Thursday, October 11, 2012

Campaign 2012: The Latest Polls, Begaye Bashing In Indian Country, Susana Vs. Jennings News, And Pearce Has Some Red Meat For Heinrich  

We're now in double digits--double digits on the October calender that is. And that means the campaign action is coming at a hot and heavy pace. Let's head out to the trail...

In the category of not suspenseful ABQ Dem congressional hopeful Michelle Lujan Grisham says her latest internal poll conducted Oct. 8-9 shows her with a 55-40 lead over GOP rival Janice Arnold-Jones. Maybe the ABQ Journal survey to hit Sunday will have better news for Janice but probably not by much. Facing that steep mountain, expect Grisham's critics to start unloading. Fort Bayard, anyone?

Look at this--tonight three name Rs who can be fairly characterized as belonging to the "anti-Jay McCleskey faction" of the GOP (the Guv's political guru) gather under the same roof. Lt. Governor John Sanchez will host a fund raiser for Arnold-Jones at the ABQ home of PR maven Doug Turner. Sanchez hooked up with Jay early in his career but they had a falling out. Because of that he has been largely persona non grata with Susana. Doug ran for the 2010 GOP Guv nod and clashed with Jay as did Janice when she also made her Guv run.

The trio may be on the outs now, but politics can make u turns--witness the presidential race after the first Obama-Romney debate--and a moderate faction of the GOP could start to emerge if Jay and Susana come up empty-handed Election Night.Speaking of which...

It is getting increasingly difficult for the Guv to take out Dem Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings. She has written a letter on behalf of his GOP rival--26 year old tea party activist Cliff Pirtle--and now one of our Alligators in Roswell reports she's going to campaign for him in person:

I just received notice that the Governor is coming into Roswell for a rally for Pirtle. She is now officially, all in!

Indeed she is all in. GOP strategists think if there is more enthusiasm for Romney it could benefit the unknown Pirtle as GOP turnout increases. But this is a long shot for Martinez as Dem Jennings continues to pick up GOP support of his own.

Our insiders also report that Martinez has penned a fund-raising letter for struggling GOP US Senate nominee Heather Wilson. There have been complaints that Martinez--sporting a high public approval rating--isn't doing enough for Heather or the aforementioned Arnold-Jones. The Heather letter could be the prelude to a Susana TV spot for Wilson. And remember something: "Janice you are not Heather."

And about that letter of support Susana sent out on behalf of Sen. Jennings rival Cliff Pirtle, one of the Alligators joked:

Hey, at least she didn't call Jennings a "cocksucker" as (Martinez Chief of Staff) Keith Gardner did in his version of the Watergate tapes...

No comment on that jibe, but back on the Senate race, Wilson and Heinrich will face off in their first TV debate tonight on KRQE at 6 p.m. Wilson has to shake the earth or else Heinrich is headed for an Election Night finish in the 54% area.....


We take you to all points on the 2012 campaign trail including the far flung. Today we head to Navajo Country in the northwest where we find yet another state House Democrat under the gun from the Guv.

It's Rep. Ray Begaye, first elected in '98, who was recently tripped up when he was busted for double-billing for a legislative trip. He sought per diem and mileage reimbursement from the state for attending a meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators in Arizona, but it turns out that group had already reimbursed Begaye's expenses.

Ray has since paid back cash to the conference, but that isn't stopping the Reform NM Now PAC--led by the Guv's political adviser--from piling on as you can see from the campaign piece posted here (click to enlarge). An Alligator report now from the Four Corners on Begaye and the chances of his GOP opponent Sharon Clahchischilliage:

It looks like Governor Martinez and Jay McCleskey are making a credible move to take on a relatively safe Democrat seat and potentially swing the balance in the state House. The mailer seems to be targeting weak voters and unreliable Democrats. That piece was sent to a family member of mine, who is a Democrat, but an irregular or "weak" voter. That piece should have been sent to reliable voters and strong Democrats, such as myself and another family member, who vote regularly.  . 

Navajo voters seem to be very "forgiving" and elect flawed politicians, such as the current group of Shiprock Chapter officials, including some current and previous leaders who were involved in the multi-million dollar BCDS scandal, another chapter official who misused funds to buy a motorcycle (money was paid back), or how another Shiprock Chapter official was re-elected twice to his current position, despite being a convicted felon.

