Thursday, March 29, 2012

It Must Be A Campaign; Jousting Over Polling Begins, Plus: Marty Starts Jabbing Eric, And: A Thorn For Janice 

TV ads that fudge the truth, brutal mail pieces that misrepresent voting records, robo calls that hit and run and polls that may or may not accurately reflect the lay of the land. Those are just some of the perennial items of the campaign season, and with only about two months and a week until the June 5 primary, they are starting to pop up like spring weeds.

In the case of the polls, the first public one on a state legislative race to draw widespread attention came from the campaign of former State Rep. Ben Rodefer. He's challenging State Senator John Sapien for the Dem nomination in the Sandoval County area district. Conducted by the polling group Third Eye Strategies, it showed Rodefer beating incumbent Sapien by ten points--43% to 33%--among a sample of 300 likely voters taken March 19-22. But Sapien sympathizers dug up a legislative poll also conducted by Third Eye that shows polling in these low-turnout primary races is tricky at best. That poll was conducted May 25-27, 2010, just days before the primary in which challenger Carl Trujillo narrowly lost to House Speaker Ben Lujan in Santa Fe by less than 100 votes, but the Third Eye poll was apparently blind to what was about to happen. Pollster Stephen Clermont reported to Lujan at the time:

Speaker Lujan leads by a two-to-one margin among likely voters (47%-23%). That lead widens with voters who say they will definitely vote (52%-21%) and those definite voters who have voted in multiple primaries (54%-20%). Most significantly, among those who have the most information about the candidates and can give both a favorable or unfavorable rating, Lujan leads 58%-32% with 10% undecided....

Pollster Clermont comes with this response:

The race closed. It happens in low-turnout primaries...There are plenty of factors I cannot model in polls. People answer surveys and don’t vote and people change their minds about the candidates. However, the most important thing from my perspective--the Speaker won the race. Yes the margin was not as large as what the poll indicated but he won in the worst possible environment heading into the vote. If Rodefer wins by one vote, that is fine from my perspective. He is not over 50% in this poll and there is a long way to go. My poll does not say he will win...

Maybe Rodefer is ten points ahead of Sapien--or maybe he isn't. And not to denigrate Clermont and Third Eye. They and the other pollsters do their best. But when it comes to polling in these legislative primaries, the best advice may be Caveat emptor"--let the buyer beware. We think Speaker Lujan would surely agree.

Now more of our continuing and pretty much exclusive coverage of the state Senate campaign that could conclude with the election of the first openly gay man to the state Senate in New Mexico history. He's 25 year old Jacob Candelaria who directs Equality NM, a gay advocacy group, and who is seeking to replace retiring ABQ Dem state Senator Bernadette Sanchez. And there's more drama in this one.

The Bernalillo County Clerk's office confirms that Carlos Villanueva, Candelaria's lone rival for the Dem nod, has filed a complaint accusing Candelaria of filing fraudulent petiton signatures. The secretary of state has sent the complaint to the state police and the clerk's office here confirms an investigation is underway. Candelaria needed about 75 valid signatures. He filed 155. You can look at all of them here. You have to say some of them look kind of funky. Let's see what happens with that investigation. More drama to come? Remember, the winner of the June primary gets the Senate prize. There's no R on the ballot for this west side district.


Let's turn up the heat on Campaign '12--or let's have ABQ Dem congressional hopeful Marty Chavez do it as he starts poking at June primary rival Eric Griego:

Eric Griego claims he “represents the Democratic Party's values.” But what are the facts? Griego took a $24,000 bonus to leave his publicly funded, non-profit position to run for Congress, taking money away from educational opportunities for New Mexican children. Griego voted to reinstate the local food tax, which overwhelmingly hurts low-income families. Griego opposed job-creating projects like expanding the Montaño bridge and the San Juan Chama water project--the largest public works project in New Mexico’s history. 

Meanwhile, Griego appears to be leading in the endorsement wars:

Griego announced his endorsement by Cuauhtémoc “Temo” Figueroa, a leading national Hispanic political strategist who served as the National Latino Vote Director for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.  Figueroa’s endorsement follows Griego’s announcement on Monday of his endorsement by the American Postal Workers Union Local 380.

This is going to be a 15 rounder, boxing fans. If anyone falls down, Michelle Lujan Grisham is waiting at ringside to jump in. She comes with this video that makes it clear that she is going after the gals while the boys tear into each other.


It appears former GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones is well on her way to securing the Republican nomination for the ABQ US House seat, but she will still have to deal with a thorn or two. Gary Smith, the retired Army Seargent who failed to win an official spot on the June 5 primary ballot when he scored only 3 percent of the preprimary vote to Janice's 62%, filed additional petition signatures with the secretary of state to secure a spot on the ballot. The problem he faces? No candidate in state history who has fallen below 20% at the preprimary has ever won the primary. But Smith will poke at Janice for not being conservative enough as he works to shake up the race. A sample:

Janice likes to call herself Lady Sunlight. I believe it’s time to shed some sunlight on her liberal record of voting for taxes increases and huge budgets, voting against the death penalty, and for being multiple choice on issues like abortion. There is a clear choice in this primary between Janice’s liberal record and my true conservative values.

Smith has seeded his campaign with $125,000 in personal money. Janice had an anemic $20,000 banked at the end of the year, but is reporting fund-raising progress since the preprimary.


On the topic of the American Dream, do Governor Martinez's aides make sure she sees reports like this one or are they dismissed as propaganda? From the NYT column of Steven Ratner:

In 2010, as the nation continued to recover from the recession, a dizzying 93 percent of the additional income created in the country that year, compared to 2009--$288 billion--went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6 percent to each of these households. Still more astonishing was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich. In 2010, 37 percent of these additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a teaspoon-size collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. These fortunate few saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent. 

Nothing wrong with having the rich get richer but only if most boats are rising. Right now, the middle and lower classes are shipwrecked and the wealthy continue to go along at cruising speed. When will our politics fully catch up with this distributing reality? This isn't class warfare or resentment. This is an economic system run afoul


While we doubt that the New York Times is a part of the Governor's daily reading diet--too "liberal" and all that--we do know there was no way she could ignore that paper's recent explosive expose on the dismal condition of the state's horse racing industry. She says she will ask for a report from the racing commission on the outrageous animal abuse via drugging and the apparent human criminality. How about an outside investigation, Guv? It's hard to have much confidence in the agency under which this scandal prospered. And can you give Senator Udall a call and work with him on the national angle he is pursuing to clean up the racing industry? And what about the Legislature? Oh, sorry, we don't want to wake them ...


We always vote for a sense of humor and Mo Elleithee campaign consultant to Dem US Senate candidate Hector Balderas appears to agree. On our Monday blog we posed a question about Hector's campaign in the wake of the good showing he had at the Dem preprimary convention and which he bragged about. "Where's the Mo?" we wondered. To that, Mo emails:

I'm right here!!  Hope you're well.

Well, if you cant laugh about it you really can't live in this crazy but beloved world known as La Politica.

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