Friday, January 06, 2012

Happy 100th, New Mexico, Plus: Stepping It Up In ABQ US House Race, And: Fighting The Good Fight Down South 

First up, Happy 100th, New Mexico! There will be some fun to be had today when the clock ticks off the final seconds to mark our first century of statehood. From the city of ABQ:

At 11:35 am on January 6, 2012, New Mexicans can do something to honor their state that’s never been done before; wish it a Happy Birthday by honking their horns for about 30 seconds. 11:35 am MST is the approximate time President William Howard Taft signed New Mexico into statehood a century earlier...On that day, ABQ RIDE will hold a birthday ceremony with Mayor Richard Berry at the Alvarado Transportation Center. It will feature a Rail Runner locomotive horn, a whistle from a vintage locomotive, horns from ABQ RIDE buses and air and car horns sounding the approximate moment New Mexico became a state one hundred years ago....

And there will surely be plenty of political hot air to keep those air horns going...


Just when Mayor Berry thought he might be turning the corner on the fatal police shootings...bang. The morning paper hits with a front pager Thursday about how the shootings have subsided, but only a couple of hours after the paper is put to bed, police shoot and kill a burglary suspect. Berry has apparently decided to hang tough with APD Chief Ray Schultz, even as the Department of Justice considers launching a full-scale probe into the police shootings.

Berry is getting more room on this than you might suspect as a low-key (asleep at the switch?) city council puts little heat on him. Berry and Schultz are putting into effect higher educational and other standards in the hope it will put an end to the shootings. But the mayor may have his head under the rug when it comes to getting into Schultz's dirty linen.


It still seems like it's Eric Griego vs. Marty Chavez for the Dem nomination for the open ABQ congressional seat, but Dem Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham is fighting to make it a real three way battle:

Lujan Grisham today announced her..team that includes campaign manager Jason Robert Henry along with other top national Democratic political consultants including Dave Gold, Anna Greenberg, and New Media Firm’s Scott Kozar, Lisa Stanley and Will Robinson. Jason Henry (worked) field for Obama for America in Pittsburgh as well as running campaigns in Pennsylvania for U.S. Senate hopeful Joe Sestak..


News and reaction to the redistricting decision coming down from a district court continue. From Valencia County:

A court decision redrawing boundary lines for New Mexico's three U.S. House districts shifts all but four Valencia County voting precincts into U. S. Rep. Steve Pearce's 2nd Congressional District. Prior to retired District Judge James Hall's decision to adopt what's being called the "least-change" map, the southeast corner of the county was part of the 1st Congressional District, currently represented by Martin Heinrich, a Democrat. The remainder of the county was already in the 2nd Congressional District.


Something to keep in mind if you are thinking about running for something:

Gov. Martinez will issue a Jan. 30 proclamation calling for a primary election to be held in every county and precinct in New Mexico.That proclamation will also require that as of Jan. 30, candidates must be affiliated with the political party for which they seek the nomination, and reside in the district they wish to represent.


When we blogged of the candidacy of Evelyn Madrid Erhard we noted how the odds are long for any Democrat to oust conservative Republican US Rep. Steve Pearce from the southern district this year. According to Dem Stephanie Dubois that makes her candidacy all the more appealing:

Not many of us, both Democrat and Republican are willing it seems to make a commitment of the magnitude that it takes to seek an elected office. I cannot predict with any certainty that Ms. Madrid Erhard will be successful but I applaud her willingness and tenacity to seek the Democratic nomination. Whatever the outcome in this race Erhard is a winner for standing up to the challenge and not letting the incumbent run free. That's true democracy.

And the candidate herself came with this reaction to our write-up:

If you mean that it's a cinch for Steve Pearce to win because he has the Republican Party, Karl Rove, TEA Party/Koch brothers' millions paying for his campaign, then I agree that he has an edge. It would be easy to be complacent. Now is not the time. According to the 2010 Census, NM is the second poorest state, and one out of five people live in poverty. I knocked on doors for the 2010 Election in the South Valley--one of the poorest areas in Dona Ana County. Approximately 100,000 people live in this area. After seeing where and how most folks live, I can say that at least four out of five live in poverty.


Rep. Lewis
That big stir over Dem State Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton drawing a paycheck from ABQ Public Schools while attending legislative sessions in Santa Fe has turned up the heat on another lawmaker who toils for the school system. Rio Rancho GOP State Rep. Tim Lewis comes with this:

Although current APS policy allows teachers who serve in the state legislature to receive paid leave during the session, moving forward I have decided not to take my salary from APS while I am serving as a citizen legislator so that I can freely serve and avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest...

Meanwhile, the brother of Lewis--ABQ GOP City Councilor and ABQ congressional candidate Dan Lewis could use some spare cash. He reports raising $64,000 in the fourth quarter, confirming our earlier report. This is another anemic fund-raising report for Lewis and the narrative remains familiar. 2010 GOP congressional nominee continues to straddle the fence on whether he will seek the nomination again and is keeping big money on the sidelines.

How long can Barela keep a chokehold on Lewis? Well, the filing deadline for the pre-primary convention is Feb. 14. Also seeking the GOP nod to fill the seat being left vacant by Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich who is seeking the Dem nod for the US Senate seat are former GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones and retired Army Seargent Gary Smith.


In a first draft in the Thursday blog we wrote that Judge James Hall who is handling the redistricting cases is a retired Republican. He is a Democrat. And we blogged the wrong religious affiliation of appointed ABQ District Court Judge Sam Winder. He says he is an Evangelical Christian. And finally, attorney Hilary Noskin reminds us she is a Republican--not a Dem.

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