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Monday, June 11, 2012

Our Insider Report On Drama At Weekend GOP Meet, Plus: How The Early Primary Vote Stacked Up, And: First Analysis Of Wilson-Heinrich Match-Up 

Both of the state's major political parties were busy over the weekend picking delegates to their respective national political conventions to be held later this summer, but it was the Republicans who had some drama to go along with the usually routine chore of selecting representatives for the national confab. One of our Alligators--a tapped in GOP insider--comes with how the weekend drama featuring Governor Martinez unfolded when top R's met in convention at the ABQ Marriott Pyramid:

Joe, Here  is a report from the Republican Party of NM quadrennial convention where delegates were elected to go to the RNC convention. It was highly competitive since the delegation was cut to 20 delegates from the 29 that we sent in 2008 because NM went blue.

The results of the election were as follows in order of the most votes:

At-Large Delegates: Heather Wilson, Bernalillo, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, Bernalillo; Gov. Susana Martinez, Dona Ana  Jamie Estrada, Valencia; Don Tripp, Socorrp; David Harris, Bernalillo; Aaron Moskowitz*, Santa Fe; Debra Sanchez, Bernalillo; Ricky Morlen, Sandoval; Emily Ruch*;Santa Fe; Jon Barela, Bernalillo; Alternate At-Large Delegates include Chuck Franco, Dona Ana; Jerry Clark, Dona Ana*; Phil Archuletta, Torrance and Elaine Miller, Bernalillo

* indicates Ron Paul slate delegates. 

Now our insider correspondent comes with the news and anaysis of the meeting:

Susana Martinez ran a slate of “Romney” delegates to the convention, but the chatter quickly became that this was the “Jay McCleksey Slate." (Jay is the Guv's powerful chief political advisor). Ned Fuller (a former Jay client) was commanding the Romney table positioned to reach all delegates walking through the ballroom doors. We asked him how people ended up being put on the slate. He told us that the Romney campaign was given a full list and that the campaign then submitted 40  names to Susana for approval. She chose 20 names that appeared on the list.

Some people were offended.  Yellow slate sheets for Romney were scattered around the tables. Rowena Baca and Phil Archuleta, both longtime party people, were angry that they were purposely excluded from the slate.  This was a slap in the face to these Hispanic GOP stalwarts.

In the end, only 10 of the “Jay Slate” ended up being elected delegates. Seven others on that slate were alternates.  What does this say about Susana’s influence post-primary? Well, it says something that both (GOP US Senate candidate) Heather Wilson and Lt. Governor John Sanchez topped Governor Susana for votes. It also says something that First Gentleman Chuck Franco came in 12th, putting him in the inferior alternate delegate class.
 

Party people who were elected, but who were not on the “Jay Slate” were Jaime Estrada of Valencia County, Dona Ana GOP Chair Russell Allen and Otero GOP Chair Rocky Galasinni. Former State Senator Steve Komadina (A supporter of Allen Weh in the 2010 GOP primary) and Public Regulation Commission Chairman Pat Lyons were not on the "Jay slate" either, but were elected as alternate delegates.

The other big news was that Ron Paul delegates broke through at the convention. Six were elected delegates. Nine others were elected as alternate delegates. They too ran a slate.


BLOWING OFF JANICE

Our insider says it appears that newly minted ABQ GOP congressional candidate Janice Arnold-Jones was snubbed at the party gathering

Susana gave a canned speech that we’ve all heard before about her accomplishments...She made no mention of the other congressional candidates, most notably, Janice Arnold-Jones. Delegates noticed the passive aggressiveness. The perceptive ones like us noticed that since she was reading her remarks, it wasn’t like she forgot. This is no surprise since Jay has no love for Janice and a good guess is that Jay probably wrote the speech.

Geez, not to blow our own blog horn, but where else are you going to get this stuff? Thanks to our informed insider for bringing us all into the inner loop of the upper most reaches of the New Mexico GOP. 

The GOP National Convention will be held in Tampa August 27-30.

FORGIVING, NOT FORGETTING

Governor Martinez also played plenty of intra-party politics during last Tuesday's primary and now it's time for Susana to start paying the price for an operation run afoul. That would be her unsuccessful intervention in that contested GOP state Senate primary between Angie Spears--who she backed--and rancher Pat Woods--who her campaign operatives tried to beat silly. From the Clovis News Journal comes this commentary with the first round of spanking for the Guv and Jay:

The Martinez-Spears campaign featured facts twisted into political half-truths about Woods’ character. The governor and her hired gun, political lipster Jay McCleskey of Albuquerque, didn’t like that Woods dared to give some friends who were Democrats small campaign contributions...The Governor’s group conveniently never mentioned she blessed some Democrats she liked with a little cash. Did we mention east-siders bristle when they smell hypocrisy? Most of us...are skeptical that Santa Fe ever has our best interests at heart. Many believe we share far more common ground with our Texas Panhandle neighbors than New Mexicans living in or around Santa Fe, the ego-centric and liberal capital city that brands itself “The City Different.”

