Thursday, July 29, 2010
Big Bill: A Lame Duck With Some Quack; Border Confab To Come In Middle Of Campaign, Plus: Dueling Guv Agendas: Corruption and Economy
They may be drawing nasty cartoons about him and eager to show him the door, but lame duck Governor Big Bill still has some time on the clock, and the campaign combat veteran will put it to good use as he works to prevent the Republicans from taking over his Fourth Floor office.
Richardson showed his campaign game is not rusty when he came with this announcement:
Governor Richardson and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that they will co-host an interim meeting of the Border Governors Conference on September 19-20th in Santa Fe...
The agenda for the one-and-a-half day meeting will focus on the key issues of border security, economic development and energy. The meeting will bridge the gap between last year’s conference in Nuevo Leon and next year’s meeting in Baja California, as this year’s conference in Arizona was cancelled.
The conference with the celebrity California Governor is going to gobble up two days of the state's news cycle smack dab in the middle of the Guv campaign between Dem Diane Denish and Susana Martinez. For a change, it's going to be positive coverage for Richardson who is being pummeled in those Martinez TV ads.
Martinez and the R's are attacking Richardson with impunity, believing the seamy side of his administration is their ticket to power. But he just took 48 hours away from them in the middle of September.
Richardson's early June approval rating was at 43% and disapproval at 57%. He would love nothing more than to finish his term at or near the 50% mark. That's going to be tough when you are getting creamed daily on TV as well as in the press. But the border announcement shows the duck sitting in Santa Fe may be lame, but it still has some quack in it.
On the subject of border security and immigration, is there an opportunity here for Denish? A new CNN poll shows a whopping 71% of Hispanics oppose the controversial Arizona immigration law:
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey also indicates that Hispanic and whites don't see eye to eye over the law. Fifty-five percent of people questioned in the poll say they favor the measure, with four in 10 saying they oppose the law. Thirty-four percent of white respondents oppose the measure, but among Hispanics, that number jumps to 71 percent.
Susana Martinez has not endorsed the Arizona measure, which has been partially blocked from taking effect by a federal court, but has been sympathetic. Otherwise, she's been tough as nails on the immigration issue, saying those in the country illegally need to be sent back to where they came from. This cuts her way with many Anglo GOP voters, but Denish and the Dems would seem positioned to make trouble for her up North. That could help blockade movement to Martinez among Hispanic Dems. Here's some KOB-TV news coverage that includes interviews with Denish and Martinez.
By the way, eighty-one percent of people questioned in the CNN poll say they support creating a program that would allow illegal immigrants already living in the U.S. for a number of years to stay here and apply to legally remain in this country permanently if they had a job and paid back taxes, with 19 percent opposed to such a plan. Martinez is with the 19%.
Wednesday gave us a good example of how the Guv campaign is dividing. Martinez came with this:
Susana Martinez's Plan to Crack Down on Corruption; A Bold Agenda for Fighting Corruption
And Denish came with this:
Diane Denish to Announce New Plan to Create High Tech & Renewable Energy Jobs to Fuel New Mexico's Economic Recovery
Which issue has the most sway with undecided voters? That's the question, isn't it?
Here is Martinez's anti-corruption plan. She's calling for a public corruption division within the NM State Police. Here's long-form video of the downtown ABQ news conference. We did not spot any TV news coverage of the event.
If you have not seen much of Martinez outside of her campaign ads--and many have not--this nine minutes gives you an idea of how she handles herself. Her style is prosecutorial and somewhat pedagogic--appropriate enough for a district attorney, which she is, but less effective in a political candidate. There is a rigidness in presentation here that we first noted when we watched her on a primary TV debate. Denish, in the game now for several decades, is more practiced and laid back. Our sense is she will press for engagements with Martinez to showcase the difference. (Of course, if one of the candidates were to break out in the polls, they would try to run and hide away.)
Martinez is at home with the corruption topic and there is more meat on the bones of this plan than her economic agenda. The danger for her is that she often seems more in tune for the job of attorney general or US attorney than that of governor. For Denish, the prospective pitfall is that she talks about creating all these new jobs, but she's been in office for eight years.
A JETLESS GUV?
That state jet that has caused Big Bill so many PR problems would be departing its hangar for good if Susana Martinez gets elected. She says she would sell the sleek aircraft. Her comments come in the wake of a TV news investigative report on alleged abuse of the plane. Dem Diane Denish probably won't sell the jet if she takes over but she's probably so snake-bit about using it, the jet would get used about as much as your grandma's Oldsmobile.
Don't fret over how the new governor will go to and fro. The jet may be put on cinder blocks or sold, but there are other state planes available to ferry Di or Susana around. But just in case, the ladies might want to learn how to change a flat SUV tire. The way the state economy is going voters may hijack all the state planes.
This is an emotional issue but in the larger scheme of things $1.6 million over four years for flights from the state's fleet--or $400,000 a year--is not outrageous. Readers remind us that the planes are used often to fly visually impaired New Mexicans in need of medical care back and forth from Alamogordo where the state school for blind is located. There are other legitimate uses for the aircraft--natural disasters, for example--that allow the state to respond to urgent needs.
It does not appear a political comeback attempt is in the cards this summer for former Roswell GOP state Rep. Dan Foley. One of the Alligators monitoring the action reports:
My info is that Dan won't run for the Rio Rancho legislative seat held by Democrat Jack Thomas. He switched insurance companies and his new employer says he can be politically active but can't run for office. So unless he decides to switch employers again...
Foley was the House Minority Whip before he lost his seat in 2008 to fellow R Dennis Kintigh. Tonia Harris was the GOP candidate challenging Thomas, but she has withdrawn. The Sandoval County GOP Central Committee is expected to name Tim Lewis, brother of ABQ GOP City Councilor Dan Lewis, as Thomas's new challenger. The seat is in a swing district.
This is the home of New Mexico politics.
Email your news and comments. Interested in advertising here? Drop us a line.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2010
Not for reproduction without permission of the author