Friday, July 02, 2010

She'll Be Calling For Cash; Susana Needs To Close Money Gap With Di, Plus: It Keeps Getting Worse For Teague, And: Happy Fourth of July! 

The early polling has Susana Martinez holding her own and then some in her race for Guv with Diane Denish, but she continues to lose badly when it comes to the important money race. That could mean the GOP Guv contender spends as much time on the phone in July as she does on the campaign trail. It could also provide an opening for Denish to dominate the summer TV scene.

The latest money reports filed with the state reveal that Martinez has only $300,000 in cash on hand compared to Di's $2.2 million. That's a nearly 7 to one advantage that the R's can't let stand.

Di helped deplete Martinez's already meager bank account by immediately launching a negative ad campaign two days after the June 1 primary. The ads may not have done much for Di's polling, but they did a good job keeping Martinez's checkbook in check. In June, Susana spent $453,000 and Di $657,000. In addition, Di had no primary challenge and Susana had an expensive battle.

Martinez has been doing national conservative talk radio shows to raise cash. Denish has been running for Guv for years and can keep a leisurely fund-raising pace.

Susana may have to stay further to the right on the ideological spectrum than she may like in order to appeal to flush conservative R's around the country who she will need to fill her campaign coffers. The local economy can't raise the $2 million she needs. And the oil and gas industry can only do so much.

She did pick up that $450,000 contribution in late May from Texas developer Rob Perry, the largest in state history. Will she tap him again to close the money gap?

In June, the Republican Governors Association came with $250,000 for Martinez. That's a start, but she will need more.

She will get more as long as she stays competitive. But the risk she now faces is a dip in the polling. If Denish comes on, donors could cool on Susana just when she needs their money the most.

Di has to be thinking about staying on TV heavy in July and forcing Martinez to either spend to keep up or cede the field while she saves money to compete in the critical fall months.

Denish could use a clear field. Those negative ads she is running against Martinez also hurt her--by driving up negative feelings about the Dem nominee. If she could go positive with little or no competition for a month, it would be that much easier to regain goodwill with voters.

It's that kind of flexibility that is a major advantage to Denish in the money race in these early weeks. That's why you might hear more of Susana on the telephone than see of her on the campaign trail.


The good news for GOP Guv candidate Susana Martinez is that the blow up over a forwarded email out of her DA's office celebrating the killing of a Mexican illegal immigrant and an Arab comes amid the slowest news cycle of the year. The bad news is that the story stayed alive another day Thursday. From the AP:

The Administrative Office of the District Attorneys is disciplining an employee who forwarded an e-mail that joked about killing Mexicans and Arabs. Agency Director Kelly Kuenstler said Thursday the employee, Brandy Toward, was reprimanded. She declined to provide more specifics because it was a personnel matter.

Toward forwarded the e-mail to several people, including a prosecutor in the district attorney's office of Susana Martinez, the Republican gubernatorial nominee. The prosecutor then forwarded the e-mail to others and has been reprimanded for doing that.

Democrats have called for the prosecutor to be fired. The League of Latin American Citizens said Thursday the e-mailed joke "only exacerbates racial tensions" that exist because of the immigration issue.

Martinez's initial reaction to the email was that it was "unacceptable," but that was termed a tepid response by the campaign pros. Susana came with something a bit harder and the first words not uttered through a spokesperson, calling it "deeply offensive:"

I immediately reprimanded a member of my staff upon viewing the deeply offensive email she forwarded. Her actions were inappropriate and in violation of my office’s policy, and I take this matter very seriously.

Unfortunately, some have seen fit to play politics with this deeply unfortunate incident and my opponent, who was noticeably silent when hundreds of state employees in a department within her cabinet engaged in inappropriate and disturbing behavior on state computers such as accessing pornography. These individuals not only weren’t admonished, in many cases, they were never reprimanded.

And that will probably put a lid on the email madness--at least for now. We'd score the week for Denish, but it was nowhere near a home run. It was more like a solid double because Martinez did not come out with a stronger initial condemnation of the joke.

What will be next in Campaign 2010. You can hope that it is more substantive stuff, just don't bet your Moriarty ranch on it, okay?


Meanwhile, some Dems are getting carried away with themselves. That means you ABQ Dem State Rep. Eleanor Chavez. She came not with a criticism of Martinez, but a diatribe:

Chavez did not criticize Kuykendall (the assistant DA who forwarded the offending email) in a statement she sent out, but called Martinez "hate's best messenger and her employees are merely following her example."

"We don't need her or her hate filled rhetoric and immigrant bashing!" Chavez said. "Where should she go? How's hell for starters."

Alright, someone grab the bottle of chill pills. Eleanor is definitely in need. Martinez did not write the email and she did not forward it, both criteria for accusing her of being a hate messenger. And Martinez, while tough on immigration, has not used hate speech to back up her position.

And up until now the Dems were doing so well restraining themselves. But some D's are borderline desperate, seeing that Denish is locked in a dead heat or even trailing the Dona Ana DA. Where should they go? Well, not to hell, but maybe to the gym to work out their anxiety.


It just keeps getting worse for southern Dem Congressman Harry Teague. Perhaps the biggest news from a Politico report is that Teague's oil-based fortune has plunged in value from an estimated $40 million to$5 million. That may not be a paltry sum, but Teague wrote himself checks for $1.7 million to get elected in '08. Would he be able or willing to do the same this cycle in which he faces a very difficult opponent in former GOP Congressman Steve Pearce?

And then there is the $2.7 million lawsuit leveled against four companies Teague owns. The suits are over outstanding loans.

The companies are now being run by Teague's son and daughter in law and the congressman says they are working to settle the loan issue.

But events may be spinning out of control for Teague and his tenuous hold on the most conservative of the state's three congressional districts.

The Politico reported in May how Teague's companies canceled health insurance for their 250 employees, even as Teague was taking a $2.7 million profit out of the company and even after his 2008 campaign bragged on how well he treated his workers.

Paying for the employee health insurance might get Teague back some political capital, but with the worth of his companies plunging, that's no longer easily done.

Teague has always walked a tightrope in the district that had not elected a Democrat in nearly 30 years until he won in the '08 Obama landslide Now it looks as though Harry is tottering.


A reader writes:

Joe, you'd be surprised how many jokes and other humor go on daily in state government. Many are racist oriented or make fun of ethnic groups and others like "rednecks," "beaners," "ragheads," "blondes," "lowriders," etc. In the past, I've overheard some highly placed politicos tell jokes with bigoted overtones. The point is, while it should be dealt with, most of it is ignored or simply accepted as the norm....

This is the home of New Mexico politics. Happy Fourth of July!

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