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Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Clippings From My Newsroom Floor 

What a week. Emailgate again made the big political headlines, so big that one of our Senior Alligators joked:

"There's finally going to be bipartisanship in state government. Susana is going to meet with Big Bill on how to handle a scandal!"

Certainly her Democratic predecessor had his share of scandal duty and judging from the email developments this week, Martinez is in for a long slog of her own.

And what of the Martinez economy? Schott Solar has given the ABQ metro a shot to the solar plexus, announcing it is shutting down and laying off 250 workers. The anemic recovery here just keeps getting more anemic.

Like Martinez, ABQ GOP Mayor Berry has had an extended honeymoon, but with those kinds of layoffs in the headlines both he and Martinez are at risk of suffering from effective political attacks. Lucky for them the top Dems in this state seem as anemic as the recovery. No one has really surfaced as an effective opposition leader, even as the state's GOP leaders--at best--muddle through....

Here's one of the more easy predictions we hear being made. The three most powerful New Mexico state Senators--John Arthur Smith of Deming, Tim Jennings of Roswell and Michael Sanchez of Belen--all Democrats--are all expected to be re-elected this year--and without too much difficulty. The Guv's machine is planning on throwing money at the Sanchez race, but it looks out of reach. That all three powerhouses are very likely coming back to Santa Fe next year tells us that this election is unlikely to be a legislative game changer...

Our Alligators like Chris Saucedo's chances to take the ABQ state House seat being vacated by Dem Rep. Bill O'Neill. He is a sharp attorney and O'Neill had to work like the dickens to keep the seat which runs from the North Valley up into the Northeast Heights. O'Neill won the Dem state senate primary for the Dede Feldman ABQ seat. He will be headed back to Santa Fe come January, but to the 42 member Senate, not the 70 member House. Saucedo faces Dem Emily Kane who showed a lot of spunk in winning her primary.

SENATE SLUMBER

The race for New Mexico's US Senate seat is stuck in a boring phase. It is all TV ads and no spontaneous comments or meaty appearances by the candidates themselves. The ads that are already up in force are coming from third party groups. The liberal web site Daily Kos has the update on Republican Heather Wilson and Dem Martin Heinrich:

The ad war in this race is really starting to heat up. American Crossroads is out with a new ad backing Republican ex-Rep. Heather Wilson, citing the usual purple state messaging claptrap (she's apparently an "independent voice for change" who "stood up to both parties to cut wasteful Washington spending and supported lower taxes to let New Mexicans keep more of their hard-earned money"). Size of the buy: $170K.

Meanwhile, the League of Conservation Voters is out with a new ad of their own, titled "Emma," which features a young blonde girl drinking water that Heather Wilson voted to poison with MTBE. (Well, not really, but she did vote for legislation that included provisions to shield polluters from MTBE-related lawsuits.) Politico's Morning Score reports that this is a $150K buy, but the LCV only filed a $90K expenditure report with the FEC. (They've also reported spending about $114K on a series of mail pieces against Wilson.)

Do you get the vibe that these ads are not making much of a difference? Maybe they tamp down Heather's high negatives a point or two? Polls should tell us soon. We have the Senate race here ranked "lean Dem."

NO GO

Heather says she won't go to the Republican National Convention this year, all part of the effort to position herself as an "independent voice."

This is the home of New Mexico politics.  

Thanks for stopping by this week. Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)
  
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