Wednesday, April 14, 2010

GOP TV Arms Race? $100K Donation To Martinez Raises Question; Plus: More From The Money Reports, And: Death Calls GOP Leader Ted Hobbs 

After that Godzilla-like $100,000 campaign contribution from Mack Energy Corporation of Artesia to GOP Guv candidate Susana Martinez, the political community buzzed over whether there would be more from the same source and if that means Martinez is prepping for a TV ad arms race with self-funded multi-millionaire Allen Weh. Word from the trail is that the campaign does not expect more Mack money, but that it does expect to have enough cash to stay on the air with Weh. (Here's a profile of Mack founder Mack C. Chase.)

Martinez, the Dona Ana County district attorney, campaigning on a platform of ending corruption and pay-to-play politics in Santa Fe, played with fire by taking that $100k plus another $17,000 from Mack. The cash, among the largest single campaign contributions in state history, smacked of the same big time, big spending politics that got Big Bill in so much trouble and that Martinez asserts she will end if elected governor.

The big oil and gas money for Susana is also causing some headaches for GOP state chairman and SE NM oilman Harvey Yates. Some of Martinez's rivals continue to claim the state party is backing Martinez and that the oil and gas money is the proof. Yates and GOP executive director Ryan Cangliosi insist they are neutral.

Martinez can stretch the envelope some, but the stench of hypocrisy will surface if her campaign to end pay-to-play starts looking like what she's running against.


The Dem spin machine remained busy in the aftermath of the release of the state money reports. The D's crowed that Diane Denish, their certain Guv nominee, is running the table when it comes to the money campaign. The party comes with this:

Denish, total raised: $3.9 million; Republican candidates combined, total raised: $2.9 million (includes personal loans); Denish cash on hand: $2.6 million; Republican candidates combined cash on hand: $1.3 million


A big question still on the table in this hot and heavy GOP Guv contest is whether Doug Turner will join Weh and Martinez on TV in a significant way. Turner has already spent more than $200k of his money on billboards and early TV. He has $260,000 in his cash account, much of it his own. He tells me he is still conducting fund-raising among major donors and should know in a week where he stands when it comes to getting in on the TV arms race. Meantime...

A campaign operative raised questions here Tuesday about Turner's campaign loans, pointing out that he has loans from his PR company and then expenditures back to the company for consulting on the very same days in the same amounts. Turner's campaign says the DW Turner PR firm does media buys for its clients, which include the Turner Guv campaign. When it places the media buy that becomes a loan to the Turner campaign. The campaign then pays Doug's PR firm for the media buy. Got all that?


Republican attorney general candidate Matt Chandler reports raising $68,000 in the October thru April fund-raising period. Pretty good, but Dem Attorney General Gary King, seeking a second four year term, raised $166,000, including a $60,000 personal loan. King has $93,000 in cash on hand. Chandler received most of his money from the Clovis-Portales area where he serves as district attorney.


30 year old Bob Cornelius is another candidate coming with personal cash to keep his hopes alive. Cornelius, whose family has ranching ties in Lea County, has loaned himself $100,000 to keep alive his hopes for the GOP land commission nomination. Cornelius failed to get 20 percent of the delegates support at the GOP preprimary convention and had to file petition signatures to get a spot on the June 1 primary ballot. Portales area rancher Matt Rush was the only candidate to win the needed preprimary support, garnering support from nearly 65% of the delegates. Cornelius said in a news release that Rush is reporting less than $4,000 in cash on hand while he now has $101,000. The question now is how much of that money Cornelius will spend.


That Republican nomination for Bernalillo County sheriff is worth having. No Hispanic Dem has been elected to the post in modern times, so GOP hopefuls William Kurth and Dan Houston are putting up personal cash to snag the victory June 1st--especially Kurth. The retired ABQ police department officer has loaned himself $40,000 and kicked in a personal contribution of $6,000. He's raised a total of $59,000 and reports $46,000 of cash in the bank for the final stretch. Houston, retired from the sheriff's department, loaned himself $10,000 and gave himself a $5,000 personal contribution. He's raised $43,000 and reports $40,000 cash in the bank.

With the fund-raising in this contest basically equal, we should have an exciting finish with both candidates in the mailboxes and on TV making their case.


In an early draft Tuesday, we blogged that Dem Light Guv candidate Brian Colon received over 40 percent of the vote at the Dems March preprimary convention. Actually, he received 34.5 percent, as several readers helpfully pointed out.


We always thought the Republican Party should have been more like Ted Hobbs, the middle-of-the-road state House Minority Leader who had been around long enough to know that the long-term success of the party would only be achieved by moving to the center.

Hobbs, who died Sunday at 75, was what we used to call a "civic leader." He retired from a successful career with IBM and threw himself into community service, including a 12 year run (1994-2006) as state rep from ABQ's Four Hills area. His colleagues gave him the ultimate honor by choosing him as their leader.

Ted was a longtime fixture on our KANW 89.1 FM Election Night broadcasts, leading our Republican analysis. Those were some very long nights, with Ted holding forth into the wee morning hours, always with the "permission" of his beloved wife Nancy.

Here's what we wrote back in 2006, when he decided not to seek re-election:

Ted Hobbs is not the type of guy to wax sentimental or let his emotions run high. And he wasn't about to change as he broke the news that he will end a seven year run as State House Minority Leader and also give up the ABQ NE Heights seat he has held for a dozen years. "It's been a good run and I am looking forward to spending more time with my wife (Nancy) and enjoying some real retirement..."

Through the years Hobbs held steady as a low-key and pragmatic political personality, even as his Republican party was often wracked with divisions and infighting. But they kept going back to the self-described "mainstream Republican" to lead them, perhaps because he was the calm in the storm.

Thanks for the memories, Ted.

Services for Ted Hobbs will be held Thursday, April 15, 2010, 10:00 am, at French, Lomas Blvd. Chapel, with private burial to follow. Friends may visit French to pay respect Wednesday, April 14; 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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