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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One Week To Go And The Mailboxes Runneth Over, Plus: No Rest For Tim; Susana Heading Back To Roswell, Also: The Downs Deal Resurfaces, The Great Bear Still Roams And Heather Jumps The Shark 

The mailboxes runneth over. Here we have a golden oldie slamming independent ABQ Senate candidate Joe Carraro for taking a "six day getaway to Hawaii--at taxpayer expense."

The slam came from GOP State Senator John Ryan who faces no Dem opponent, but has to keep his eye on Carraro, a former GOP senator for the Bernalillo and Sandoval county seat who has high name ID but not much campaign cash.

Ryan is seeking a third four year term in Santa Fe and his mailer closely mimics the one that was sent out against Carraro when he ran for the 2006 GOP US Senate nomination. He says:o

The Hawaii trip was taken in 2001 right after the 9/11 attacks and for a time all airlines were shut down. President Bush wanted to assemble leaders from each state and each party to listen to Tom Ridge propose the establishment of a new federal department called Homeland Security.  

I agreed to participate expecting that we would meet somewhere in America’s heartland so that we would all be able to take a bus.  But we were told the meeting would occur in Hawaii and of course we’d have to fly, I guess to encourage people that it was safe again. 

No one can recall an independent ever being elected to the Senate. That history combined with his cash advantage, puts Ryan in the driver's seat.

If and when he gets back to the Roundhouse he may be a bit lonely. His mentor and sometimes filibuster partner--Roswell GOP State Senator "Lightning" Rod Adair--is retiring.

TOO WHITE?

 And here's another mailbox hit...

 NM Dems are freaking out that longtime Navajo State Rep. Ray Begaye, mired in a number of ethics issues, could lose his seat and upset their plans to pick up power in the state House. The party comes with this controversial mailer featuring Navajo Republican Sharon Clahchischilliage--Begaye's opponent.

“(She) fired four employees of the Navajo Nation Office in Washington because she wanted them to be more like her white staff. It’s almost as if Sharon is ashamed of Navajos.”

Well, Sharon must be putting some heat on Ray for the Dems to play the race card. Of course, Rep. Begaye put the heat on himself when he doubled-billed some of his travel. It's being investigated by the attorney general.

Under redistricting Begaye's seat picks upo some Anglo dominated precincts in conservative Farmington and that's causing thr Dems to fret as Ray has been hit in the mail for his alleged ethical transgressions.

Analysts wonder if word of Begaye's troubles have spread in the far-flung reservation and if they have whether Ray's mishaps will be seen as serious there as they are in the off-reservation world.

SANCHEZ VS. CHAVEZ

The action continues in the high-stakes campaign featuring Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez and his GOP rival State Rep, David Chavez. Expensive TV ads to influence the Valencia County race are still coming. Conservation Voters of NM comes with this spot hitting Chavez for missing votes at the Roundhouse and says the ads attacking Sanchez and Jennings are financed by big oil.

 THE DOWNS DEAL

Fair Commissoner Rode
We're back on the down and dirty dealing over the 25 year racino lease approved for the Downs at ABQ. State Fair Commissioner Charlotte Rode is raising a stink over the latest developments--or we should say lack of developments:

... A year after the Downs won the award, they have yet to make significant progress towards completion.  The new contract is not being upheld.  They have not obtained a performance bond, shown evidence of financing or paid their utilities. The State Fair Commission is nowhere to be found.  Chairman Kennedy is playing ‘hide the ball’ and hasn’t convened a meeting since June, unilaterally running the commission and completely disregarding state law.  They are still operating in secret.  In the past year I have been denied nearly every document I’ve requested, even after submitting a formal public records request.  

The awarding of the Downs lease is being investigated by the state attorney general's office for possible bid-rigging.

We recently took note of speculation that the owners of the Downs could pull what happened down in Hobbs a couple of years ago--they win the lease and then turn around and cash in by selling the racino. That's why Rode and other observers are looking for proof of bank financing for the rebuild that is supposed to take place. Mainstream media quote  Downs General Manager Darren White as saying the new casino will open in the second quarter of 2013. We shall see. (Rode's full op-ed can be read here.)

THE VENGEFUL BEAR

Amid accusations that lawmakers are indulgent of child killers and endangering your home and hearth by not repealing driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, you might forget that the Great Bear Market continues to ravage ABQ and New Mexico with a vengeance. The news is just terrible:

The Albuquerque metropolitan area lost 3,100 jobs in the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, or a third of the 9,200 jobs lost throughout New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions said. The negative 0.8 percent growth rate marked the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year negative growth for the metro area...

