Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Primary Election 2012: We've Got The Team; Radio Coverage Starts at 6:30 PM, Plus: An E-Day Exclusive: Sen. Eichenberg Will Drop Out; Replacement Candidate To Be Named, And: Low Turnout; The Latest Numbers 

Sen. Ortiz y Pino
It's just about all over but the counting, and count we will. Tonight.

We're looking forward to an exciting primary Election Night and pleased to be able to bring you the very latest results and expert analysis from our traditional perch at KANW 89.1 FM in Albuquerque. The station is heard throughout ABQ and north central New Mexico. If you're outside the listening area, join us at the KANW web site where the program will be streamed.


This is our 24th consecutive year of broadcasting all New Mexico primary and general elections on KANW, and we've got some old hands and some new ones that will keep you the most informed as well as entertained.

John Wertheim
State Senator Jerry Oritz y Pino is an influential liberal lawmaker from Albuquerque. He has eyes on all the key state Senate primaries--both Dem and R--and will have his usual provocative insights into the state of La Politica and the meaning of the election.

Ortiz y Pino serves on the powerful state Senate Finance Committee. He is an accomplished opinion writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications.

John Wertheim is a former chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party and a veteran of our KANW round table. (He remembers well our all-nighter in 2000 when Bush and Gore battled it out).

John, an attorney form a New Mexico pioneer family, is known for his in-depth knowledge of all aspects of state politics and the ability to make it understandable. He twice sought (and won once) the ABQ Dem congressional nomination. With that race so prominent this year, his expertise will be especially valuable.

Bob Cornelius
Bob Cornelius, 32 is a new generation Republican who runs the political consulting firm 90 degrees. Bob is a native of Lea County and will be especially tuned in on that east side GOP State Senate primary between Angie Spears and Pat Woods that has drawn statewide interest.

He is a student of the Legislature and the history of the NM GOP who sought the GOP land commissioner nomination and has worked with former GOP Public Regulation Commissioner David King.

You already know about Bruce Donisthorpe, 52, a veteran GOP federal lobbyist and congressional and gubernatorial aide, who also is a polling expert. He conducted a key  survey for this site May 22 revealing that the ABQ Dem congressional race was a dead heat. Bruce will be back for his eighth year with us on the mighty KANW. If anyone can spot a trend in politics, it's Bruce. He'll be at your service all night on Election Night.

We're pleased to report that Lenton Malry, the first black state legislator in state history, a former Democratic Bernalillo County Commissioner and a stalwart of state politics, will be back with us. He was on the original KANW round table panel in 1988 and has been with us for every primary and general election since then. He will bring with him a 50 year perspective on government and politics--as well as early results from his SE ABQ neighborhood. Thanks for that, Lenton.

Our coverage will also be enhanced by Steve Cabiedes, whose precinct level expertise is unmatched and always comes in handy. Veteran Dem pollster Harry Pavlides will pinpoint geographic trends in the ABQ congressional race and there will be a large number of other contributors helping to make this coverage a reality.

As for me, I will anchor the coverage as I have for these many years at KANW and before that for other state media outlets, beginning in 1974. I'm prepared for anything--including one of those nights when they forget to order the pizza.


Thanks much to our sponsors of this year's radio coverage. They make it all possible:

 PNM, the Albuquerque Teacher's Federation, JD Bullington Government Relations, The Garrity Group (public relations) and the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP.


Ask who is going to win today's ABQ Dem congressional nomination and you are going to get some sharply divided opinions. We did on our KANW pre-game show Monday afternoon. Dem Jerry Ortiz y Pino gives Eric Griego "the edge." Former NM Dem Party Chairman John Wertheim says the same of Michelle Lujan Grisham and capitol newsman Rob Nikolewski says in a very low turnout election you have to "keep your eye on Marty Chavez." Tonight will tell the tale and it promises to be exciting--and a surprise to many--no matter who the winner.


ABQ Dem State Senator Tim Eichenberg drops an Election Day exclusive onto New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan. He says after today's primary in which he is running unopposed, he will withdraw from the race and let the Bernalillo County Democratic Party Central Committee name a replacement candidate.

Eichenberg will leave the Senate at the end of the year, saying pressing health concerns of his two brothers (one has cancer) and his elderly mother are the motivating factors. He said he notified the Senate leadership several months ago of his intentions and that a recent news article mentioning him in connection with an FBI inquiry into the offices of Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya had nothing to do with his decision to leave after one term.

