Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On the 2012 Trail With Sanchez & Sanchez In Valencia, Plus: The ABQ Jobs Bleed Goes On...And On, Also: Janice Vs. Michelle; We've Got The Latest & The Analysis 

Sanchez & Sanchez
Here's Sanchez and Sanchez. No, it's not a law firm, although Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez is an attorney--it's two old friends preparing for intense combat as the battle for the New Mexico Legislature begins in earnest.

Leader Sanchez is on the left and pictured with Dem State Senate candidate Clemente "Landslide" Sanchez. The pair were attending Michael Sanchez's recent Belen rally sponsored by public safety workers--including ABQ area fire fighters.

Activity has already been spotted in Michael Sanchez's mostly Valencia County district. Robocalls and hit literature criticizing him have already flowed into the district in what is going to be an expensive campaign to try to oust Sanchez and force a major change in Senate leadership. But it's a long shot. GOP State Rep. David Chavez is the challenger who announced his retirement from the state House saying it was detracting from his law business, only to turn around and accept Susana's invitation for him to challenge Michael Sanchez. This could be one of most expensive legislative races in the state this cycle--if not the most expensive.

We joked on the blog that we had instituted a "Great Chicharrone Fast" because of an emergency procedure he underwent to prevent a heart attack. When he was out of danger we lifted the fast and gobbled down some in his honor. But Sanchez says he isn't celebrating with chicharrones. "It's bean and rice for me," he declared as he greeted well-wishers at his rally. 

In 2008, Clemente Sanchez lost a Dem state Senate primary to David Ulibarri  by less than ten votes, but he came back in this year's June primary to win the Senate primary---by less than ten votes--thus our nickname for him of "Landslide." Ulibarri finished in the back of the pack in that multicandidate field and will leave the Senate after one term.

And Clemente may not shed his nickname this November if the Republicans have their way. They have fielded Vickie Perea for the seat, a veteran politico who knows how to campaign and raise money. The district covers Cibola, Valencia and Socorro counties. Valencia is a new addition to the district and because Vickie is a native there, the R's think they have a shot in the Dem performing district. Clemente will be counting on help from Majority Leader Sanchez there and in turn Sanchez will be counting on his namesake for help in the Senate chamber--that is if voters give both of them tickets to the Roundhouse come November 6.


No one at City Hall talks about it, the press doesn't ask questions about it, yet the slow bleed of jobs that is changing the face of this city goes on and on. The latest:

The Albuquerque metropolitan area lost 1,900 jobs over the 12 months that ended July 30, for a job growth rate of negative 0.5 percent, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions said. It was the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year job losses for the area, which had posted five months of slight gains in 2011. The area’s unemployment rate for July was 7 percent, unchanged from June’s rate. The metro area’s private sector produced a net gain of 200 jobs during the period, for a flat growth rate, the Workforce Solutions Department’s expanded monthly report on the state’s economy said.

ABQ Mayor Berry throws his arms up in the air and blames it all on Washington. But where is the local effort? We hear little. The mayoral election is about a year away.


Maybe the mayor and his political adviser Jay McCleskey simply think the jobs issue will take care of itself, that the national economy will kick into gear and that the city will return to the glory days of the Bull Market. Don't count on it.

BBER forecasts that the state and Albuquerque economies will grow but at  historically slow rates. State employment should grow 0.7 percent this  year, 1.2 percent next year, 1.3 percent in 2014 and 1.6 percent in  2015, Reynis said. Albuquerque job growth should be 0.2 percent this  year, 1.3 percent in 2013 and 2014 and 1.7 percent in 2015.

Some organized long-term planning and thinking about this city's economic prospects are long over-due, but the politicians we have seem to think that by not talking about it, they won't be blamed for things going awry. There is a mayoral election next year. Maybe we will finally get some real discussion on the city's top issue?


You had to wonder when Dem US Senate candidate Martin Heinrich would finally take a bite out of Republican foe Heather Wilson. Well, after months of being hammered on TV by Heather and third party groups, Heinrich's campaign has responded with this hit on Heather.

He basically throws the kitchen sink at her, saying she voted for tax breaks for the "Wall Street banks" and then "voted to bail them out." Heinrich also slams Wilson for voting for a plan "that would lead to cuts to Social Security and Medicare"

It's not as if Wilson hasn't been getting slammed on the tube. It's just that up to this point it has been third party groups in support of Heinrich who have been doing the hammering. This is the first negative TV we've seen on Wilson that come directly from Heinrich's camp.

An interesting note about this ad: It says "Heather Wilson has been in Washington a long time," implying she is still there. She isn't. Wilson served ten years in the US House from ABQ but she is not a current congresswoman. She finished her term at the end of 2008.

Heinrich was elected to the ABQ US House seat in 2008. But no one is bragging about their service there, not with the polls showing voter disapproval for Congress at record lows.

