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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Election Night In Cruces Not ABQ For Susana? Plus: Will You Cringe Again At Final Guv TV Debate? And: Dateline Santa Fe: Fixing A Still-Growing Hole 

You mean Albuquerque isn't the center of the New Mexican political universe? Well, maybe not if you're Susana Martinez. Word is already circulating that the Dona Ana County DA may bypass the big Duke City Election Night and make her victory or concession speech from Las Cruces. That's where she was primary election night when she claimed the title of GOP Guv nominee. If she wins the grand prize and addresses the state from Cruces, she would be the first Governor-elect in the modern era not to be in ABQ on their big night.

If she does surpass Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish, Martinez would also be the first Guv to come from outside the ABQ-Santa Fe corridor since Garrey Carruthers in 1986.

Martinez would start running for re-election as soon as she is elected, so don't expect her to deep-six the ABQ area, but legislators from this area will need to be on their toes to make sure they get their share of the gravy.

Polling indicates a Martinez win would be built on the back of huge majorities in the conservative southeast. It may be surprising to some but insider polling shows she is not poised for a blow-the-doors-off victory in her home county of Dona Ana. It remains heavily Democratic and while she is expected to win there, it won't be anywhere near the margin she achieves in the east.

WHAT WILL THEY DO?

Can you believe there hasn't been one story on what Herb Denish or Chuck Franco would do if their wives are elected Governor? This would be a first in state history, but a down-sized media hasn't gotten around to doing what would be an intriguing feature story. How about it ink-stained wretches? Will Herb and Chuck end up as dishwashers at the Guv's Mansion or are their gals going to let them play in the power pen?

A NO CRINGE NIGHT?

We cringe over the thought of again cringing when we watch tonight's last TV Guv debate. The KOAT Sunday face-off was such a nasty and depressing spectacle that an operative with decades behind him told us that "I had to turn off the TV and go to Netflix." He admitted to watching 38 minutes of the hour-long confrontation. That's probably a lot longer than the average New Mexican stayed in front of their screens. Who knew cage-fighting was on the KOAT card?

Martinez and Denish could do themselves (and our still enchanting state) a big favor at 7 p.m. tonight on KOB-TV if they lighten up. Yes, attack and fight back, but how about a smile, a joke, or just some uplifting rhetoric about our little corner of the world? Maybe when they're not looking Tom Joles can put a couple of chill pills in the water cups. No one would protest. (The debate will also be seen nationally on C-Span).

Another note--Martinez will need to keep her ego in check if it is getting enlarged by her front-runner status. She doesn't need to get much done except avoid a huge mistake. Di has to swing for the fences.

HARRIS POSITIONED

Our ABQ City Hall Alligators say Republican NE Heights City Councilor Don Harris is poised to become the next president of the nine member council, and they say he is positioned to do it with the help of the four Dems on the panel, not the five Republicans. That could mean a deal that would have Harris giving Dems--not R's-- valuable committee chairmanships in exchange for their support. But Councilor Don tells us not to expect that. He says he hopes to win with "broad support." The vote is in December.

POLL WATCH

Someone is going to be scared when the final ABQ Journal poll hits the streets on Halloween morning. With upwards of 65 percent of the vote expected to be cast prior to the actual Nov. 2 Election Day, the survey is going to contain plenty of respondents who have already voted. That's more like an exit poll and will likely tell us with near certainty who the next Governor will be.

DENISH AND OBAMA

The Denish campaign and the state Dem Party say they have no knowledge of any possible visit by President Obama to NM. That comes in the wake of a report here that Obama could make a stop in Las Vegas, NM to rally the Dem troops for Di. She did tell TV news she would like to have him here.

If the Prez adds a NM stop, political pros advise that if possible he also stop around the University of New Mexico to help drive up Dem turnout.

YOU NEVER KNOW


Do you talk to anyone who thinks Denish is going to win this thing? No one, right? But, what if...?

