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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chavez-Griego Tensions Start To Surface in ABQ House Race, Plus: Susana, The Senate And Jobs, Also: Sports Beat Grabs Reader Attention 

Udall & Heinrich
Rep. Martin Heinrich looks more than ready to join Tom Udall in the US Senate in this pic we snapped of the pair at a reception put on by NM Sikhs following the opening day ceremonies of the NM Legislature. We asked Heinrich if we could dub the photo a Udall endorsement of his Senate candidacy. He quickly quipped, "It's my endorsement of Tom Udall."

Heinrich faces Hector Balderas in the June primary. Udall has not endorsed either contender. Udall faces re-election to a second six year Senate term in 2014. At that time he will be the state's senior senator as Jeff Bingaman retires at the end of this year.

The Sikhs based in Espanola run Akal Security, a major provider of security services for the federal government.

TENSION ERUPTS

Not surprisingly the tension is already boiling to the surface in what will be a hotly contested race for the Dem nomination for the ABQ congressional seat. A progressive political action committee that is backing State Sen. Eric Griego for the nomination put out a robo-poll that raised ethics questions about his chief rival--former Mayor Marty Chavez. The PAC hasn't released the details of the poll, but enough Chavez backers received it that his campaign came with a letter from them condemning the survey as a "smear attack sent under the guise of scientific polling."

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee says it ran a 35 question poll of 513 likely primary voters. A spokesman for Griego said the campaign has absolutely nothing" to do with the survey, but questioned why Chavez was so upset. "Maybe it hit a nerve," he said.

Chavez has had long-standing problems with the progressive wing of the Dem Party. No doubt one of the ethics issued poll was ABQPAC, a fund-raising scandal that erupted in 2001 when Chavez was mayor.

Also running in the Dem contest is Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham. Her supporters are hoping that Eric and Marty will go after one another and she will benefit. We appear to be very close to having that theory checked out.

THE GUV AND JOBS

A counterpoint to a portion of our take on Governor Martinez and job creation. We said:

Not that it's the sole chore of the state's governor to "create jobs" and it's not as though Martinez's administration has done nothing.

The counterpoint comes from Pat Davis of the new progressive group ProgressNow NM:

It is almost as though Martinez has done nothing. She campaigned against the state being involved in the Spaceport, until pollsters told her to be for it. The negotiation for a tax package for Union Pacific to relocate to Santa Teresa was begun under the last administration and it is not clear how many of the 2,000 temporary construction jobs and estimated 600 long-term jobs to be created are any more than their old El Paso employees driving 15 miles up the road to work. Surely they don't plan to just fire their existing Texas workforce to hire only unemployed New Mexicans.

TE Connectivity, also referenced in the governor's state-of-the-state speech, sure didn't. The first 100 jobs they announced at their new plant were "relocated from El Paso." And her poisonous rhetoric against the film industry stopped that investment in its tracks...On second thought, it seems as though Martinez has done a lot, just not a lot she may want to admit.

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS

State Senate Democrats also think Martinez and company are vulnerable on the jobs issue as we go into an election season. They came with an 11 point plan to put more New Mexicans back to work. The one that caught our eye was the $300 million in capital outlay money for infrastructure projects. We could stand to see an even higher number, but if Santa Fe could get behind the $300 million it would be a boon for a number of industries afflicted by the state's construction depression.

Even though the Dems see a leadership vacuum from the Fourth Floor when it comes to jobs, Susana hasn't been absent without leave of late. Her proposal to do away with the gross receipts tax for many small businesses and her appreciation for a healthy dose of capital outlay has buttressed her jobs credentials.

NOT A SECRETARY YET

From Santa Fe, Jeremy Rutherford writes of a recent reference to "Secretary of Education Skandera:"

Joe, Skandera is not Secretary, she is a Secretary-designate. This absolutely needs to be corrected. It is unfair to those that have been confirmed. She hasn't been confirmed, and there are many reasons why. It's not simply because they didn't have time last year.


Skandera has been a lightning rod for the Governor and it seems she continues to draw strikes. The Dem-oriented Independent Source PAC has come with a sharp critique. The PAC was also in the fore in investigating the state's awarding of a controversial lease to the Downs at ABQ racetrack and casino. It's new report asserts:

If Governor Martinez wants to crack down on corruption, she needs to start with the contract she engineered between the Downs and the state of New Mexico. If this contract is allowed to stand, the new racino will stand as a shrine to blatant bid rigging and exclusionary pay-to-play politics in state government.


The administration insists the rules were followed in awarding the Downs lease. Laguna Development Corporation, which lost its bid for the lease, is challenging that contention.

Between the Independent Source PAC and ProgressNow NM, the Martinez opposition seems to be finding its sea legs. Her first year the opposition was nowhere near as organized.

VP SUSANA

We get this from ABQ Journal columnist Leslie Linthicum on Governor Martinez and whether she would accept the VP spot on the 2012 GOP presidential ticket:

Martinez is actually on the record in a December 2010 interview saying she would not interrupt her first term to accept a vice-presidential position. This is the quoted answer to the question that appeared in the column: “The next four years for me are here in New Mexico,” Martinez promised.

Thanks for that, Leslie. We notice that she made that statement before she actually became Governor, but it doesn't dissuade us from ignoring any denials of vice-presidential interest. Well, maybe if she calls Romney and Gingrich on the phone and told them that under no circumstances would she accept the VP nomination and then conducted a news conference to repeat the conversation, we might bend a little. Otherwise, watch what they do not what they say.

THE TOP FIVE

That recent blog
featuring the top five NM sports stories since statehood a century ago authored by lobbyist Bruce Donisthorpe continues to evoke email responses. Here we go....

From photographer Mark Bralley:

Tommy McDonald, born in Roy, is not the only New Mexico member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ronnie Lott was Born May 8, 1959, in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

From ABQ's Susan Loubet:

Joe, How about as a top five sports story Nancy Lopez being able to play on the Roswell golf team after Congress passed Title IX--the law mandating gender equality in school athletics?

Taos native Rodger Beimer weighs in:

Lest we forget a Taoseno, George Brooks coached the 2004 UNM Ski Team to the only NCAA Championship UNM has ever received.

From Washington D.C. lobbyist Jim Richards:

..Greatly disappointed that my former colleague Bruce Donisthorpe left out my hometown Animas Panthers. They had 69 straight wins in AA football (still top ten all time nationally!!) until losing to the hated Lordsburg Mavericks 9-8. Seven consecutive state championships, the last of which was an Animas drubbing of the Mavericks 36-0 in the rematch of the streak ending loss!

And ABQ reader Lissa Knudsen, a Dem, says she's had enough of sports infiltrating our political blog:

According to Frank Luntz, the infamous Republican pollster who deserves much of the credit for delivering the '94 Republican majority in the House, speaking about sports is ill advised for politicians.


"...The problem with far too many male politicians and executives is that they tend to make everything into a sports analogy. In my years of interviewing women from all across the country and in all walks of life, I've consistently found that this drives women insane...Men use baseball metaphors, golf metaphors, football metaphors - and often these sports metaphors are graphic and violent...
Thanks, Joe, as always for your engaging commentary.

Thanks to all of our sports authorities for their emails. We can't promise Lissa that there won't be a few more, but we assure her and you that the game of La Politica will always reign supreme around here.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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