"In 40 years of public service I have done nothing that merits an investigation by any law enforcement agency and that stands today.. I'm proud of that," declared Eichenberg who was elected Bernalillo County Treasurer back in '74 and to the Senate in 2008.

"Besides my wife, my mother is my best friend. She is 87 and needs my attention as do my two brothers. I am thankful to the people of the district for placing their trust in me. It has been a great experience and I hope I have made a difference for the better. I still plan to serve the community on the flood authority board, but my Senate career is at an end. I will not endorse any of the Democrats who are working to succeed me, but I wish them all the best..." He said.

Who will replace the moderate Eichenberg and then face off with Diane Snyder, the GOP senator who Eichenberg ousted four years ago and who will win the GOP nod tonight? There are at least four candidates lining up central committee support, including attorney and former state elections bureau chief Daniel Ivey Soto. Vanessa Alarid, a lobbyist who is a former executive director of the state Dems is also interested.

The district appears to lean Dem since Eichenberg took it. Snyder's negatives are high, but without an incumbent to run against, this does give her an opportunity.


The R's are having no official party for the primary tonight. There just isn't that much action, But ABQ GOP congressional candidate Janice Arnold-Jones will fill in the gap by hosting an Election Night bash. Says Janice's campaign:

Former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, is hosting an event for ALL Republican candidates to watch the Primary Election returns. Candidates, staff, volunteers and supporters of all Republican campaigns are welcome to join...The event will be held at the Crowne Plaza on University and Menaul starting at 6 PM in the Garden Room. The campaign has arranged for TVs and Internet access for candidates and campaign staff to check the results of their races. Food and drinks will be available. Candidates attending the event will be given a brief period of time to speak. Media will be present...Call her campaign office between between 9 AM and 1 PM Tuesday to RSVP.

Well, hopefully Janice will have a good time tonight as she secures the GOP congressional nomination because the general election is going to be anything but a party for her. The Cook Political Report, among other pundits, ranks the ABQ seat "likely Democrat."


Newman Milan Simonich comes with a piece on the impact of today's election on the 112 member state Legislature:

Widespread change is a sure bet in the New Mexico Legislature this year. No matter what happens in Tuesday’s primary election, at least 21 of the 112 legislative seats will change hands. Nine of 42 senators are leaving office of their own accord at year’s end. Twelve members of the House of Representatives also are giving up their seats, but six of them hope to remain in the Legislature as senators. In addition, one incumbent member of the House is sure to be ousted in Tuesday’s primary. That is because Reps. Bob Wooley and Dennis Kintigh of Roswell are matched against one another in the District 66 Republican primary.


Low voter turnout across the state. From Dona Ana County from KFOX-TV:

Only 3,504 people have cast their ballots through early voting out of around 110,000 registered voters. Primaries usually have a lower turnout than general elections but Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said this is even worse than usual. "These are especially low because there's nothing at the top of the ticket," Ellins said.

Here are the nearly final early voting numbers for Bernalillo County from Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver:

25,859 total early voters

Early Voters; 15,677 DEMS; 10,182 REPS

Absentee Numbers--Mailed out a Total of 9,282 Absentee Ballots. Of those, we've received 5,587 or 60%.

DEMS –Total Mailed: 5567; Returned: 3576 (64%)

REPS –Total Mailed: 3715; Returned: 2011 (54%)

We're headed for quite a low turnout in big Bernalillo. There are about 190,000 registered Dems eligible to vote.


It's little noticed but also on today's ballot is the presidential primary. Obama is unopposed and Romney has the nomination locked up. No other R's on the ballot are expected to win enough popular votes that would give them a delegate to the national GOP convention, but we'll watch out for it.

Romney did not make it to New Mexico for a pro forma visit and that has the Obama campaign coming with this:

There will be a press conference today at the airport. To our knowledge, it’s the first time a GOP presidential candidate has skipped over a visit to New Mexico. Romney has instead decided to spend the day at a fundraiser in Texas.


In our first draft Monday we posted that state House candidate Billy Moore is a Native American. He is not...We also had the first name of Maxine Velasquez wrong and we said that former east side state Senator Johnny Morrow was a Republican. He was a Democrat. And we're informed that former State Rep. Robert Aragon, who has been an ardent backer of Gov. Martinez and who we identified as a Dem, is now a Republican....

That's it for now. See you tonight on KANW 89.1 FM for New Mexico's best election coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. or at KANW.COM for the live stream.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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