Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mitt On A Rocky Mountain High; Duel In Denver Is No Contest; Mitt Mows Down Sputtering Obama, Plus: A Trial Lawyers Paradise At Roundhouse? And: Valencia County Campaign Action 

Is Obama bored and wants to make a race of it? How else to explain a debate performance that one post-debate analysis correctly called listless, flat and uninspired, or at least it was by comparison to Romney. He came out on stage with salt on his tail and wagged it at America without let-up for a full ninety minutes. It was a clear win on style, organization and knowledge. Now whether it was a win on who do you trust more or who do you like--often how people pick presidents--well, those troublesome questions continue to cloud Romney's future.

But for the first time in months he saw some sunshine. Obama seemed adrift and surprisingly lacking in the passion that the American nation must muster if it is to complete its long climb out of economic decline. Romney seemed ready and eager to lead--even if the ideas that would propel that leadership are hardly embraced by the great middle of the country where elections are decided.

We don't anticipate the debate having a significant impact on New Mexico. The state is pretty much locked down for the president, but team Obama would be advised to keep open all those field offices it has here. Just in case.


And how about how 78 year old debate moderator Jim Lehrer was rolled by Romney? We said on Twitter that it was so bad that Mitt might be charged with elder abuse. 


Veteran NM Dem analyst and pollster Harry Pavlides says Obama played it too safe ion Denver:

It seemed he trying to remain presidential and not get into the gutter, but he needs to revisit that strategy for the remaining debates. He just wasn't tough enough. I think the dynamic in New Mexico remains unchanged because Obama did very well on Medicare and Medicaid--issues that are key here-- but he needs to be more of a street fighter going forward.


Rep. Martinez & Turner Branch
Republicans are warning that the Roundhouse will become a trial lawyers paradise of the Dems retain control of the state House and place State Rep. Kenny Martinez--a trial lawyer from Grants--in the speaker's chair. They point out that trial lawyer Michael Sanchez runs the state Senate as majority leader and could form a tag team with Martinez on behalf of the powerful trial lawyers who are not shy about giving campaign contributions.

The historic influence of the trial lawyers is brought home in this picture of Rep. Martinez and ABQ's Turner Branch, perhaps the dean of the state's trial lawyers. Turner is a Republican but has been known to hit for both teams. He was a member of the state House from ABQ back when Kenny's father--Walter Martinez--was also in the chamber and where he served as speaker of the House. And here Turner is today--still playing the game.

Martinez is all smiles but it has to disguise some nervousness. If the Rs were to pick up a couple of House seats they would control the body for the first time in half a century and Martinez would fund himself relegated to the sidelines. Insiders say he is taking an active role in the campaign strategies in the important state House races.

The trial lawyers assert themselves on a variety of issues, but their recent opposition to a liability bill for the New Mexico Spaceport really had the spotlight shining on them. Critics argue that they killed the bill and it means we are losing ground to other states with competing spaceports. The measure is sure to come back in 2013. If Martinez takes power will he try to craft a compromise and get the Spaceport back on track? Colorado was able to do it.


One of the hot ABQ Metro State Senate races features first term incumbent and Democrat John Sapien vs. GOP State Rep. David Doyle.

Sapien’s top campaign contributor was the Committee on Individual Responsibility, a political action committee of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association, which supplied $5,000, about 7 percent of the campaign’s total funding, according to the list of Sapien’s top 20 contributors on FollowTheMoney.org. 

As for Doyle:

FollowTheMoney.org lists Occidental Oil and Gas as Doyle’s top campaign contributor this year, accounting for about $2,500, or about 5 percent, of the total contributions. After that is New Mexico Commercial Real Estate Development Association with a contribution of $2,250, Jalapeno Corp. with $2,000, New Mexico Homebuilders Association with $1,750 and the Committee to Elect Nate Gentry, a Republican member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, with $1,500.

Sapien survived a stiff primary challenge from former State Rep. Ben Rodefer who now endorsed Sapien. The district is in Sandoval County and includes Corrales.

Sapien, an insurance salesman, got that Rodefer challenge because he was seen as voting too conservative. He is favored to prevail over Doyle and you might see his voting record appeal more to Dems if he does get back in.


The state House seat currently held by GOP Rep. David Chavez is the #1 pick up target for state Dems this cycle. Chavez is leaving the seat (Dist. 7) after one term to run against State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. And the man Chavez beat in 2010--Dem Andrew Barreras is trying to make a come back against Republican newcomer Kelly Fajardo. A Republican Alligator on the ground in Valencia comes with the latest:

It like Fajardo is working really hard. The Reform NM Now PAC run by Guv political adviser Jay McCleskey is now attacking Barreras over his opposition to the death penalty.  

And what about that State Senate contest (Dist. 30) between Dem Clemente Sanchez and Republican Vickie Perea? That district also sprawls into Valencia. Our GOP Gator says:

Perea is working it, too. 'm still calling that one a long shot for her, but we'll see.  Vickie isn't getting any help from the Jay McCleskey crowd.

Perea is a former ABQ city councilor with an independent streak. Sanchez is Director of the NMSU Grants Campus, Small Business Development Center. He defeated incumbent Dem Senator David Ulibarri of Grants in the June primary. 


We had a reader email up for a time Wednesday that said the Department of Health would oversee any expansion of the federal Medicaid program. Medicaid is run by the Human Services Department, not the Health Department.

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