Thursday, September 06, 2012

Lagging Candidates Hope For Break In Sunday's Polling, Plus: Emailgate & Keith; Martinez Dragged Into Fray, Also: Some UNM News And A Ho-Hum Heinrich Seems Good Enough  

The New Mexico marketplace is flooded with polls these days, nothing like over 20 years ago when the ABQ Journal first began campaign polling. Back then they were the only game in town and while today there are many other polls conducted here, the first general election survey from Brian Sanderoff of Research and Polling to be published in this Sunday's Journal is still highly anticipated.

Candidates who have their heads under water (hello, Heather) are hoping for something different to breathe fresh life into their campaigns. The front-runners look to Sanderoff to confirm the numerous other surveys that have been taken over the summer. In an effort to influence his numbers candidates have been known to time their TV buys with the dates Sanderoff is thought to be making his calls.

Because he has a highly accurate list of likely voters and historic knowledge of the state's politics, Sanderoff knows how to weight his responses, separating him from the pack. Still, it is rare for the Journal's surveys to differ dramatically from the others anymore. The polling field is getting more advanced with each passing election cycle, but that won't stop those trailing candidates from hoping against hope for a homegrown polling bounce when they pick up the Sunday fish wrapper..


Governor Martinez Chief of Staff Keith Gardner was caught in an audio recording released this week saying that he never uses his state email account because "...that's all discoverable. That's why I never email on my state email...anything that can come back and bite my ass."

Well, could Keith's ass still suffer bite marks for using private email to conduct state business? We asked one of our Legal Beagles for his take:

It seems to me that if someone were to postulate and prove in a lawsuit that it was the pattern and practice for an individual or group of individuals to, more than not, use their private emails to conduct business, then those emails should be viewed as the individuals' business emails. It is not that the business communications never occurred, simply because they occurred via a private email address instead of a business (or officially sanctioned government) email address.  The bottom line is that when we consult and/or advise clients on appropriate email usage (whether for the business or personal setting), we tell them: "if you are okay with what you just typed showing up in a public forum or as a piece of evidence in a case, go ahead and hit send."  I suppose it is the modern day equivalent of "would you say that if your mother was here?" 


Martinez & Gardner
The Gardner tape was released by attorney Sam Bregman, a possible 2014 Dem Guv candidate. If his goal is to get Martinez talking about him, he's succeeding. For the first time Wednesday she addressed emailgate questions at a news conference. The full video is here and here are some excerpts:

That (the release of the tape) is so low. It was strictly political. He gave 25 seconds of an hour and ten minutes because he did not want the press putting it in context. I think New Mexicans clearly understand what his strategy is...that is to move up the political ladder...and he can run for office all he wants. He's lost the last five elections...Fine. He can do it, but not on the backs of two young girls who are survivors who sexual assault. That is wrong. (Gardner) did not do anything wrong. He was a father sitting down with a friend talking about sexual assault of two relatives. How in the world could it be wrong they are comforting each other...

Martinez stood for questions for over three and half minutes on the matter, appearing angry and annoyed and looking like the prosecutor of old. Her comment about Bregman losing "the last five elections" was an example of her frustration. Bregman has a number of political losses, but not five in a row.

Say what you will and whether he has a case or not, Bregman is the first Democrat to get a rise out of Martinez and to take the terms of the debate away from the Fourth Floor (and Fifth).

Martinez dismissed all other aspects of emailgate as "political." But this was no longer a Governor who was able to relegate emailgate to staff. She had to directly join the debate, or at least thought she did. Bregman got what he wanted.


A reader writes of the statement from Gov. Martinez Chief of Staff Keith Gardner that he does not use a state email account out of fear of going to jail:

I use private email because I don't want to do anything illegal? What fun!


A reader writes of our coverage of the poor jobs situation in ABQ and New Mexico:

You mentioned the Governor and Mayor Berry as being responsible for creating jobs in New Mexico.  What about the secretary of the State Economic Development Department, Jon Barela?  He is responsible for job creation statewide.  He has a staff and a robust paycheck. 

For sure and Barela has got to be feeling some heat about now.


Despite numerous tuition increases in recent years the cost of attending UNM is low by comparison to other states, but we pay our professors a lot less than other schools:

Out of the 50 states, New Mexico is ranked in the bottom 10 for average full-time professor salary and six-year graduation rate, but in the top 10 for lowest full-time student tuition and fees. According to the almanac, New Mexico is ranked 42nd for full-time professor salary, 45th for six-year graduation rates and 7th for student tuition and fee costs. To see the full report, go to


The new Prez at UNM is looking for ideas to revive our dead-in-the-water economy:

If you’ve got ideas on how the University of New Mexico can foster economic development in the Albuquerque area, UNM President Bob Frank wants to hear from you. Frank and UNM will host an economic development summit Friday, Sept. 21 on the UNM campus. Frank is looking for ideas that can be discussed during the daylong conference...

We can't make that conference, but our laundry list for UNM has been voiced here before,

---Build a dental school UNM to fill a vital gap in state healthcare and provide professional employment opportunities for young New Mexicans

---Clean house at the long-troubled UNM Athletic Department. Doing so will restore public confidence and help with fund-raising

---Make over the top administration of the University and bring in your own team. Again, a move to restore confidence in UNM which hovers at record lows after years of political gamesmanship...

Many more, but that's a start.


Another day and another TV ad from US Senate front-runner Martin Heinrich. With a healthy lead in the polls (about 7 points) the Dem contender is not being forced by GOP hopeful Heather Wilson into taking any chances. His latest TV ad consisting of general platitudes about the middle class and such continues the low-risk strategy of the ABQ congressman. The ad:

Traveling around New Mexico I talk with middle class families who are struggling to get by. A lot of Washington politicians just don’t get it. They have the wrong priorities. In New Mexico we know what’s important. Putting Main Street ahead of Wall Street. Educating our kids and keeping college affordable. And honoring our promises to our veterans. I will always put New Mexico first. I’m Martin Heinrich and I approve this message because the New Mexico I know is worth fighting for.

Left to his own devices, Heinrich is already a low-key guy. With this polling lead, he's about as exciting to watch as a possum hanging from a tree--and that's just the way he likes it.


And here we go again with a candidate losing their grip and still not willing to throw the dice to get back in the action. It's Heather Wilson riding the fence on the "Dream Act.":

Wilson would not take a definitive position on the Dream Act, which would allow children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to become citizens when they graduate from high school or enroll in the military. But she sounded sympathetic to their plight and suggested that some accommodation should be made for them. 

Heather needs some game changes to kick start her campaign. She is not going to find them in the GOP platform.


Former ABQ Journal columnist Jim Belshaw picks up on an editing error on the Wednesday blog and writes:

Joe wrote: National Republican Senatorial Committee is not going to go gun-ho with TV ads for Heather. I'm delighted to hear the NRSC won't be shooting her. But I think you're looking for "gung-ho."
Yes, Jim, that's what we're looking for. Shooting Heather would be bad for the blog ratings.


Reader Deryle Perryman writes of our lead photo on the Wednesday blog:

If those lovely, and happy New Mexican ladies are in fact, Democrats, why are they wearing those atrocious Republican hats? C'mon ladies, paparrazi are everywhere.

Hmm....If in fact they are "Republican hats, maybe they can have donkeys stitched on the hats. Or maybe they were on a budget and got the leftovers from the GOP confab in Tampa.

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