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Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 Action Not Enough? How About Some '14 Talk? Plus: Ranking The Senate Race, And: UNM Regent Defends Fee Hike 

King & Blogger: Primed for '14?
Not enough action for you yet on the 2012 campaign trail? Let's hopscotch up to the 2014 marker. There we find the following politicos possibly positioning themselves for the 2014 Dem Guv nomination: Attorney General Gary King, trial attorney Sam Bregman, longtime government administrator and 2010 Lt. Governor candidate Lawrence Rael and State Auditor Hector Balderas, if he comes up short in his quest to beat Rep. Martin Heinrich for the US Senate nomination in the June primary.

It will take millions to run an effective Guv campaign and that's why potential candidates start poking around more than two years before the election. The other big factor in the '14 face-off will be the popularity of GOP Guv Martinez. If she keeps her head above the 50% approval mark, she will be tough for anyone to beat.

 THE SENATE DERBY

We have the race for the open US Senate seat ranked as "lean Dem" but we aren't going to put up much of an argument with those who call it a "toss-up." It has the potential to be quite tight. Veteran analyst Larry Sabato of the University of Virgina pretty much nails our view:

The toss up seat likeliest to go Democratic is New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment is heavily Democratic territory these days, and this one wouldn’t even be on the radar had Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) not retired. Granted, Republicans will nominate their strongest candidate, former Rep. Heather Wilson, which gives the GOP a fighting chance in a tough state for them.

We have Rep. Martin Heinrich ranked as the front-runner to take the Dem nomination. Wilson has it in the bag on the R side.

NOT TOO STEEP?

A proposed increase in UNM Student fees is not too steep, says UNM Regent Jamie Koch in response to comments run here Thursday from UNM graduate student association president Katie Richardson. Here's Jamie:

Student fees are necessary to help fund our Olympic sports--skiing, women's swimming, volleyball, men's track and field, women's golf, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's soccer, women's softball and men's baseball. None of these are revenue-producing sports. Students are able to go to all major athletic events free (they are limited to 1500 tickets for men's basketball). The amount that I am asking for from students would be an additional $30 a semester. The University of New Mexico is at the bottom on student fees, when you compare the USA, Mountain West and Western Athletic Conference we’re 19/21...Students fees per semester are currently $245 and I'm asking for an increase of $30. I can understand how a current student would prefer not to have any increase in tuition or fees, so you can clearly understand their opposition. The responsibility of the Regents however is to make sure the University is financially strong. Joe sometime maybe we can have a cup coffee or lunch and have an opportunity to talk.

The Regents are scheduled to continue their budget talks today, with final action slated for April 27.

JOHNNY ON THE SPOT?

We said ABQ GOP state House candidate Johnny Luevano was a possible "Johnny come lately" because he had registered to vote at an address he was not living at and which was not in the district. The district is on the city's west side and represented by Rep. Antonio "Moe Maestas." But Luevano, who served 20 years in the Marine Corps, retorts that he is "Johnny on the Spot:"

Joe, the real questions to be asked and answered here are the following: Does an active-duty military service member have the right to maintain his hometown residency while serving our country? Does an active-duty military service member have the right to vote in his hometown while serving our country? You guys are missing the mark. There are serious accusations here that are not being thought out and I will be asking the voters. We will see if the voters agree with me or my opponent who is trying to suppress active duty voter participation and returning hometown veterans participation in politics.

Meanwhile,  Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver tells ProgressNow NM--the group that first reported the address issue--that she has referred the Luevano matter to the Bernalillo County Sheriff.

WHY NOT MORE?

Question:  Why can't Governor Martinez talk with the Democratic leadership in the state Legislature the same way she spoke with President Obama when he visited here this week? The news:

Gov. Susana Martinez personally thanked President Barack Obama for supporting education reforms that will help improve state schools.The governor met briefly with the president Wednesday in Roswell before Obama headed out for an event in Maljamar where he addressed U.S. energy policies. The Republican Martinez told the Albuquerque Journal she and the Democratic president "speak the same language" on school reform and the effort to end the status quo in schools, despite the influence of special interest groups.

Like we said, why can't we hear that kind of language during the legislative sessions--from both the Governor and the Legislature?

THE BOTTOM LINES

Jay Leno: "Well, the candidates are choosing their Secret Service code names. Rick Santorum chose the name Petrus after his grandfather. And Mitt Romney, you can tell he's a rich guy. You see his name Secret Service code name? Thurston Howell III."

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