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Friday, September 28, 2012

So Long September: The Month Mitt Rode Away, Plus: More End Of The Week Clippings From Our Newsroom Floor 

We leave September to the history books and next week take Campaign '12 into October. But before we depart we give you this cartoon which sums up the major state political development of the month--the decision by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to pull staff out of here and essentially abandon any hope of taking our state's five electoral votes. That in turn will make it increasingly difficult for GOP US Senate candidate Heather Wilson to pull off an upset and beat Dem contender Martin Heinrich. In the cartoon she is shown pining for Mitt to "come back." But Mitt is long gone and with him New Mexico's status as a possible battleground state.

And let's take a lesson from this. Republican Governor Martinez, according to the Journal poll earlier this month, has an approval rating of 69% yet Romney is finished here. Her popularity was not transferable in Clovis in that GOP state Senate primary when she backed the wrong horse and it's not transferable to Romney.

Another lesson--at it's core New Mexico remains a Democratic state in which GOP candidates who hope to get elected statewide must move toward the center of the political spectrum or at a minimum stay mostly out of the right-wing weeds as Martinez has done.

NOT HAPPY

But before the Obama folks start gloating too much over Mitt's ride out of town, here's a look at a bumper sticker making the rounds that leaves little question that there is still much emotional opposition to the Prez. And as we get into October expect the emotion to get only stronger and rawer.

GOP SPENDING PARTY

The Repubs tout themselves as the party of fiscal discipline so what's the first thing they do after getting a majority on the Bernalillo County Commission for the first time in some 40 years? Well, they do what all politicians do--they started the spending party. Reader Bonita Lopez is among the first to take them to task:

Now that the GOP has three votes on the five member commission, they're spending like drunken sailors -- just look at last Tuesday's agenda--more money for all!  Let's add 15 new Bernalillo county sheriff's deputies deputies! How about another half million for the department helicopter!

Republican Commissioner Wayne Johnson is always protesting against taxes, but these proposals will require recurring dollars that the county doesn't have. That could force a tax increase next year--which he will again vote against!

FLUB OF THE WEEK

It has to be the way New Mexico State University regents handled the problems they are having with NMSU President Barbara Couture. First, it appeared she had been forced to take a leave of absence then they say its voluntary. Meanwhile, the rumor mill goes into overtime over exactly what is going on. Taxpayer-funded NMSU has mud on its face on this one. Couture is looking like the victim, even as NMSU gets ready to show her the door. NMSU regents meet Monday on the future of Couture. Maybe they should wear clown suits for that session.

 JOBS BLEED

Healthcare is supposed to be a growth indistry for New Mexico and ABQ, but it isn't this week:

Cardinal Health, a $103 billion manufacturer of medical and surgical products, said Thursday that it will eliminate 150 of its 375 jobs in the Albuquerque area.Twenty of those 150 finance jobs will be moved to Cardinal’s headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, and 130 will be contracted out to Xerox... 

Cardinal Health is a NYSE listed company with good paying jobs, not the kind you like to see evaporate.

JUST SILLY

A reader writes about this item from the Thursday blog:

Dem insiders, plotting out the '14 Guv race, say the path to victory could run through the ABQ mayor's office. They say if a Dem could take Berry out in '13, it would improve Dem chances to take out Martinez in the following year. They note that Dem Mayor Chavez was ousted by Berry in 2009, ushering in the GOP wave that led to Martinez's election in 2010.

Joe, Martinez's election was part of a nationwide mid-term anti-Democratic wave that swept the country with tea party fury. It had zero to do with Marty Chavez's mayoral loss in a three man field the year before (the Dem candidates combined even beat Berry 56-44!). Gary Johnson came in during a similar wave in '94 despite Chavez having won his first mayoral term in '93. National waves are national waves, they don't care who won a mayoral race the year before. Thanks for keeping us informed!

A GOOD WEEK

NM enviros end the week on a high note. The news:

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar dedicated the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque, making it the first urban refuge in the Southwest and one of a handful across the nation. Salazar was joined by Senator Jeff Bingaman, Representative Martin Heinrich, Bernalillo County Commissioner Art De La Cruz, and other local stakeholders and partners, including the Trust for Public Land. (Salazar then traveled) to Wind River Ranch near Mora, N.M. for a signing ceremony establishing the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area on over 4,200 acres donated by the Thaw Charitable Trust...

That's it for this week.

Reporting to you from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2012
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