Friday, October 08, 2010

Who Were The Winners Of the Week? Plus: Clippings From My Newsroom Floor, And: The Reader Mailbag 

The weekend ends with a bang for GOP Guv contender Susana Martinez. Observers on both sides of the fence say Martinez's latest TV spot is an unabashed hit--a jaw dropper that could come to define the 2010 race. It cleverly uses Diane Denish's own words to undermine her candidacy. But Martinez isn't the only winner of this week. All the Democratic candidates seeking statewide office came out on top as polling showed while many Dems will crossover to vote for Martinez, they will come back home to vote for Democrats for the statewide down-ballot races of attorney general, land commissioner, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor. With the GOP sill having no big TV buys against those Dem candidates, they join Martinez in the winner's suite this weekend. Have a Barq's on us, gang.


Denish's latest TV effort comes after Martinez on a now familiar grab-bag of issues, but lacks the visceral element that is going to get voters off their chairs, or talking out loud as Martinez's latest ad does. The copy:

With Susana Martinez you've got a lot to lose: Our public school money...given to wealthy private schools. Rules protecting our land and water...gone; Our homes...taken by predatory mortgage lenders - Martinez would even let them put veterans out on the street. And our jobs? Martinez will hand over control to big corporations - the same failed Republican plan that wrecked our economy. If Susana Martinez gets her way what will you lose?

Is that going to make Martinez feel personally threatening to voters?

Running behind and with already some of your best ideas spent is never easy. When you're ahead the creative juices flow like clear spring water. And that, dear friends, was the lesson this week. It's been taught to us many times under the unforgiving spotlight of of La Politica.


The Denish camp tried to keep hope alive this week, coming with an internal survey that showed Martinez leading 49 to 46, but Martinez quickly shouted back with her own internal numbers as detailed by the Politico:

Martinez has crossed the 50 percent mark, according to a poll conducted for her campaign by the firm Public Opinion Strategies. The survey, which tested 900 likely voters between Oct. 3 and 5, showed Martinez leading Denish by a nine-point margin, 51 percent to 42 percent. Two key points: "Martinez continues to keep the race close among Hispanic voters, trailing by only a 42%-48% margin...Denish is having difficulty securing her own base, with Martinez polling 44% of soft Democrats." The numbers are close to an Albuquerque Journal poll that had Martinez leading by seven points...

A "soft" Democrat is another name for a ticket-splitter.


The conservative lay of the land in the south is playing into the hands of GOP congressional contender Steve Pearce as he works to oust freshman Harry Teague. The Hill made it their race of the day Thursday.


No, Di isn't running against Bill, but she is running from him, a point emphasized by the New York Times as it checks in on the Guv contest:

There appears to be little that Mr. Richardson, who is known for resolving tense diplomatic standoffs overseas, can do for his No. 2, whose campaign clearly views him as a liability. Her Web site skips over the once-popular Mr. Richardson, mentioning that she was elected the state’s first female lieutenant governor in 2002 without noting who her boss was.


Sarah Palin has endorsed Pearce in a statement on her Facebook page. During the primary the former Alaska Governor visited ABQ for Susana Martinez, a big boost that is credited with helping to push Martinez over the top. Palin and Pearce is a natural for large swaths of the southern CD, but not on key Dona Ana County. Pearce hopes his totals are so large in the SE--Palin country--that he will be able to take a hit in the Las Cruces area.


We quoted the AP this week as saying the Navajo Nation will elect its first president from New Mexico in some seventy years because both candidates are from the NM side of the reservation which is mainly in Arizona. However, David Abbey of the Legislative Finance Committee, says that there was a Navajo president from out state in the last seventy years, but he was not elected:

Joe, my friend Leonard Haskie was interim chairman from 1989-91 according to the nation website. I think he is from Sanostee, certainly New Mexico. His personal history is fascinating. His grandparents traveled by wagon to pick him up at the Gallup train station when he was orphaned as an infant. He is now serving capably as assistant superintendent of Gallup- McKinley schools.


New Mexico's Great Bear Market is having all kinds of impact on daily life. For example:

The UNM Spirit Marching Band will not be going with the football team to Las Cruces for Saturday’s rivalry game against New Mexico State because of budget cuts.

Chad Simons, director of the Spirit Marching Band, said the marching band’s budget has been cut by about $25,000.

“Financially, we have some real challenges. Unfortunately, the travel budget has to be the first thing to go,” he said.

Kristina Austell, a junior in the Spirit Marching Band, said it was a letdown to not be able to support the football team this year.

The relentless economic downturn Is changing the fabric of this state in both small and large ways,


Is Diane Denish aware of this?

New poll numbers out of the Associated Press suggest that Democrats are struggling badly to court white, working class voters in advance of the coming midterm elections, a trend that could have a sizable impact not just on the November election but the 2012 presidential race as well.

In the AP data, white voters without college degrees favor Republican over Democrats by 22 points on the generic congressional ballot--approximately a doubling of the margin the GOP enjoyed among this sliver of the electorate in 2008.


Santa Fe reader Jim Hannan writes:

I find it extremely ironic that the Denish campaign is talking about Susana Martinez taking us back to the Bush days. Because it was Bill Richardson and Diane Denish that did exactly what Bush did. They lowered the New Mexico marginal income tax rate for the wealthy, and, in the process, have created a built in structural deficit of $350 to $400 million per year, almost exactly what NM faces this coming year. This was a tax cut that had absolutely no rationale, and no one was even talking about it, until Bill Richardson decided that he wanted to run for President as a tax cutter.

His legacy in New Mexico will end up being very weak. The Legislature will not reinstate a higher income tax rate, but will instead end up using creative accounting or tapping into the permanent fund, or adding taxes and fees that strap the working people of NM. After seven years of the Richardson tax cut, can he point to one benefit of it? Can he name one wealthy person who moved to NM because of a lower income tax rate?

So, please spare us the Bush comparisons.

Thanks for that, Jim. This corner has argued for months that the state's progressive tax structure has been flattened and that the tax on the wealthiest taxpayers must be increased to restore equality (and a balanced budget). We can only hope that Democratic state senators like John Arthur Smith and John Sapien reconsider their position. Spending cuts are essential but so is a new revenue stream.

Also from the mailbag and reader Gabriel Jaramillo who has a problem with Martinez's TV:

I was a former Vice-President and served on the Board of Directors for New Mexico Survivors of Homicide. I also work for CYFD first as an investigator now as a Placement worker. When I see Martinez's ad with the family of (slain NMSU student) Carly Martinez's and the baby Brianna case I wonder how someone could exploit the victims of such violent crimes. To re-victimize a survivor is not very politically correct and, I believe, a place some politician should never take a survivor.

Martinez is not running for another term as DA or the Attorney General’s office, she is running for Governor and these ads show nothing about her ability to govern a state that is in real trouble, in fact the ads show me that she does not have a clue about what is ahead in FY 2011.


It's your life:

What were the best years of your life? People have many different opinions, but for most Americans, the 20s through the 40s reign. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 58% of Adults say the years between the ages of 18 and 49 are the best years of life for most people. Of that number, 20% say 18-29 are the best years and 20% say their 30s are the best. Eighteen percent (18%) think the 40s are the best years of most people’s lives...

Thanks for stopping by this week.

From Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan reporting

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