The Heinrich hit should be expected.. Although Heinrich has a healthy lead in all the polls--he has a 7 point lead in the RCP average--Wilson has upped her TV budget as she tries to get this race tightened up in September. It may be her last chance to do so. She will also continue to have plenty of money pouring in from those Super PACs to help her get the job done. Heinrich will use his new ad and presumably others to try to block any September momentum for Wilson.


Janice & Michelle
The Janice Arnold-Jones-Michelle Lujan Grisham face-off has been a dud. Not one joint appearance by them since they were nominated in June and not a single news story contrasting their views. And the TV debates that we previously blogged about will come late in the game. Well, maybe not all that late. Grisham's campaign tells us that public station KNME-TV will sponsor a debate at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9; KOB-TV has one at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 18 and KOAT-TV has a Sunday 4 p.m. debate on Oct. 21

Janice's best shot to shake things up comes Oct. 18th on the KOB face-off. It is in prime time, voters will be paying attention and it comes only two days before early voting begins October 20 when swarms of voters will cast early ballots.

There are also four joint appearances in September scheduled between the pair--none televised. The Sunday, Sept. 9 Congregation Albert debate is another opportunity for Arnold-Jones to make something happen. It is a traditional venue that gets good media coverage.

So the candidates will appear together a total of seven times. But that's a lot less than back in the day when the candidates were sought after by many more public groups.

No public polling on the race has been released. Internal polling by both camps, according to our insiders, shows Michelle ahead. The seat is ranked "likely Dem" by the pundits.

Arnold-Jones is being urged by the Alligators to make the break from the radical right of her party and to position herself in the center in the somewhat centrist district. She did veer away from VP contender Paul Ryan's budget, saying it would be "frightening" for the funding prospects of the national labs, but she then tried to walk back the statement.

We mentioned on the blog yesterday the opposition that Arnold-Jones faces from the ruling faction of her own party--including 2008 ABQ GOP congressional nominee Darren White, now the general manager of the Downs at ABQ. He continues to chide Janice via his Twitter account, most recently praising Grisham's decision to resign from the Bernalillo County Commission. He wrote:

Smart move on MLG's part. Good press coverage in a race that hasn't had much.

That White continues to dig at Janice reveals the deep personal animosity that is a hallmark of their relationship but as her party's official nominee one would think that the R's would attempt to stifle White's public swipes. But then he is a member of the faction that controls the party while the opposition cowers.

Arnold-Jones' handlers, say our analysts, must treat her candidacy as a long shot and emphasize her moderate credentials. That may have made her many enemies in today's GOP, but it gives her appeal to Dems and independents. Arnold-Jones insiders fret that any move away from the party could jeopardize her fund-raising, but her blood supply has already been cut off. It's hard to see how the radical right and the Guv's political machine could do any more damage to the ABQ native.


Former NM GOP Chairman John Lattauzio emails from his home in Utah memories of Democratic State Senate powerhouse Aubrey Dunn who served for 15 years, until 1980, and died of cancer at the age of 84 last week at his Texas home:

Joe, My memories of Aubrey Dunn go back 50 years. His political history is legendary in Otero County. He and I were next-door neighbors for 15 years. As chairman of Senate Finance, he wielded enormous political power. At a breakfast meeting in Santa Fe, he and I sat with an aide and a large stack of bills. Aubrey signed bill after bill over the course of our meal. All bills sent to his committee required his signature before going to the governor. I must mention the dynamics of the Senate at that time. Senator John Conway, now federal district judge, served as senate minority leader. There were eight Republican senators at the time, and Aubrey counted on their support. When I asked John what we got for that support, meaning we Republicans, he replied, “good government.” New Mexico will long remember Aubrey Dunn.  

A funeral for Aubrey Dunn is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 1 at the Cuba Avenue Church of Christ in Alamogordo. The family is asking that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Portales Children's Home.

Can we squeeze in yet another reminiscence of the late NM Dem US Senator Joe Montoya who we blogged about recently, sending a little flood of email to us over "Little Joe" who served in the Senate for two terms ending in 1976. Here's Greg Stricklin of ABQ:

As a young boy of 12  I remember meeting Senator Montoya. His campaign was holding a rally at a park in the Ridgecrest area of Albuquerque around 1970. The rally had advertised free hot dogs so my mom and dad sent me to get some and bring them back home. 

When I got to the park I went straight for the hot dogs. I come from a family of seven and soon realized that I had not brought anything to carry the hot dogs with. I was old enough to know it was probably not right to take so many but young enough to not worry much about the consequences. I quietly stuffed about a dozen or so hot dogs inside my shirt. My shirt was so full that I needed one arm to hold the hot dogs in to keep them from falling out. 

As I was leaving the park thinking I had gotten away unnoticed, I ran straight into Senator Montoya. I could see from the grin and smirk on his face that he knew what I was up to. With a big smile he simply reached out his hand to shake my free hand and politely asked me to ask my parents to vote for him. I will always remember him as a kind and gentle man.....
We blogged of the Romney visit last week that it was a four hour drive from ABQ to Hobbs. It's more like five or more, say several readers who take the trip. But then it depends on who is behind the wheel. Hobbs is about 320 miles from ABQ.

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