Friday, June 18, 2010
A cornerstone of the GOP effort to take over the Guv's mansion is to frame Dem nominee Diane Denish as a "Richardson soldier" and identify her with the sordid pay-to-play schemes that have soiled his tenure. But what if Big Bill's popularity improves by September?
You might think that's an impossibility, but the Guv has been keeping his nose clean lately and his stunt this week where he conducted a wedding for movie stars Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart shows he hasn't lost his touch at creating a favorable PR backdrop.
Bill's approval rating in the May Rasmussen is 39%--that is low and a drag on Lt, Governor Denish. But keep your eye on it. If it starts to tick up, that could make Susana Martinez's job of dragging down Di that much harder.
The Guv is no slouch when it comes to political analysis. When he leaves office, he has a standing invite to join our KANW-FM radio roundtable where we've been covering elections since the 80's. (See, Bill, you do have something to look forward to.) He comes with his first take on the Denish-Martinez match-up:
For Democrats, I think the lieutenant governor is well-positioned…She’s going to have to separate herself from me but define herself as a Democrat moving the state forward on the traditional Democratic issues of job creation, health care and education reform...
The Guv predicts the hot-button issue of immigration--so key in the GOP Guv primary--will fade in importance as we get closer to Election Day.
History says he is right, although because of the controversial Arizona law it will linger a bit longer on the campaign trail.
DC pundit Charlie Cook has joined Real Clear Politics and University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato in dubbing the NM Guv race a "toss-up."
One of the reasons the race could stay close for a long time is that Mr. and Mrs. New Mexico really don't know much about Martinez or Denish. They want to learn before deciding.
THE WORD IS...
We'll be kind and not call the campaign thus far between the two women insipid, but uninspiring surely fits the bill. That we are wasting an entire month talking about sex offenders and crime when our state's economy is at such a crossroads is a damning indictment of how campaigns have become disconnected from the electorate. (Both campaigns note that they do have positive ads in their mix.)
The state pines for good economic news--even tidbits. Sandia National Labs (annual budget $2.3 billion) provided some this week. The nuclear weapons facility says it will aim to increase hiring by 200 this year. Sandia employs about 8,000 so this isn't huge, but it's better than going the other direction.
We think President Obama is looking sympathetically on funding for Sandia and Los Alamos. Does the 2012 election have anything to do with that? You decide. But my Alligators are closely watching the final appropriation Congress makes for Los Alamos and Sandia Labs for the budget year starting in October before they start popping the champagne corks...
This is the home of New Mexico politics. Thanks for stopping by this week.
From Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan reporting.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2009
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