Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Martinez & McCleskey Go For Early Kill In Race Against Senate Leader Sanchez, Plus: More Legislative Campaign Action, And: Heather's Hunt For Heinrich; Still Time? 

Martinez & Rep. Chavez
We're on the 2012 campaign trail for you and here's what's happening....

Governor Martinez is playing for an early knock out of Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. Already a half dozen or more attack pieces against the powerful lawmaker have flooded into mailboxes in the Valencia County district. They score Sanchez for being the cause of gridlock in Santa Fe. Among the hits against the leader is that old reliable--his stance against repealing driver's licenses for undocumented workers (he has advocated for a compromise measure).

The mail, along with late night "push polls" designed to irritate voters, is being financed primarily by Reform NM Now PAC--the committee that has been financed mainly through oil money and is run by Martinez political svengali Jay McCleskey.

The voters are making their minds up sooner in the cycle so Martinez and McCleskey are going all in early, but Sanchez has some fire power of his own. His Republican opponent is freshman State Rep. David Chavez who has much political baggage--including his controversial statement that he wanted out of the Legislature because it was interfering with the profitability of his law firm as well as domestic problems with his ex-wife that have received widespread attention (Chavez says his ex has retracted damaging allegations of abuse).

Both Sanchez and Chavez are trial attorneys. Chavez's father was the legendary Democratic lawmaker Tibo Chavez. His son inherited the political gene--but not the Democratic one. Valencia County has been skewing R in recent cycles, with signs that it could return more to the Dem fold this year.

Knocking off Sanchez would be a major coup for Martinez, but not knocking him off after all these hits presents a major risk. McCleskey is under the gun now to oust Sanchez because of all the PAC money he is spending--money that his critics see being used more wisely in more winnable legislative races.

Martinez and McCleskey are coming off a major loss after they went all in in against fellow Republican Pat Woods who beat Angie Spears in a hot Clovis primary in June. They will pay a political price in Santa Fe for that loss. And if they fail again, Sanchez will be back running the Senate in January and not in a frame of mind to give Susana even the time of day. Don't say we didn't tell you.


Sanchez and Friend
And if you can't fall asleep at night and are tired of counting sheep, there is this question to ponder: Who would replace Michael Sanchez as State Senate Majority Leader if he were upset at the polls? There's enough machinations to that one to keep the politicians--and the mathematicians--busy for hours...

You don't suppose Sanchez's replacement would be--in the words of Martinez Chief of Staff Keith Gardner--"that motherfucker" Tim Jennings, do you? Speaking of which....

Word also comes to us from the campaign trail that Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings is also under fire. Push polling against the Roswell Dem has popped up in his district. He is running against 26 year old Republican Cliff Pirtle. Jennings is favored but the PAC money coming against him will keep him fully engaged....


In the Corrales and Westside of ABQ, Dem State Senator John Sapien is thought to have the edge in his battle for re-election. He faces GOP State Rep, David Doyle who is giving up his House seat to take on Sapien, But Doyle--like Chavez in Valencia--is another GOP candidate with a lot of baggage. As for Sapien, a Bernalillo insurance man, he was challenged in the Dem primary by former State Rep. Ben Rodefer, but now Rodefer is doing some lifting for John:

...John stood up earlier this year to big out-of-state corporations, demanding that they pay the same as our local NM businesses in taxes, trying to rectify a loophole that has placed NM businesses at a disadvantage. I know that John Sapien will listen to our community's concerns and stand up for all the hardworking people of our District 9. John’s opponent--big developer David Doyle--is being heavily funded by Jay McClesky, Join me in sending John Sapien back to Santa Fe to improve our schools, strengthen our small businesses, and insure that the voices of everyday people like us are heard.

In another hot Senate race out on the ABQ Westside, we do not have any polling yet on the John Ryan-Joe Carraro match-up. Carraro, a former GOP Senator, is running this time as an independent against Ryan who is seeking a third term. The new district has a lot of the territory Carraro used to represent, but Ryan can count on Susana and Jay to come with the PAC money. Carraro has to live off the land to get his campaign message out.


A personal revelation from Janice Arnold-Jones is sure to grab some attention .The ABQ congressional candidate, running behind Dem challenger Michelle Lujan Grisham, says in her latest TV spot that her brother--Richard Arnold--died of AIDS in 1990 at the age of 40. She tells the TV audience:

...That loss became a vow I made it myself to help people who need access to quality health care, so families have doctors they trust...and seniors know their Social Security and Medicare are protected...Just like the vow I made to myself, we made a sacred promise as a country....

This spot looks the Social Security and Medicare gremlin right in the eye. Rs are getting killed by fear that the programs are under attack from the radical Republican right. This spot separates Janice from that wing of her party. On the other hand, critics will say she still needs to rally Republicans to her side and this spot does not get the job done.

