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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hector's Dilemma: Hurt Heinrich & Hurt Himself? Plus: Desperate For Hispanics, And: Michelle Says Marty Is Done 

Balderas
Welcome back. Here's what's happening....The talk now is whether Hector will hurt Heinrich for the general election. Top level Dems are expressing concern that State Auditor Balderas could force Rep. Martin Heinrich to spend a bunch of his campaign loot, short-changing the probable Dem Senate nominee in his face-off against presumptive GOP Senate nominee Heather Wilson.

The line of reasoning goes that Heinrich has $1.5 million in his campaign account and Wilson has $1.4 million. With the money race already so tight Balderas could tilt it to the R's.

But Baldras has less than $400,000 banked so he can't launch a full frontal assault. Nevertheless, Dems grouse that Hector could hit pay dirt with a TV ad or two and force Heinrich to dip deeper into the campaign kitty. And if Heinrich were to lose to Wilson in November, don't you know the finger-pointing would be right at Hector's nose.

But this is a competition not a fixed fight. Balderas may be a long shot, but he can't sell himself short but  he also can't afford to irritate too many Dems because he has future ambitions if he loses the Senate race. Well, Hector, just don't think about all of this before your head hits the pillow. This pickle is a sure-fire recipe for insomnia.

HEINRICH GOES FIRST

It appears Heinrich will be the first major candidate on the TV airwaves this cycle, coming with a 30 second biographical spot. He unveiled it on Facebook Tuesday and it begins airing today.

No one is going to accuse Heinrich of being Mr. Charisma on the tube, but this is a serviceable spot that takes no risks. And why should he? He can bury Balderas under a blizzard of TV cash and wait for Hector to get fancy--if he can. It appears Heinrich will come with at least $300,000 in TV spots before the June primary.

Heinrich's ad sticks to jobs and the economy--key issues for the primary as well as the general election. He again falls back on the working class background of himself and his parents to make a connection with the electorate. The spot is somewhat mundane, but there will be plenty of time for the spiffy stuff when the game gets fully engaged later this year.

DESPERATE FOR HISPANICS

Hispanic support in New Mexico turns to downright pandering, a point pucked up by a number of readers as they closely track the early 2012 action. Reader Joe Barela starts off our Monday blogging by poking some fun at both major political parties:

Joe, to reach out to Latino voters, the GOP they will be initiating the following:

--To get their Latino numbers up, the GOP will be adding ‘O’ s and ‘Z’s to all the last names in their databases and "de’s" to the middle.  For example, the last name Martin will become Martinez. Gomes will become Gomez, and so on. 

--The GOP bought several tanning booths and tanning sprays and are making a run on Carlos Santana music.  I also heard that they are doing blood transfusions too. 

--The Democrats will just throw a big fiesta, call all the colonial Spanish settlers from the 1500’s recent immigrants, have Matanzas, and mariachi music, knowing that Latinos have no other choice and forget about Hispanics after they get our vote.  

Thanks for that, Joe. Let us know when they're having that Matanza. We'll bring our old Santana albums. 

GETTING TECHNICAL

Of all the news stories of late, does any make the eyes of voters glaze over more than the court challenges to candidate petitions? We don't think so. Heck, they even make us go MEGO as we see in this letter from reader Mary Torres of the Beall and Biehler law firm:

Joe, thank you for reporting that ABQ GOP District Judge Sam Winder came out the winner regarding Dem ABQ Metro Court Judge Ben Chavez's petition challenge. He did not challenge Judge Winder's petition signatures. His challenge was that Judge Winder did not include the words "Second Judicial District" on his petitions, even though Judge Winder included Division XIX and Bernalillo County. First, Bernalillo County has only one judicial district, and two, the Second Judicial District is the only Division XIX in the state. I believe the challenge can be characterized by Justice Daniel's question to Judge Chavez's attorney, "Are you making that argument with a straight face..." with the gallery laughing in response. The challenge was a hypertechnical view of the election code where the District Judge found Judge Winder complied with the election code. The Supreme Court upheld that finding....

Okay, we listened to a Santana album all the way through that, but we think we got it...

DON'T FORGET US

We mentioned recently that our Senior Alligators in Santa Fe see State Rep. Kenny Martinez becoming the new Democratic Speaker of the House and ABQ State Rep. Rick Miera replacing Martinez as House Majority Leader. The Martinez prediction isn't drawing much disagreement, but several wall-leaners say watch for State Reps Debbie Rodella and Patty Lundstrom to eye that majority leader slot along with Miera. The leadership posts will be filled by the House Dem caucus prior to the 2013 session. Longtime House Speaker Ben Lujan hangs up his spurs at the end of the year.

BERRY BEAT

We're on the Berry beat, tracking the news from City Hall and ABQ Mayor RJ Berry as he deals with the ongoing crisis of confidence in the ABQ police department. (Yes, it is a crisis of confidence, Mr, Mayor). Here's one of our downtown Alligators with some interesting news:

Joe, you wrote that, "Mayor Berry, probably relying on polling, retorts that the APD is "one of the finest" in the country."

I don't know what poll he is looking at, but one was done by Research and Polling. The blog post found at this link states, "In the Albuquerque area, only 42% of residents trust police officers. That’s bad." 

Research and Polling did the study for Garrity Group, a public relations firm. The poll was conducted in February before two more police shootings in March, the police union payout scandal, and the shooting last week.

Thanks for that. At 42% confidence, the APD is in trouble. Maybe Berry is doing his own polling and it shows something different. But there's no question that the department is taking a whipping.

A TWO WAY RACE?

Michelle Lujan Grisham is writing off Marty Chavez. She asserts in her most recent fund-raising plea that because Chavez is lagging her and Eric Griego in the money chase, that the race for the Dem nod for the ABQ congressional seat is between her and Griego:

Michelle's campaign has the most momentum heading into the final 7 weeks.  Just this week it became clear this is now a two-person race and Michelle is best positioned to win in June and keep this seat in Democratic hands come November, but we still have a lot of work to do...  

Cocky or justifiable confidence by Michelle? What say you, Marty?

THE BOTTOM LINES

We called resigning Spaceport America board of directors member "Chris" Krahling in the blog this week. His first name is Scott. We confused him with his father, Chris Krahling, who was a key player in Governor Apodaca's administration in the 70's. Scott, a Dona Ana County Commissioner, is his son.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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