FIXING A HOLE

Actually, it wasn't as bad as we expected. Or maybe we have been so conditioned for worst case scenarios when it comes to the state's budget that a $260 million shortfall for the budget year that starts next July did not have us falling off our blogging stool (or spilling our Starbucks on the lovely blogging pajamas Heather Wilson sent us).

The Legislative Finance Committee came with the deficit number, which translates into an early lump of coal in the Christmas stocking of the next Guv. The 60 day session of the Legislature that begins in mid-January will tackle the shortfall as it has with others the past several sessions.

Will the $265 million shortfall grow? It could if somewhat optimistic price projections for natural gas don't pan out. And then there's the weak economy. Tax collections could still go lower than expected. But even State Senator John "Dr. No" Smith who was the first to yell that the sky is falling says he sees the clouds lifting some and heading back up where they belong.

But even if the shortfall grows to $300 million or so, we don't think that is a big enough number to get Santa Fe looking too fondly at the $14 billion in Permanent Fund cash and dreaming of ways to conduct a raid.

So where do they get the money to balance the budget as required by law? That's the $260 million dollar question for 112 legislators and one Governor.

NEWT MATH

Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich is shown in ABQ's Old Town Thursday night at a fund-raiser for Susana Martinez and running mate John Sanchez who are also pictured.

Gingrich, who is mulling a run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, uses a prop that shows that two plus two equals four, and not five as Gingrich says it does for Democrats. Okay, Newt. We think we get it.

TEJANA AND JOBS

From Santa Fe comes reader Dr. Stephen Easley with rebuttal to the notion put forth by reader Kevin Fowler that we would do well to have a "Tejana" (Martinez's Dem nickname) Governor because Texas is creating jobs.

Joe, You recently quoted a "Kevin Fowler, Democrat" about a US Bureau of Labor Statistics report that he said claimed that from August 2009 to August 2010, 214,000 net new jobs were created in the US, and of those 119,000 were created in Texas. Fowler's conclusion was that maybe we need a "Tejana" in charge here in New Mexico. I think it would pay to take a closer look at this claim.

It struck me as rather astonishing that more than half of the jobs in the US would have been created in one single state over the last year. So I did some research...The report at issue is the Bureau of Labor Statistics news release on Regional and State Unemployment - August 2010, which you can access here:


...Texas reported a net year-over-year estimated increase of +129,100 jobs. However, when you total up the numbers from the other states as well, the total is 320,400, not 214,000, which is a fairly significant discrepancy. Still, that should be seen as a good gain for Texas, though it is a much smaller piece of the overall pie.

...Texas has more than 12.1 million civilians in its labor force today. New Mexico has 955,000. So, while 129,000 new jobs would be gratefully accepted in New Mexico, that number is hardly a drop in the bucket for Texas. 129,000 new jobs in New Mexico would give every unemployed person in NM a job, with 50,000 jobs left over. The same number of jobs in Texas would cover only about 13% of their unemployed. I think you can see the differences in scale and magnitude...

Dr. Stephen Easley, an actual Democrat, Santa Fe, NM

Thanks, Doc. Like they say about this place: So far from Heaven, so close to Texas.

MORE TEJANA TALK
Tony Olmi
The juices continue to flow over "Tejana Susana," the derisive nickname Dems have applied to front running GOP Guv candidate and El Paso born and raised Martinez. We reach into the email bag for the latest and come up with this from Republican reader Tony Olmi:

Joe, I struggle to see a how 40 mile trip from El Paso to Las Cruces justifies the Label "Tejana" while Carpetbagger Richardson's own roots required considerable more travel. Does that make him "Mejicano"? I don't think Richardson even lived in the 3rd congressional District when he ran for Congress from that District.

Labels are at the heart of discrimination and this is sounding very close to it, making Susana look like some kind of illegal immigrant. I don't see how this kind of labeling helps Norteno Dems. I doubt this phrase was originated by Hispanos up north but rather by "Progressive?" politico immigrants from back East to "divide and conquer." Shame on them! The same "progressives" that would indiscriminately open our borders to garner more Dem voters. What hypocrisy!

You go, Toni. We're allowing more GOP gloating than usual. After all, you haven't been able to do much the past ten years.

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