Still, Arnold-Jones is getting the message--to win this congressional seat she is going to have to position herself not only as a Republican--but as an independent. This is her best effort to date.

As for Michelle, she is holding polling leads of anywhere from five to twelve points and has been in no rush to put up TV, but it will come soon.


In the race for the open US Senate seat, Dem Martin Heinrich has been enjoying a comfortable lead in all the polls, but Republican challenger Heather Wilson is tough and has been known to close fast and furious. We sense that Heinrich is at a short-term polling peak and that this race could see some tightening in the days head. Maybe that's why Heinrich is keeping the pressure up with a a new negative TV ad. In it he lands a punch to Heather's jaw over what he says is her support of a plan to cut Medicare.

Heinrich is heavily favored now to take the seat, but Wilson has the ability to shake him up and if she lives up to her reputation she will do that at least once. Her latest TV ad where she shows her Social Security card and promises to protect the program is the kind of move toward the reassuring center that she needs to make. How much it will help in this Dem trending state is the question.

And right on cue, Heather has come with a campaign poll that shows her trailing Heinrich by five points, not the seven that the ABQ Journal pegged her at earlier this month. She says she trails Heinrich 46% to 41%. The Journal had Heinrich at 49%, while other surveys have had him over the magic 50. But the bad news for Heather is that even in her own poll she is stuck in the low 40's--just as she has been in all polls all year long.

Wilson's spin goes like this:

Wilson, who has a long history of come-from-behind victories, has been steadily climbing her way back in the last few weeks. Wilson trailed Heinrich by 10 points in mid-August, according to internal polls. However, just last week, an Albuquerque Journal poll showed Wilson down by 7.  And now, just one week later, a new poll by Public Opinion Strategies shows Wilson down by just 5 points, barely outside the poll's 4.38% margin of error. 


The ABQ Journal has been taking somewhat of a pounding in segments of the state's political community over its poll earlier this month that showed Obama leading Romney 45-40 and Gary Johnson getting 7 percent. Other polls don't confirm that spread thus raising the prospect that the Journal survey may be an "outlier." Taking it further, this Dem activist thinks the paper jumped the gun on the poll's timing: 

It is interesting if not predictable that the Journal timed their most recent NM poll to be taken after 5 days of publicity for Governor Martinez and her Republican convention speech, starting Sept. 3, and ending before (Sept. 6) when  President Obama spoke or got any post-convention bump from his speech. This explains Martinez's polling bump and the narrower margin for Obama. A more recent PPP poll has Obama up in NM by 11 points--allowing respondents to absorb what was put forth in both arenas. You would think that the state's self-proclaimed  "largest newspaper" would want to create a balance and  poll after both parties have made their case.  But maybe not....


A reader writes of the Monday blog:

Regarding the question as to why Susana is not out on the campaign trail for Heather Wilson, Janice Arnold-Jones and other Republican candidates. Could it be that they have seen the dark side of the Susana Martinez administration and don't want to have anything to do with her? Remember Heather headed up her transition team. Susana's so called popularity has not proven too big a advantage when it comes to campaigning on ones behalf. 

If anyone has questions as to what it is like inside the Martinez administration, just set aside 73 minutes and listen to the Keith Gardner recording. (The tape is posted here.) Everyone can argue if the recording was right or wrong the fact is, it does expose the administration for what it is, a mean, vindictive and arrogant bunch of self serving political hacks. 


And now we know how the union-backed Independent Source PAC got all those emails that have been so embarrassing to the Martinez administration. Some of them even forced GOP national committeeman Pat Rogers to resign from the Modrall law firm.

ISPAC says there was nothing illegal bout how they got the emails of emailgate--contrary to the assertions of Susana and company-- and after reading how ISPAC gained access to the damaging missives you will want to make sure you've made your payment to your Internet provider:
ISPAC can now state publicly how our source obtained those emails. The source purchased the domain, Susana2010.com, after Jay McCleskey, Governor Martinez, Keith Gardner, Ryan Cangiolosi, and others failed to renew the domain registration. As a result, our source purchased the domain and all its related content through a domain auction. Yep, it was that easy.

Administration officials continued using their Susana2010.com emails, despite the change in ownership of the domain. Therefore, all email communications sent through Susana2010.com or sitting on the server for Susana2010.com became the legal property of our source.

No emails were “intercepted” either.  All emails reached their intended destinations to Gardner, Cangiolosi, and Susana Martinez. The emails we received were simply copied by our source from a Susana2010.com email account. The governor and her associates regained ownership of the domain on 6/19/2012, only after learning that they no longer owned the domain or its contents through ISPAC’s release of the emails. Embarrassing? Oh yes.  The governor of Puerto Rico also forgot to renew his domain.  His opponents then purchased the domain and converted his website into a campaign against him.

All of the administration's talk about going to the FBI over emailgate would seem to be kaput after this disclosure. Really, Jay, how did you let this one get by? 

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