Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Campos Reborn: Gets Official Light Guv Ballot Spot, Plus: Filing Action For Races Around The State, And: Death Calls For Ad Man Rick Johnson 

Campos & Denish
The lone statewide race providing major excitement for the Dems took on a new wrinkle Tuesday when the state party reversed a decision denying State Rep. Joe Campos an official spot on the June 1 primary ballot.

Alligator analysis immediately had it that the resurrected Campos might split northern Hispanic votes with Lawrence Rael, benefiting front runner Brian Colon. But some said Colon could be hurt if Rael and Campos both ganged up on Colon, the former Dem party chairman.

At first Campos was denied an official post on the ballot because he received 19.69 percent of the delegates at Saturday's preprimary convention, just shy of the magic 20 percent number needed to get an official ballot spot. But the party ruled that the state election code requires the number be rounded up to 20 percent and therefore Campos, a Santa Rosa area state representative, will be one of three candidates to get the official nod.

Campos told us he is not upset with Dem party chair Javier Gonzales, but there has been some tense moments between the Campos campaign and the party during the recounting process.

(GOP US House candidate Adam Kokesh received 19.5% at the preprimary. The state GOP is reviewing the matter to determine if Kokesh must be given an official ballot spot.)

The official position is important because it means credibility and hopefully for Campos--campaign money.

Besides becoming the first candidate to ever get on the ballot in this unusual manner, Campos also made some news by ripping what he called "the Richardson machine." The remark was aimed at Colon who Campos says is being backed financially and otherwise by friends of the Governor.

Colon's close association with the Guv has worried some Dems that it could be used against them in the fall, but this is the first time the issue has surfaced publicly, signaling that the Dem light Guv battle is going to get quite rough.

Diane Denish, the presumed Guv nominee, has not been seen by insiders as pushing for any of the light guv contenders. At one time, Rael's wife sat on Denish's finance committee.

The most liberal candidate in the light Guv field, ABQ State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, says he will file extra petitions to make the June 1 primary ballot. But much of his vote is going to bleed away because he fell short of the 20 percent at the convention.

Where the Ortiz y Pino votes go is critical and right now it looks as though Colon has first dibs on them.


Who will have the money for May TV is the overriding question in the race for #2. Colon will have it and so will Rael, but how much? Rael is asking for upwards of a thousand dollars a donor for a March 23 fundraiser at ABQ's Amici restaurant and co-hosted by former Dem State Rep. Dan Silva. Campos loaned himself $100,000 early on, but he is going to have to raise or loan himself more if he is to compete on the tube with Brian and Lawrence.


And there was some more fallout from Saturday's Dem preprimary convention. Republicans got word that some delegates voted for Republican Jon Barela instead of Dem Congressman Martin Heinrich and were trying to make hay out of it, asking that the ballots be made public.

The Dems say no official votes were cast for Barela but "roughly 10" ballots were pasted with Barela stickers and turned in for counting. The anti-Heinrich move was spearheaded by former State Rep. Robert Aragon who publicly endorsed Barela last year and was stripped of his ward chairmanship because of it. The state party came with this response to the shenanigans:

What the few fringe individuals who have a history of supporting Republican candidates did is nothing more than a cheap and juvenile prank. We are talking about roughly 10 stickers out of nearly 2000 delegates...In this national climate the real story is that every Congressman in the country would love to enjoy the true sign of strength that Rep. Heinrich enjoys with 99% support of his base.

The Dems say all the preprimary ballots will be available for public inspection at party headquarters in "a couple of days."


Rep. McCoy
Tuesday was filing day for all 70 state House seats as well as statewide and other offices. Here's a list of who filed with the secretary of state and here are the Bernalillo County filings. Let's cherry pick some of the action for you:

State Rep. Kathy McCoy is hanging up her political spurs. She had told us recently that she would leave her East Mountain legislative seat to run for the Bernalillo County Commission, but she did not file Tuesday for the seat being vacated by GOP Commissioner Michael Brasher nor the legislative seat she was first elected to in 2004.

