Thursday, September 20, 2012

Some Fresh Polling Numbers For You From Big Bernalillo, Plus: More On The Battle For State House As Readers Weighs In, And: Watching The Mary Han Case 

The campaign trail is getting increasingly cluttered as we sprint through September. We're back on it today...

Veteran Dem consultant Harry Pavlides checks in with the news that he was in the polling field last Monday through Thursday in big Bernalillo County, conducting a survey for district judge candidate Christina Argyres and  while he was at it his team threw in some questions that are of interest to our readers.

For example, in the survey of 349 likely voters conducted with live interviews, Pavlides said he found ABQ Dem congressional hopeful Michelle Lujan Grisham leading Republican Janice Arnold-Jones 47% to 40%. Bernalillo County makes up about 90 percent of the ABQ district so the results are worth noting.

In the presidential race in the state's largest county Obama scored 48%, Romney 39% and Gary Johnson 6%. Another 6% were undecided. Obama won Bernalillo by a nearly 60,000 vote margin in 2008. It appears he will win big again but not that big.

In the Senate race, you guessed it. Martin Heinrich out polls Heather Wilson. The ABQ Dem congressman scored 52% and Republican Wilson, who had the ABQ seat before Heinrich, came up with 42%. Not many folks in ABQ are undecided about that one, are they?

These numbers tell you why Heinrich is on his way to a statewide win, Wilson needs to stay within a point or two of Heinrich in Bernalillo county and she is nowhere in sight.

And a blast for the past from Pavlides and his poll. In Bernalillo County 38% of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of former Governor big Bill Richardson. His unfavorable rating was 54%. Governor Susana's approval rating in Bernalillo County was 52%.

The margin of error in the poll is 5.3%.


Heather Wilson can finally say she is ahead in something. During the summer months the GOP US Senate hopeful outraised her Dem challenger and front-runner Martin Heinrich

Wilson raised $1,624,432  from April 1 to June 30. Heinrich raised $1,417,742 for the same quarter   Wilson said she had $1,632,432 in cash on June 30. Heinrich had $1,763,770. Wilson's grand total for Campaign '12 is $4,047,000, with Heinrich taking in a total of $3,893,000. Those numbers don't include the big bucks third party groups have spent on the Senate derby, a contest Heinrich has led in every public poll that has been released this year.

Maybe Heather can get a boost from some folks who are already in the Senate. Her campaign says:

Sen. John McCain, Arizona; Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina; and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire, will be in New Mexico on Sept. 25. “New Mexico’s Senate race could very well determine the future of this country,” Sen. John McCain of Arizona said. “Heather Wilson is the only candidate New Mexicans can trust to put a stop to the reckless spending and turn this economy around. The nation is watching.”

The trio of Senators who have been traveling the country warning of automatic defense cuts set tot take effect January 1, will have a media event and also a fund-raiser for Wilson.


We added this paragraph to the Wednesday blog about the battle for the state House that our early readers did not see:

But there's another but. The northern House seat held by Dem Thomas Garcia disappears in redistricting and moves to ABQ's west side where Republican Monica Youngblood is favored. Now you are back to a Dem pick up of one.

And a Democratic insider had this  reaction to our handicapping of the early action in the House contests:

You did not mention the seat of Republican Terry McMillan in Las Cruces. Democrat Joanne Ferrary is maybe our strongest candidate, and check out the voter performance in that district (essentially a toss up, 50-50).

Republican readers said we need to put the contest to replace retiring Dem State Rep. Rhonda King on our radar, They think they have a shot to take the seat with Larry Miller. Stephen Easley is the Dem contender.


A Senior Alligator closely monitoring the House action adds this:

One other race the Dems had better keep an eye on is the Terry Fortenberry vs. Dianne Hamilton race District 38 in southeast part of the state.  The District is a toss up performance wise. Hamilton has strong support and deep roots there but Fortenberry is a former Mayor of Silver City, a retired police officer an could be out working the 78 yr old veteran legislator. This could turn interesting.

