Friday, November 16, 2012

On To '14; NM Senate Race Not Yet Top Tier Contest, Plus: Foley Vs. Sanderoff; Feud Over Polling Ends With Egg On One Of Their Faces, And: Of Seaplanes In New Mexico 

The pundits have put 2012 behind them and are already turning their attention to the 2014 campaign when Dem US Senator Tom Udall will seek a second term. The WaPo's predictor comes with the paper's top 10 Senate races to watch, but it doesn't include New Mexico's. That may be because no prominent Republican is sending clear signals they will run or is out on the field raising money.

We did note a recent newspaper op-ed piece from State Economic Development Director Jon Barela that was co-signed by Democratic State Senator George Munoz. Is that Barela's first attempt at luring Dems to his side in anticipation of taking on Udall in '14?

And Munoz snuggling with Barela surely caught the eye of Dem Senate leaders who are working feverishly to avoid a coalition of Dems and R's selecting a new Senate President Pro Tem.

Besides Barela, others on our short list as possible GOP Senate contenders are Lt. Governor John Sanchez and Clovis area District Attorney Matt Chandler who is also a '14 possible for attorney general. Southern GOP Congressman Steve Pearce is off the list based on our insider info.


Former Roswell GOP State Rep. Dan Foley went ballistic on KNME-TV in the closing days of Campaign '12, claiming that the polling model used by noted ABQ pollster Brian Sanderoff of Research & Polling on the US Senate race was all wrong--that he skewed his polling model in favor of Dems and Hispanics. Foley further asserted that  Heather Wilson's final internal poll showing her tied with Dem Martin Heinrich was the real deal and that Wilson was positioned to win the race.

Well, it turns out Foley is the one with egg on his face, not Sanderoff. The poll showing Wilson tied with Heinrich was widely dismissed in the political community and turned out to be not only wrong, but not even in the ball park. Heinrich won by a comfortable margin of 50 to 45 with 3 for independent Jon Barrie.

Sanderoff's final US Senate poll--released Oct. 29--had Heinrich at 50%, Wilson at 42% and Barrie at 3%. Undecided was 6%. Wilson's internal poll showed a 46 to 46  tie with Heinrich, with Barrie getting 3. 

Wilson's poll was conducted by Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies (POS). POS is a Republican polling firm that employs Nicole McCleskey, wife of Guv political consultant Jay McCleskey who ran the Reform NM Now PAC that spent millions here on legislative races. Finance reports shows that McCleskey spent heavily for POS polling.

POS come with a mea culpa on their poor polling performance in the presidential race although we haven't seen anything specifically about the flawed POS Wilson survey that she used to raise money from in the late days of the campaign.

Sanderoff has polled the state more than anyone and for a number of decades. He has had a few misses, but his record is one of the best in the nation. In fact, New York Times polling guru Nate Silver did a post-election survey of the most accurate pollsters for the November presidential election. Sanderoff's Research and Polling ranked number 9 among the 90 polling firms.

Of course, Foley and Jay know all this. They just don't want you to. And that's another reason we are here.


Roybal Caballero
Did you catch this one?

A complaint filed with the state claims Patricia Roybal Caballero, District 13 House of Representatives elect, ran ineligibly. She took the November  election, winning the seat over Jose Orozco with 72 percent of the votes. The complaint alleges in part, "The address that she is residing in is on Carlos Rey Drive, which falls in New Mexico House District 14, which means she ran for a district that she does not live in, which made her ineligible to run for New Mexico House District 13." 

On Roybal Caballero's voter registration form and declaration of candidacy, she lists an address on Camino San Martin NW. That location falls under District 13. Target 7 went there multiple times but never found evidence that Roybal Caballero lives there. A family opened the door, but none of them had the last name of Roybal Caballero. Neighbors said they've never seen Roybal Caballero...

So what would happen if Roybal Caballero was ruled ineligible to serve? Well, the Bernalillo County Commission would appoint a replacement. But she's a Dem. Isn't the commission currently controlled by the Republicans. Yes, it is, but the majority will go back to the Dems when Debbie O'Malley is sworn in as a new commissioner in early December. That means the worst case scenario for the Dems--the R's taking over this heavy Dem seat--is probably off the table


Reader Mike Emerson writes:

Joe, Since you frequently mention the issues surrounding the Spaceport, I think it’s important to look at the overall messaging in NM about the aerospace industry and its impact on the economy.   

There are several good things happening such as the creation a few years ago of the Aerospace Engineering program at NMSU. Another promising effort is the creation of the NM Aviation Aerospace Association. Unfortunately, parts of state government are creating the perception that NM is not friendly to the aviation and aerospace community.

Now, there is a little-noticed piece of legislation proposed by the State Parks Division banning Seaplane and Floatplane operations on state lakes and waterways. The uninformed person might say “Who cares?"  How many seaplanes are in NM?” Turns out it’s a big deal nationally because you cannot fly a floatplane from east to west in the winter without landing somewhere in NM.     

The links here and here show that the powerful national general aviation associations and lobbying groups are very aware of this proposal and are wondering what the heck is going on in NM.

NMDOT’s Aviation Division feels this is a bad idea and spoke out against it in the public meeting in October.  So, we have two departments that report to the executive branch at odds over legislation that sends the wrong message to the industry and hurts local businesses in places like Elephant Butte.     

I’m a private pilot. NM is known widely for its wonderful flying climate and facilities, so it pains me to see us viewed in a negative light by the national aviation community. Whether it’s a good idea or not, why couldn’t the representatives of these two departments talked to each other first about the pros and cons of the proposal, instead of making us look foolish in the eyes of the general aviation industry and community during a public meeting?


Services are scheduled this Sunday for ABQ District Court Judge Bob Schwartz who died this week at 62:

The funeral service for state district judge Bob Schwartz will be held at 1:30p.m. Sunday at Congregation Albert, 3800 Louisiana NE. Schwartz, who also served Bernalillo County District Attorney, died Monday at a Rio Rancho hospital.In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Dismas House of New Mexico.

A reader sends this on the local economy:

"Economy, to god-damned hell with the economy! We have no economy. In fact, we don't need an economy. I don't have to show you any stinking economy, you god-damned cabrón and chinga tu madre!"--a paraphrase from B. Traven's 1927 novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

That's it for this week. Thanks for your company.

Reporting this week from Tuscon and Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan

This is the home of New Mexico politics

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