Both the public and private sectors in the four-county metro region lost jobs during the year. The public sector shed 1,200 jobs for a negative 1.4 percent growth rate, while the private sector lost 1,900 jobs for a negative 0.7 percent growth rate. It was the third consecutive month that the area’s private sector lost jobs...New Mexico’s negative 1.1 percent growth rate was the second-worst in the nation. Only West Virginia had a higher negative growth rate at 1.2 percent.

Now what was that about driver's licenses? It seems to have slipped our mind...

JON AND JOE

What's this? State Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela has had an epiphany?:

Large state capital outlays to build roads and bridges could be another big job creator, Barela said, asking for NAIOP’s lobbying support.

Hey, you're riding in a car now, Jon. But you lost us when you said we just have to accept that the Federal government jobs are going away and we have to replace them with private sector jobs. When they hear that lay down in Washington, Jon, they'll carve us up like the line cook at the Japanese Steakhouse. You have to stand in fight in DC town, unless you think replacing high-paying government jobs with hamburger flippers is economic development.

CAN JEFF HELP?

Back on the trail, this time up in Los Alamos we find Dem state House candidate Stephanie Garcia Richard throwing the long ball and bringing in Senator Jeff Bingaman to help get her across the finish line. He cut this TV spot for her.

We don't know if Richard will have the cash to put it on the air, but it reminds us that our insiders are saying her challenge of GOP State Rep. Jim Hall started with a burst of energy but ran into roadblocks along the way. The race, however, is said to still be in play.

CONFESSIONS OF A GAY REPUBLICAN

From the UNM Daily Lobo:

With the presidential election only days away, I find myself more and more distraught about whom to vote for. For me, the decision comes down to voting for what I believe is the right path for my country versus voting for equal rights for my community. I am a gay Republican....

I support almost all Republican values, and I do not trust President Obama as much as I believe in Mitt Romney. The only problem is that Obama supports who I am, and Romney does not. So now I have to make a decision. 

HEINRICH HISPANICS

There has not been an Hispanic New Mexico US Senator since Joe Montoya left the building at the end of '76, but if Martin Heinrich wins next Tuesday it will be in large part due to Hispanic support. He is trouncing Republican Heather Wilson 67% to 34% among Hispanic in the latest Journal poll. That means he is positioned to cross the 70% threshold with them. Not bad for a Gringo from Missouri (born in Nevada).

Heinrich's down-the-line support for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and immigration reform that is not punitive all play a role in getting to his impressive numbers. But severe damage to the Republican brand is also a reason. Many Hispanics are aghast at the hard-line the current crop of Republicans take toward the social safety net and immigration.

HAIL MARY HEATHER

Heather Wilson leads Dem Martin Heinrich by one point, the race is a "dead heat" and if you send her fifty bucks right now she's going to put this thing over the top. Really!

Hail Mary Heather came with all of that and more Monday, issuing a poll from Public Opinion Strategies that was in direct conflict with the Sunday ABQ Journal survey that shows her trailing Heinrich 50-43 with conservative independent Jon Barrie at 3%. In her poll she leads 44-43.

POS did not release the question it asked, raising suspicious about the survey. It is the first poll of any kind anywhere this year that has Wilson leading this race. (Polling memo here.)

We've had our differences with POS over the years--we find them hyper-partisan--but this time she and they have jumped the shark. And that means the Alligators are on the prowl. Here they come...

How gullible does the Heather Wilson campaign think New Mexicans are in this election? A new Public Opinion Strategies shows Wilson leading Heinrich 44 percent to 43 percent. This is not a poll. It is a desperate political ploy because Ms. Wilson is losing so bad. It makes her look competitive.

There are red flags about this suspicious survey. It was done by Public Opinion Strategies, which touts itself as  “the leading Republican polling firm.” The company was founded by four Republicans, including Neil Newhouse, who is Mitt Romney’s pollster and made the infamous statement that “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”  The obvious bias of Public Opinion Strategies calls into question its survey.

And it's interesting that Nicole McCleskey is a partner of  Public Opinion Strategies and the wife of the Republican operative, Jay McCleskey, who runs the notorious "Reform New Mexico Now" PAC.

Yeah, that Gator broke some skin. This is it, folks...

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