It could be, but Hamilton retains the favorite label. And some more reader thoughts:

Some other races on the radar include Democrats Ray Begay and George Dodge. Both seem to be campaigning and both should pull out re-election.  When the dust settles there will be very few seats picked up or lost by either party but we will have anywhere from 14 to 18 new faces in the House of Representatives. That's at least 20 % new faces due to retirements and those running for higher office. This may be the biggest freshmen class in recent history.

That's a lot of new legislators. They may have to hire a couple of Santa Fe tour guides to show them around.

We've added it all up, consulted with the top political minds for the past two days and continue to conclude that the Dems could pick up one or two seats and will continue to hold the House. However, a GOP pick up of one seat is not out of the question, but they face longer odds than the Dems.


Former ABQ Public Safety Director Darren White landed a plum appointment as general manger of the Downs at ABQ, even though he has no experience in horse racing or casino gaming management.
Now troubles at the facility are piling up on his watch:

..The Downs isn’t living up to the terms of the lease. Those close to the situation say the company hasn’t paid its complete share of water and electric bills since the new lease became effective in January of this year. On top of that, the Downs has racked up more than $145,000 in interest from its failure to pay an architecture firm it hired to design a new casino. And the casino construction, slated for January 2013, has been delayed—leaving the horsemen who rely on casino earnings worried about the future.Long before the new lease was awarded, the Downs was notorious for failing to pay its bills, leading skeptics to question whether it deserved another 25 years of running the racino [cover story, Aug. 22: “Trouble At The Ol’ Racino”]. Now, some critics are wondering: If nothing’s changed, was the state duped?

The 25 year lease awarded to the Downs is under investigation by the attorney general and state auditor. There have been charges of bid-rigging and collusion. It seems the days of Darren will continue to be marked by ongoing drama


We're watching this closely--very closely:

Friends and family of Mary Han, a high-profile Albuquerque attorney found dead inside her home in November 2010, have always maintained she was murdered, even though medical investigators and police ruled her death a suicide. But News 13 has obtained a document, filed by an APD officer who was at the scene two years ago, that alleges it was a staged murder. Han, 53, was a civil rights attorney who often went after bad cops....An APD spokesperson confirmed the report is missing in the current file, but police are unsure if the report was either mistakenly not added to the file or if the document was never submitted to records in the first place. Police said it will do a full "top to bottom" search to try to locate the report. Han's family is suing APD in civil court, claiming the department botched the case.

Kudos to KRQE-TV's Katie Kim and the ABQ Journal's Joline Gutierrez Krueger for keeping the heat turned up under this case. It is yet another reason for the United States Department of Justice to do its own "top to bottom" investigation of the ABQ Police Department.

Where in the name of Mary Han are they?


From columnist Peggy Noonan in the WSJ:

Romney should go out there every day surrounded with the most persuasive, interesting and articulate members of his party...like Mitch Daniels and Jeb Bush, and the young ones, like Susana Martinez and Chris Christie and Marco Rubio—and even Paul Ryan...He should be surrounded by a posse of them every day. Their presence will say, “This isn’t about one man, this is about a whole world of meaning, this is about a conservative political philosophy that can turn things around and make our country better.”

Some of them won’t want to do it because they’re starting to think Romney’s a loser and they don’t want to get loser on them. Too bad. They should be embarrassed if they don’t go, and try, and work, and show support for the conservative candidate at a crucial moment. Do they stand for something or not? Is it bigger than them or not?

Governor Martinez this week parted company with Romney over his statement leaked from a May fund-rasier that 47% of the nation won't vote for him because they don'r pay Federal income tax and
are dependent on government programs.


The state GOP has a banner event slated for tomorrow. It's their Fall 2012 dinner and they have a hot button guest speaker:

Friday--6:00 P.M--A VIP and General Reception. 7:00 P.M. - Dinner. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1901 University Blvd, NE, Albuquerque. Guest Speaker: Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. $75.00 per individual.  RSVP Heather Hall, NM State GOP office -- (505) 298-3662 or email - hhall@gopnm.org

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