Thursday, April 28, 2011

Final Campaign Days For Javier & Sam; We'll Miss You Guys (Okay, Maybe Not) Plus: The Blog Mailbag; Readers Take Over 

Taos (Graves)
Welcome back. Only two days before state Dems pick their party chair for the 2012 election cycle, so let's take a look at the conventional wisdom in this hard-fought battle between current Chairman Javier Gonzales and challengers Sam Bregman and Letitia Montoya. From the email and a Dem Alligator monitoring the action:

I think Javier is on track to be re-elected. Bregman didn’t get the Hail Mary he needed a couple of weeks ago in the last county conventions and now he seems to be spinning his wheels...Gonzales has kept his nose to the grindstone, run a strong phone campaign and focused his communications directly on State Central Committee members. He also is outlining a vision for what the party must do in the next 12-15 months to be successful in November of 2012. Raise money, recruit candidates and defend Democratic values.

That Gator is predisposed to Javier but his analysis mimics that of others we have asked. There are 407 central committee members eligible to vote at Saturday's meeting at the ABQ Convention Center. Gonzales became chairman when Brian Colon left the post to run for lieutenant governor.

Next we hear from a Bregman backer. ABQ attorney Robert Lara rebuts the endorsement of Gonzales by 2010 Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish which was posted on Tuesday's blog:

I served as the Deputy Finance Director on the Denish campaign....I respectfully disagree with the assessment that Chairman Gonzalez was a constant fighter for Democrats in 2010. Chairman Gonzales and his staff left many Democrats out in the wind during the 2010 cycle. We lost 21 Democratic races in 2010. In only six of those races did the state party make any financial contribution to our candidates.

A simple Goggle search failed to find any press releases from Chairman Gonzales or his staff defending these candidates during the 2010 election....The real issue is where was Chairman Gonzalez and the party when Democrats were under attack? We know they weren’t giving money to Democrats, we know they weren’t out defending Democrats. Instead Chairman Gonzalez and the staff where here in Bernalillo County, where we lost the race for Governor but thankfully kept Congressman Heinrich. If that’s how Chairman Gonzalez has been working for Democratic candidates, perhaps its time for a new job.

And a response from Gonzales before we put this race to bed and prepare for Saturday's vote:

Over $400,000 was pumped into direct mail on behalf of the very candidates that Sam Bregman is saying we did nothing to help. Anyone who thinks the only way to help a candidate is by cutting a check directly to the campaign does not understand how the party works--with everyone putting money into the party to support a group of candidates. We also raised an additional $1.3 million that put boots on the ground in every one of those districts. I’d urge my opponents to do their research before they send out a false attack....

Maybe at Saturday's election they can nominate a candidate named "Javier Bregman." He would combine Sam's aggressiveness with Javier's restraint and you might get just the right mix.


These endorsements become more important going forward. They often come with checks:

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund, which works to elect candidates who will implement sound environmental policies, and Conservation Voters New Mexico jointly announced their endorsement of Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate.

“Martin Heinrich has been an invaluable leader in championing clean energy jobs and protecting our natural treasures while demonstrating that he’ll stand up to corporate polluters and fight for the interests of New Mexicans,” said LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski.

Not to say that Hector throws litter out the window when he visits the Valle Grande....


We turn the blog over now to our always adroit readers.

A reader from ABQ's South Valley writes of the prospect of another Hispanic candidate joining Hector Balderas in the chase for the Dem nod for the US Senate seat:

I do not believe that another Hispanic candidate will get into the race for US Senate. Anyone, including their extended family, foolish enough to get into the race would be held responsible and in contempt by the Hispanic community of New Mexico for the rest of their natural life and beyond.

Reader Kelley DuPont writes:

I've officially signed up to help with the Heinrich for Senate campaign, a first for me. Thanks for your daily reporting on our local/state politics. Thanks to you I'm hooked and inspired to get involved. Take care and have a great day.


A reader writes:

With Balderas' comment about lobbyists in his Senate announcement video, does that mean he won't take lobbyist money?


Reader Javier Martinez writes:

Hi Joe, I enjoyed your analysis on NationalJournal.com regarding the senate race, especially as it relates to New Mexico's demographic make up and how it will impact our senate race. You're political analysis was right on.

Aside from the demographic factor, I think that the Heinrich campaign will have its work cut out for them. They shouldn't underestimate Balderas simply because he has not been in Washington like Heinrich has. If anything, that is a huge plus for Balderas, especially at a time when everything DC is viewed with mistrust.

While the main question is whether Balderas "can raise the money," I can tell you that there is a ground swell that is brewing from all walks of political life who are looking at the Balderas candidacy with great hope. Hector is a pragmatic leader and people identify with that....


Ellen Wedum of Cloudcroft writes:

You blogged Wednesday about the Heinrich-Balderas Democratic Senate primary:

"We're talking statewide, 30 second attack ads that leave no mistake about their intent. Heinrich, who has been brutally battered by two tough Republican opponents and done his own battering in return, doesn't want to go there, but you do what you must when fighting for your life. ..."

Oh, please, Joe, I know that blood and guts on the floor is favorite Alligator food, but I suspect that many voters find all that negativity indigestible. Democrats can celebrate the emergence of two excellent young senate candidates in Balderas and Heinrich, and either of them can blow the Republican opposition out of the water. Our real concern is hanging on to that ABQ congressional seat that Heinrich is giving up....


Reader J. Richard Brown writes from Carlsbad about our blogging of the search for a new University of New Mexico president:

Hey Joe, I know that I am probably stuck in the 60's but how about including the students in the mix of those who have a say so about who will take President Schmidley's place?


An anonymous reader writes:

Heinrich does indeed need to worry about a statewide race with any Hispanic should there be a lone Hispanic in the race. Heinrich does not have an established statewide political network. He barely wins in his home district. How did he win a contested primary in his home district the last time? Well, he recruited the help of former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil- Giron. The challenge from Michelle Lujan Grisham in a one-on-one race could have taken Heinrich out. The split of the Hispanic vote helped position him to be the Democratic nominee. Team Heinrich have almost a year to "recruit" another Hispanic to run to be the thorn in Balderas' side.


Democratic State Senator Steve Fischmann of Las Cruces emailed us a while back with a column filled with tax ideas. With gas prices inching toward $4 a gallon in the state, this part seemed timely:

Most oil and gas companies operating in New Mexico are from out of state. Tax breaks for Oil and Gas Companies have grown from 8% of state oil and gas revenue generated in 2004 to 17% in 2010. Interestingly, history shows no correlation between tax breaks and oil and gas production in the state. There is a strong correlation between market prices and production. Existing tax breaks remain in the proposed budgets.

That gets you thinking. We'd like to hear a counterpoint from the oil and gas folks


From Tucumcari, reader Jimmy Collins writes:

I’m a professional songwriter from Tucumcari. I own a home in Nashville plus a home in Tucumcari. I have watched in shock tht New Mexico would even consider placing the proposed racino in Raton. Not because Raton isn't beautiful and a nice place,but because Tucumcari is right next door to real money. For example, Amarillo, Lubbock, and even Midland-Odessa.

Tucumcari has two of the three big lakes in New Mexico--Ute Lake & Conchas. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out. When chasing after money put the money drawing card next to the money. Texas has money and we need it! Let’s go get it. The eastern side of the state always gets left out of the big deals in our wonderful state. Maybe it would be wise to even things up a little....

Okay, Jimmy. Anyone who wants to take money out of Texas and put it in New Mexico has a friend around here.

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