprimary face-off:

Weh, Domenici Jr. and Martinez all get over 20 percent--hard to imagine any don’t. The question is: If Weh wins the most delegates and has the most money (he won’t release it so who knows), does he have a case to make that he’s the front runner or at least co-front runner?

If that NMSU poll is right, Pete Jr. is at 29%, which means the name alone won’t be enough. Without serious money and an organization, he’ll sit idly at 29%. Meanwhile, the candidate with the money and organization (Weh?) should expect to grow. Agree?

And if Martinez can’t shock everyone with a convention win, does she remain viable? She hasn’t raised much money, doesn’t have a real organization to speak of and 90% of New Mexicans don’t know who she is...

Weh sharing front runner status with Domenici if he scores first place at the preprimary as expected? You won't get much of an argument out of us.

Allen's hard-right positions combined with his personal wealth and the fact that the state GOP is dominated by Anglo men all stand to make him a formidable challenger.

Domenici Jr. has the marquee name, but he has been unable to make his nomination anything close to a foregone conclusion. He also really needs to get that 20 percent when the some 450 R delegates meet at the ABQ Hilton. If not, Weh will have an even better shot at the prize.

As for Martinez, she doesn't need to win the preprimary. That onus is on former party chairman Weh. But she needs a solid showing if she is going to raise any money to compete against Weh and Domenici in April and May. She has time, but she is up against longer odds since Pete Jr. tossed his hat into the ring.

Turner and Arnold-Jones are underdogs, but in a five way shoot-out they still have a shot at the 20 percent.

A CERTAIN WIN

There's not much certainty in this volatile election year, but we don't need to shine our crystal ball to know that Lt. Governor Diane Denish will have reason to celebrate Saturday night. And she will.

Di will host a party following the Democratic preprimary convention at Buffalo Thunder where she will be awarded the only Dem spot on the June 1 primary ballot for the office of Governor as she is unopposed for the nomination. From the email:

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish wants to invite delegates, alternates and other Democrats to a Victory Rally, Saturday night at the Buffalo Thunder Resort, March 13th at 7:00 pm. Entertainment will be free and provided by Mariachi Tenampa and the king of northern New Mexico Music, Tobias Rene!

Hey, wonder if Big Bill will be there with Di after their recent spat over the state losing out on a big federal education grant. Maybe, but they probably won't be doing any slow dancing when Tobias plays a ranchera waltz.

Denish also came with this news of a preprimary rally Thursday, March 11 at 6 PM at the Wesst Enterprise Center, 609 Broadway Blvd. NE Albuquerque. She said:

There's a reason we're gathering at the Wesst Enterprise Center--it's a small business incubator, where New Mexico entrepreneurs are launching their own small businesses and growing them. I felt there was no better place to celebrate the new way forward for New Mexico.

Sounds good, Di. Throw in some tax-free food and we'll make it a date.

THE ECON BEAT

The rate of home foreclosures in the ABQ metro is startling, at least when seen through the lens of history. This has been a very stable market--until now.

Have you flipped through the back pages of the newspaper lately and seen the dozens of foreclosure listings and the times of the various auctions? It is staggering. And then there are the thousands of homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgages and risk going into foreclosure. From the NM Biz Weekly:

The rate of foreclosures in Albuquerque increased substantially in January, rising to 2.40 percent, compared with 1.36 percent in January 2009, according to First American CoreLogic.

...Foreclosure activity in Albuquerque is 0.79 percentage points lower than the national foreclosure rate, which was 3.19 percent for January 2010. Albuquerque’s mortgage delinquency rate has increased, as 6.33 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent, compared with 3.44 percent for the same period last year, an increase of 2.90 percentage points.


The November election is about eight months away, but with stats like these it's hard to see how the state of the economy won't remain the supreme issue on the campaign trail.

ALAN WHO?

Alan Woodruff recently began advertising on the blog, but what party banner is he running under? Woodruff says he will seek the ABQ congressional seat currently held by Dem Martin Heinrich as a Green Party hopeful:

Extremism and political partisanship is destroying the country--and the Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame. The voters are angry, and with good reason. But this is not a time for extremism. This is a time for moderation and rational debate.

I’m running for Congress as a “Green” because the Green Party is the only party that puts the public interest ahead of party politics. The first principle of the Green Party is “Grassroots Democracy,” and that is what my campaign is about....

Woodruff is an attorney who holds a a doctorate in administration from Harvard. He is the founder and CEO of Gordian Securities, Inc., a NASD registered broker-dealer.

Woodruff may be running as a Green, but his platform is much more Libertarian than liberal. For example, on drug policy, he says:

Anything that grows naturally, and all of its derivatives, should be legalized—and its sale regulated and taxed.

And on abortion:

Abortion is a matter of personal choice. Abortion rights are not a constitutionally proper subject for federal action.

Unlike traditional Green Party candidates who have been a headache for Democrats, Woodruff, who warns against government "micro-managing" the economy, may pull more or as many votes from Republican Jon Barela as he does from Heinrich--if he secures a spot on the ballot. We'll keep you posted.

THE YEAR WAS 1980...
Young Bill & Lujan
And we were a staffer for then Rep. Manuel Lujan (R-NM). It was the middle of the election year and we brought in Rep. Ed Roybal, one of the founders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, to hold a hearing in the ABQ Barelas neighborhood on senior needs. Roybal was a Democrat who represented Los Angeles in the House, but he was born in ABQ.

An ABQ native and a Hispanic Democrat to boot in an overwhelmingly Dem neighborhood in a majority Dem US House district. A nice combo for our Republican boss, we thought, for the 10 p.m. news that night.

But it was only a few minutes after the congressional panel gathered at a senior citizen center in the ABQ Barelas neighborhood when in rushes Bill Richardson, Manuel's election opponent. Richardson crashed the gate, asking fellow Dem Roybal why he was not able to participate and generally causing a stir among the attendees. Of course, the TV cameras loved it and picked up the conflict. Bill scored major news coverage that night and our "perfect" PR plan had been sent into a tail spin by Richardson's perfect timing.

Manuel went on to beat Bill in 1980 by a razor thin margin, but that boisterous hearing was the moment that we first realized that Richardson, then only 32 and who would go on to become a congressman, cabinet secretary, UN ambassador and governor, was not to be denied.

That's the way it was, and I was there.

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