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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Campaign Action: Senate Race Marches On & Romney In Hobbs Today, Plus: More On The Downs Deal  

Maybe he'll unleash the dogs of war on Heather before it's all over, but not now. Still nursing a small but healthy lead in the public opinion polls, Dem US Senate candidate Martin Heinrich will finish the month of August with some Democratic boilerplate. His latest TV ad:

..Martin’s running for the US Senate to look out for the middle class. Cut taxes for families and small businesses.  And make big corporations and millionaires pay their fair share.  To protect seniors relying on Social Security and Medicare. Veterans by giving them the benefits they’ve earned. And kids by making college more affordable. Martin Heinrich: New Mexico values, our priorities.

Not to be a wiseguy but we needed an extra shot of Starbucks to jolt us awake after seeing that one. But laid back and steady hasn't hurt him...so far.

Third party out-of-state groups continue to put Heinrich through the meat grinder with regular negative TV hits. The latest one attacks the ABQ Dem congressman for wasteful spending and warns of the debt time bomb. That theme has not worked all summer, so why will it now?

Still, we sense that Heinrich rival Heather Wilson knows that her campaign propaganda that the race is a "dead heat"is a palliative for the politically unwashed and not to be the guiding light of her strategy. Her turn against the Ryan budget as detailed on Wednesday's blog is a sure sign of that.

Heinrich is doing what a front-runner should do. Wilson needs to fully embrace the role of underdog and start showing us what she's got. She knows how to fight from behind. Witness that epic ABQ congressional battle of 2006 when she narrowly beat Dem Patricia Madrid.

DEM FUN

Leave it to the Dems to rain on Mitt Romney's New Mexico parade today--or at least try. They point out that the GOP presidential nominee is having a public event at a business in Hobbs in Lea County that was the recipient of Obama stimulus money. From Dem headquarters:

Watson Truck And Supply Of Hobbs, New Mexico Was Reimbursed $50,500 For 13 Transactions Through The Obama Administration’s Car Allowance Rebate System. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Watson Truck And Supply Inc. of 1501 North Grimes in Hobbs, NM was reimbursed $50,500 for 13 transactions through the Obama Administration’s Car Allowance Rebate System. [NHSTA Car Allowance Rebate System Database, Accessed 8/22/12] 

Romney and the various committees supporting him will be getting some stimulus of their own while in oil rich Hobbs. His high-dollar fund-raiser will see some of the local oil barons giving donations of $50,000 or more.

THE NEW MEXICO VOTE


Mitt is going to blow the doors off in Lea County on election night. It's one of the R's banner areas, but Romney getting 38% of the Hispanic vote statewide here is an entirely different matter. But that's what he says he wants to do:

..Romney's campaign has set a precise target for the share of the Hispanic vote it needs to win to defeat President Obama: 38 percent. That's a significant step up from the 31 percent of the Latino vote won by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whom Obama thumped while winning a number of key states where Hispanic voters are an important constituency, including Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico.  Obama led Romney 67 to 23 percent with Latino voters in a poll conducted in late July poll by NBC News, The Wall Street Journal and Telemundo.

President Bush is said to have hit the 40% mark with Hispanic voters in the 2004 NM president race, although some dispute those exit poll numbers.  

STATE OF THE STATE

The crystal ball gazers in Santa Fe say that when lawmakers get together in January of 2013, the state cupboard won't be too bare. Martinez administration forecasters  told the Legislative Finance Committee they see the state generating about $272 million that could be used for budget increases for the budget year that begins July 2013. That's up some from an earlier estimate as oil prices remain strong and natural gas prices low, but stabilized. Still, nearly $75 million will be gobbled up for higher public employee pension payments required by the state and the Medicaid budget will likely need a boost. There will be another estimate on state revenue before the sixty day session starts. With federal budget cuts threatened and the economy still shaky, there is still plenty of uncertainty to keep Santa Fe edgy.

THE DOWNS DEAL

The down and dirty and politically dangerous ABQ Downs deal resurfaces with an in-depth recounting in this news piece that discusses allegations that the 25 year old racino lease awarded to the Downs at ABQ was a wire job:

...Details of a fast-tracked deal have emerged. In June, (State Fair Commissioner) Rode submitted a formal complaint to State Auditor Hector Balderas, who says he’s planning to deliver a response soon. Earlier this month, state Attorney General’s Office Special Agent Stan Gloria informed the State Fair Commission that the AG’s office was “conducting an inquiry” into the RFP process and requested interviews with six commissioners. Rode also says she’s met with the FBI, which wouldn’t confirm or deny an investigation.

ASTUTE REPORTER WANTED

One of our Alligators writes of Governor Martinez's speech next week to the GOP national convention and the party's platform plank on abortion:

Given the Akin scandal, I wonder how Susana feels about the subject? Does she agree with the GOP platform that has denied abortion in the case of rape? As a woman and a governor, when they trot her out to speak at the convention, will she be comfortable speaking before the convention and the medieval platform committee given their Draconian stance on the issue?  Or does she support that position? You would think some astute reporter would ask these questions when her office trumpets her convention speaking spot.....

GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson and ABQ GOP congressional candidate have said Congressman Akin of Missouri needs to withdraw from the US Senate race there because of his controversial comments about rape. Governor Martinez has not yet been heard from on that matter.

SURVIVING THE NEW

Dems who didn' think he was liberal enough came after Dem State Senator Phil Griego in the June primary. He won that battle, but now has to run against conservative Republican Aubrey Dunn, Jr. in the sprawling district that includes a large swath of the north but also extends all the way down to Lincoln County. That probably explains why Phil is happy to get this conservative tip of the hat:

The New Mexico senator whose district now includes much of Lincoln County has been honored by a coalition that supports economic development and job creation. The National Coalition for Capital (NCFC) bestowed a Champion of Small Business award on Sen. Phil Griego...Griego was one of 34 legislators from across the country who received awards at the meeting. The coalition pointed to Griego's recent effort in support of a program (that) makes low-interest loans available which are solely dedicated to New Mexico businesses.

Dunn has a storied New Mexico political name and probably the cash to give Griego a strong challenge, but the voting performance of the district tilts Dem.

RESTAURANT ROW

Yes, to De La Vega's Pecan Grill in Las Cruces. Decent steaks, a pretty sophisticated wine list for you vino lovers and competent service....No, to the Nob Hill Bar and Grill. The used-to-be-cool outpost on ABQ's Nob Hill has lost its way. It's too cool. Not the food--which retains its trademark flair--it's the newly installed ceiling fans that chill the place so much that your regular coffee could turn to the iced stuff. And service is unpredictable when not too slow. A couple of fixes and they can bring it back...

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2012
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