Media company owner Wayne Johnson filed for the commission seat on the GOP side. He is unopposed and the likely replacement for Brasher who is term-limited. Janet Saiers filed for the Dems.

As for Kathy's legislative seat, two R's who have previously run for it are back. Dan Salzwedel and Jim Smith are the contenders, with Salzwedel starting as the front runner, according to Alligators in the East Mountains. No Dem filed for the seat.


A nephew of state Rep. Jim Trujillo (D-Santa Fe) is challenging House Speaker Ben Lujan in the June 1st primary. Trujillo says he tried to discourage the challenge.

Out in Indian Country, former Dem State Rep. and McKinley County Dem Chairman Irvin Harrison is challenging freshman incumbent Sandra Jeff as is Billy Moore. That will be one to watch.

Three R's filed for the ABQ West Side House seat held by freshman Dem Ben Rodefer. Retired police officer Paul Pacheco, with long ties to the area, starts strong. Also running are Tom Molitor and David Doyle. Rodefer will have to run hard to keep this seat which he took from the R's in the '08 Obama landslide.

Bill McCamley, who sought the 2008 southern Dem US House nomination against Harry Teague and lost, may have found a job. He will start as the heavy favorite for the Dem nomination for a southern Public Regulation Commission seat. Also running on the Dem side is Ronald Rees. There are six R's seeking the nomination for this seat held by Sandy Jones who gave it up to run for the Dem land commission nod. It's gone R in the past, so McCamley will have to work it to win it.

Here's the AP wrap on all the PRC candidate filings.

The Dems, as usual, seem well-positioned to keep their lock on most of the down ballot statewide offices. Our analysts also think they have a good chance of picking up the land commission spot, currently held by Republican Pat Lyons. Former land commissioner Ray Powell is the heavy favorite for both the primary and general election.

Mary Herrera
There have been rumblings about the political health of Dem Secretary of State Mary Herrera, but she drew no primary challenger. Republican State Senator Dianna Duran is a name challenger, but is not expected to have the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to oust an incumbent.

Then there's the history. There hasn't been a Republican SOS elected in our state since the 1920's. Recent ethical charges leveled against Herrera aren't pleasant, but insiders say they don't violate what is a pretty broad "zone of tolerance" around here.

But that isn't stopping Herrera from feeling the heat to give walking papers to Deputy Secretary of State Don Francisco Trujillo. His foes charge he has been given too much power by Herrera. Top Dems we have spoken with would like to see Herrera shake up the office and send a signal that she takes seriously the ethics and competence concerns.

While Mary is comforted by the historic Dem voting trend, she will want to be mindful of that unease some Dems feel and also keep in mind that no trend is guaranteed to last forever.


Do you know who Billy J. Driggs is? He filed as a write-in candidate for the Democratic nod for Governor. The cappuccino is on us for the first correct ID on Driggs.

Okay, I just did a Google on Driggs. He is listed in the phone book in Rodeo. NM which is south of Lordsburg and near the Arizona border. Here's his phone number: (575) 557-1142. So get busy and be a cappuccino sipping Alligator for us.


One of the legacy names in the New Mexico advertising business
has died. Rick Johnson, 66, was claimed by pancreatic cancer this week.

Johnson was a heavy hitter in the ad game since the 1970's. His agency, Rick Johnson and Company, did not do a lot of political campaigns, but did handle the ads for Senator Domenici's 1984 re-election. Domenici won in a landslide over Dem Judy Pratt.

Johnson expanded the agency through the years, bidding on and winning a variety of city of ABQ and state tourism contracts.

He started his business with one bank as a client and went on to build probably the most successful ad agency in NM history. It still thrives today, although Johnson sold his shares in the company last year as did his wife Debbie Johnson

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