Is the "Reform New Mexico Now" attack piece a one-hit-wonder that will be forgotten? Or is McCleskey and Governor Martinez going to bring more heat to bear in the District 4-San Juan race? 

The Alligators say Martinez and Jay will have to apply a lot of heat. Getting direct mail into voting Navajo households is notoriously difficult. Unless Begaye takes another big hit, he remains favored to keep his seat.

We shout it out for this--$140 million in bonds that voters will decide this election. $120 million will go for improvements to higher education buildings. It's a prod for the construction industry here--stuck in a long-term depression.


You know, if there is not a really good campaign against the proposal to raise the ABQ minimum wage to $8.50 an hour (from $7.50), it just might pass Nov. 6. The news:

About 40,000 Albuquerque workers, or one-seventh of the city’s workforce, would receive a raise if the city’s minimum wage is increased to $8.50 an hour, a study on the issue released Tuesday said.

Raising the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour would generate $29 million in additional wages, put $18 million into the economy and create 160 jobs in the city, said the report by New Mexico Voices for Children, a health care advocacy group in Albuquerque.

Biz interests have raised money and a campaign against the minimum wage boost is coming, but it appears they are missing out on these first early voting days.


Paperwork has been filed that could lead to an election to decide if ABQ should increase the percentage a mayor needs to be elected. Right now, if a candidate gets 40% of the vote, he takes the office. If no candidate crosses that threshold, there is a run-off between the top two contenders.

Under the proposed change, a candidate would have to get 50%, making a run-off more likely. Mayor Barry got elected with over 40% in the first round in 2009 in a three-way race. The change would increase the chances of a run-off. Union groups wanting this change will have to gather over 12,000 petition signatures to force a special election.


No one serves up a serving of red meat like southern GOP Congressman Steve Pearce. Here he can be seen in fine form bashing Dem Martin Heinrich who is the favorite to win this year's US Senate race:

He’s not a not a good fit for southern New Mexico, he’s not a good fit for anyone,” said Pearce. “He was not very active when we were losing military missions. That’s a very big job creator in his area. He’s not very active in supporting the minerals industry, oil and gas, and mining. Again, in fact, he’s probably on the opposite side of that. So, people have to ask if Martin Heinrich is elected (U.S. Senator), where they’re going to get their jobs? Because New Mexico has a lot of jobs in the resources industry. That’s the biggest question, I think, that faces us this election.

Don't worry, Martin, if you win the Senate seat you can have him over for lunch and serve him some of that elk meat you sock away from your hunting trips. Just remember: no vegetables.

Heinrich's latest TV ad is up in which he tries to carve up some red meat of his own over Social Security and Medicare. He says Heather will harm the programs. (Okay, he might ask Pearce for some advice on how to really hit).


How this money is spent on Dem legislative candidates is going to be a major story for the remainder of the campaign. The Patriot Majority New Mexico PAC reported $780,000 in cash on hand. It received much of its cash from national unions. That will be the primary war chest to counter
Reform NM Now PAC run by Guv political adviser Jay McCleskey. His Reform New Mexico Now PAC raised $85,250 and spent $277,421 in the past month. Jay had about $113,000 in the bank to spend in the final month.

That's a big difference in cash on hand between the two committees. Will Reform NM be outgunned or is that $277,000 it already reports spending giving it a head start?


Two of our Alligators told us that APS lobbyist Carrie Menapace was the daughter of veteran Roundhouse lobbyist Joseph Menapace and we took it as a no-brainer. But they--and we--were wrong. We had the item up for a brief time on the Wednesday blog and lobbyist Menapace was among those who came with the correction:

Some confusion might also result from my earliest days as a lobbyist when I became the first full-time executive director of the NM School Boards Association in 1970 and was involved with public education issues before the legislature at that time including many matters of importance to the Albuquerque Public Schools.

Carrie Menapace says she was threatened and had her arm grabbed by Guv Chief of Staff Keith Gardner during the last legislative session. It has developed into a pretty big deal with Dems calling for Gardner to resign because of this incident and others.

Things are super-busy around here, but we should have nailed down this name business before publishing. Thirty lashes with a wet noodle for the Gators who led us astray and the same for us....

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)
Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here. Email us for details

Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign