Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Million Dollar Man: Weh Kicks In More Cash As Rivals Still Roll Over, Plus: Victoria's Secret: Blog Takes On Judge Mystery, And: Teague Hit Hard
Maybe a million bucks isn't what it used to be, but as one of our Alligators says, it's still "a lot of skin in the game."
That skin is coming from GOP Guv hopeful Allen Weh who has loaned himself another $250,000 bringing his personal contributions for the entire campaign to a cool million. He's flooding the radio and TV airwaves, the mailboxes and is engaged in the sign wars. Yet Susana Martinez's flame still burns. My media insiders report she has upped her TV buy to $83,000 this week to match Weh's recent level, but the former GOP chairman who made his fortune with CSI Aviation is sure to up the ante even further as he mounts his final assault.
A Democratic Alligator examining the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Secretary of State Monday came with frank and sometimes brutal assessments as we near the final frenzied primary days and with thousands of voters preparing to cast ballots at early voting locations that open this Saturday.
On Martinez, who reports $129,000 in cash on hand as of May 3:
The Martinez campaign says they’re “strongly positioned for final month.” Really? With $100,000 less than what Doug Turner has in the bank? She reports 129K, but just made a TV buy of $83,000 for the week. Assuming she wants to close with $100,000 in each of the final two weeks, will she have the 200K it takes? Does big oil have her back down the home stretch?
Martinez took heat when she disclosed that she had taken a campaign contribution from a SE NM oil company of $117,000---one of the largest--if not the largest--contribution in state political history.
On Doug Turner who reported $230,000 in cash on hand for the final stretch and has loaned himself several hundred thousand:
What’s with Turner sitting on $230k, but making no big TV buy? Maybe he’s realizing it’s much easier to write your own campaign a big check than it is to spend that money--which you’ll never see again.
And on Allen Weh and his million dollar man status:
Weh is the $1 Million man. That’s a lot of skin in the game to risk going down without a swing. Does he use his cash advantage to put Susana Martinez on the ropes? Or just keep attacking (certain Dem Guv nominee) Diane Denish?
And on Pete Domenici, Jr. who in April loaned himself another $50,000, bringing the total the ABQ attorney has loaned himself to $120,000:
Why would Pete Jr waste another $50K of his own cash if he’s just going to give up and roll over?
The AP wrap on these latest money reports is here.
STATE OF THE RACE
The defining feature of this race has been the absence of any overt negative campaigning among the five GOP hopefuls. That actually is somewhat refreshing in an era when the negative ad has so dominated, but now the moment of truth approaches.
We know Weh will not hesitate to fight for it if he is threatened. His past has shown he can sometimes be too anxious to engage in fisticuffs. But what about the rest of the Republicans? If Weh is shown by polling to be positioned for the win, will Martinez et al. let him just buy it? Will the very real concerns about Weh's electability in November be aired before the GOP electorate? What about his ability to lead or lack thereof based on his tenure as chairman of the party?
Martinez and Domenici seem to have been consulted into their corners. They may know how to fight, but their handlers won't let them take off the gloves for fear that any blows to Weh will backfire and benefit another candidate. But fear as a strategy against a guy spending a million bucks and not doing so frivolously is usually a sure loser. Say what you will of Weh, but fear doesn't seem to be in his vocabulary. And that's a trait that voters want in a Governor.
One wonders why a candidate like Janice Arnold-Jones, whose chances of winning are as likely as July snow and who tangled with Weh when he was party chair, doesn't use her last moments on the political stage to address the questions about Weh listed above.
But enough from us on this. We heard Sinatra belting a tune out the other day and he might have been singing to Weh's challengers:
Make like a Mister Milquetoast - and you'll get shutout
Make like a Mister Meek - and you'll get cut out
Make like a little lamb - and wham you're shorn
I tell you chum - it's time to come - blow your horn
She raised another $295,000 in the past month, bringing her cash on hand total to $2.7 million. And we think we'll soon see Diane Denish start spending some of the loot on TV time.
Denish's latest money totals were reported in the second state report candidates are required to file.