 We believe the governor’s interference cost Spears votes, perhaps even the election...If Gov. Martinez didn’t know us before, she surely got the message Tuesday night to let us decide who will represent us...Why Martinez put so much effort into knocking down Woods remains a mystery. Woods said he’s only met Martinez once, two years ago. He gave her a $500 campaign contribution at political gathering in Tucumcari, talked to her briefly and agreed with what she had to say.

That's the stuff you won't read about in the big city about the Governor and her political team's first major misfire, but word has a way of getting around, doesn't it?

THE DEM DEAL

NM Dems also had their session this weekend where they elected delegates to the Democratic National Convention to be held in Charlotte September 4-6. We'll post their first batch of delegates soon.

VOTING EARLY

So how much of the vote was cast early in the 2012 primary in Bernalillo County?

Absentee - 8,023 or 11% of all voters
Early - 25,859 or 35% of all voters
In-Person - 40,081 or 54% of all voters

That's 46% of the vote cast before the traditional Election Day.

Here's another sample of primary turnout from San Juan County:

The county's new voting convenience centers had little effect on local voter turnout in New Mexico's primary election Tuesday. The county had a nearly identical turnout Tuesday as compared to the 2008 primary election, with 12,336 voters Tuesday and 12,388 four years ago. There are about 54,000 county voters registered to the Republican or Democratic parties. Voter turnout was less than 23 percent Tuesday.

And let's take a look at statewide turnout  

Only seven counties had lower a voter turnout rate than Bernalillo County, where about 23 percent of Democratic and Republicans voters cast ballots. "To increase turnout you need two things. You need a great organization to get them out to vote but you need some voters who are excited about doing it. So the best organizations in the world can't pull the voters out unless the voters care about some particular race," Brian Sanderoff, an Albuquerque pollster, said.

"It seems like despite the fact that the congressional race in Albuquerque had good field operations, they identified their supporters, they went to their homes, they called them on the phone, the voters evidently were just not inspired enough to get out there and vote."Neighboring counties in the Albuquerque area _ Sandoval and Valencia counties _ also had low voter turnout at 22 percent.

But a good race still brings 'em out:

Turnout was 35 percent for Republicans in Curry County, where there was a hard-hitting state Senate race that featured two Republicans, including one backed by Gov. Susana Martinez. Only 16 percent of Curry County Democrats cast ballots, however. The Senate district also included Union County, which had 37 percent GOP turnout, and parts of Quay County, with 39 percent Republican turnout.


And one more turnout note:

Dona Ana County, the second largest in the state, had the lowest turnout at 15 percent. Harding County, the smallest in the state, had the best turnout at 56 percent.

WILSON VS. HEINRICH

From the National Journal:

There's something shocking about the new American Crossroads ad airing in New Mexico. It's not a hit on the newly-minted Democratic nominee, Rep. Martin Heinrich, but a positive bio-spot on GOP nominee Heather Wilson. The ad--released just two days after the primary election--sticks out because Crossroads normally functions as a GOP attack dog, running negative ads against Democratic candidates. Introductory ads or positive bio spots are left to the campaigns to do themselves. This is the first positive ad supporting a Republican candidate that the group has run this cycle... 

...Surveys show the president with a double digit lead in the state. The conservative group can't count on beating Heinrich by linking him to the president. A positive ad could also help lower Wilson's unfavorables....A late April poll conducted by Democratic pollster PPP poll showed Wilson with considerably higher unfavorables than Heinrich (45 percent to his 31 percent).

"This is a poker game we're playing here and this is a tell on the Wilson side, that they need to get those favorables up," said New Mexico political analyst Joe Monahan.

Monahan argued that the Republicans need to "reframe" Wilson's personality before they could go after Heinrich. He noted that Wilson has "been through a lot of negative campaigns."

The Crossroads ad, backed by a $260,000 buy, frames Wilson as someone who "has already worked to cut wasteful Washington spending," and "has an independent record of standing up to her own party."


In a first draft Thursday, we posted that that the new Crossroads ad would attack President Obama, not promote Heather Wilson.

GOING GREEN

Reader Rick Lass writes from Santa Fe:

Monday, June 11, at 10:30 AM, Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein will be at Barela's Coffee House, 1502 4th Street SW, for an informal meet and greet.

Thanks for that, Rick. If we are in the house, we'll stop by and say hi.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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