It appears Dem Light Guv contender Lawrence Rael made a $60,000 TV buy in late April for spots that are expected to air soon. He had $68,000 in cash left as of May 3. That means some more TV and mail, but is it enough to catch cash-rich Colon? He had $114,000 on hand for the final month. That's after putting up his initial $100,000 in TV money.
Why has ABQ Metro Court Judge Victoria Grant been suspended with pay for three months? The Judicial Standards Commission, which recommended her suspension and which was signed off on by the state Supreme Court, remains hush-hush. We put our Legal Beagles on the case and they sniffed this out:
Rumor has it that the defense attorneys bar, most notably the public defenders office, have gotten together and filed a complaint saying that she has made it difficult to put on a defense by not allowing attorneys to somehow do their jobs.
Not exactly detailed info there, and we don't normally put up a rumor, but we make an exception in this case because of state secrecy over why a judge is being paid to not go to work. We'd like to know more, so if you have reliable news, do email us.
The Judicial Standards Commission continues to look into the matter but can't state Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels explain why we are not entitled to know what is happening at the Metro Court that we fund to the tune of millions of dollars annually? Or maybe some of the legislators who appropriate that money need to start asking some question of Justice Daniels and his colleagues? Meanwhile, Victoria's Secret seems to have been partially unveiled here, but vox populi want to see more.
HARRY HIT HARD
Harry had to know this was coming. His energy companies in Lea County sent out a memo in December cancelling employee health coverage for 250 workers. This was happening even as US. Rep. Teague was explaining that he voted against the Obama health care plan because it did not provide a way for small business to pay for the insurance it requires. The Politico came with the hit. Said Harry's office:
...Employers should provide health insurance coverage for employees--that’s what he did when he was running a company. But he also knows that the economic downturn has forced many small businesses to make tough choices to survive.
But Teague is worth $41 million. Score this one for GOP challenger Steve Pearce.
Liberal Dems are not going to be happy with Harry over this. He already had to get a pass from them to vote against the health bill in the first place to satisfy his conservative district. Teague could do some damage control by getting a health plan going again at his companies.
Meantime, Pearce benefits as Dems who already think Teague is too conservative have to hold their noses even more if they are to support him. And he needs that support in liberal Dona Ana County. Not that they will vote for Steve, but they could simply not vote in the race.
Also, the Politico points out that Teague said six months ago he was going to divest himself of interest in three of his oil companies, His son currently operates them, but Teague retains majority ownership. He had said he would be pulling out of the companies to focus on his job as a congressman. Not good, Harry.
But don't count Harry out. That personal fortune that has gotten him in trouble can also help keep him alive until the very end. Big Bill and Big Bill buddy Paul Blanchard are also aiding the cause. They will host a high-dollar fund-raiser for Harry--ticks range from $500 to $2400--at ABQ's El Pinto restaurant this Thursday evening. Click on the invite for more details.
PRC IN PLAY
Three seats on the powerful Public Regulation Commission are in play in Primary 2010. The AP has a rundown.
Here come the kids. Dem Light Guv candidate Brian Colon comes with his second TV spot of the campaign. The cute factor is in full play here as he works for female support.
GOP Guv hopeful and ABQ State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones has come with her first TV. The trouble is Janice is barely in the ad--just a head shot at the beginning and then a bunch of politicos come on and endorse her, including former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman.
As we noted above, Janice is the longest of the long shots to win the GOP nomination. Why not go out in a blaze of glory and take on Allen Weh who tried to block her at every pass?
LAND COMMISSION ACTION
From our press release file:
New Mexico hunters and anglers will host all five candidates for Public Lands Commissioner at a forum Wednesday in Albuquerque...
Sportsmen took an active interest in the candidates after Commissioner Patrick Lyons proposed a controversial trade of state trust lands around White Peak, in northern New Mexico. Attorney General King filed suit to stop the trade (the state Supreme Court has yet to rule) but the episode illustrated the important role the Land Commissioner plays in providing access to hunting and fishing on state lands....
The forum is 7-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, at the State Bar of New Mexico (5121 Masthead NW).
This is the home of New Mexico politics. Email your news and comments, anonymously if you wish.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2009
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