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Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Wrinkle In The '13 Mayor Race: That Run-Off Amendment; We Game The Action, Plus: How John Sanchez Beat Susana, And: Peru Loves Big Bill  

A number of consultants and political types are cautious about the chances of ABQ voters approving a charter amendment that would force a candidate to secure 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off election. But could the way the voters decide the issue make a difference? It could.

The ABQ City Council will decide if we have an in-person election for the amendment or conduct it through the mail. A mail-in election is almost certain to draw a broader cross-section of voters and increase the chances of the amendment winning. An in-person election at voting sites is a sure-fire recipe for lower turnout and a boon for amendment foes.

The Council is controlled by the R's. Will they opt for an in-person election, a move that could be viewed as aiming to protect incumbent Mayor RJ Berry who would be hurt by a requirement that he get 50% of the vote in next year's mayoral election? Or will they decide on a mail-in election?

A mail-in election would cost about $550,000. An in-person vote would cost in the area of $750,000.

How the election is conducted is a critical political decision as well.

The election is being forced by union organizers who gathered enough signatures to mandate a public vote. The City Council is expected to call the election for early March.

Berry won election in 2009 with 44% of the vote. He did not have to face a run-off.

HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED

We blogged Monday about how all the state government job vacancies are causing cash to accumulate in state coffers, with the state's reserves now at what has to be a record high or near record high of 14 percent. An anonymous reader with ties to the Martinez administration comes with more on state hiring:

Joe, I worked with the Governor's transition team in 2010. There were over 4,000 job applications submitted online, many of which had resumes that related to the state cabinet departments for which they were interested. All the applications were printed and filed but they were never really considered. The people who were hired were later told to fill out the online job application so there was a record. Those applications must be in storage in Santa Fe. 

So, yes, there were many New Mexicans that could have filled those jobs in Santa Fe. It's just that Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey wanted to consolidate power with people he knew.  

And you want to know why they call Jay the "Shadow Governor?"

WEH VS. UDALL? 

GOP candidates aren't exactly lining up to take on Dem US Senator Tom Udall in 2014 and the possible entry of former NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh isn't going to cause the D's to start shaking in their boots.

The 70 year old owner of CSI Aviation, who sought the 2010 GOP Guv nomination, tells the DC press he will make a decision by next spring on whether he will make the run.

A retired Marine Colonel, Weh is an aggressive politico and a successful businessman, but his nomination would be seen as a gift horse to Udall. Pros say the former chairman has little appeal outside of the conservative warrens of ABQ and SE NM.

Other names tossed about as possible GOP contenders include Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela, ABQ Mayor RJ Berry and Lt. Governor John Sanchez. Of them only Barela is seen as somewhat likely to take the plunge.

Early national rankings of the Udall race by national pundits do not put the race in play, but there's a long way to go and a quality GOP candidate could give the freshman Senator competition--especially on the economic issue.

The Senate race is important to Governor Martinez. She seeks re-election in '14 and would like to have strength at the top of the ticket to make her life easier.

FRUSTRATED, NOT APATHETIC

Republican Tony Olmi of real estate fame says ABQ's Joe Craig has a point about ABQ and the state being in an apathetic funk, but Olmi of ABQ says for many it's more frustration than not caring:

Joe, I mostly agree with Craig and the "Consultant" influence over the Governor and Mayor. However, which Party has controlled the Legislature for the last 80 years? That is the place to break up the logjam to innovation. Too much power in one place for too long is a certain formula for "Apathy."

Apathy is a product of discouragement and loss of hope and vision. What and where is the vision for New Mexico? Did I miss something during this extravagant election cycle? Is the only money to be made in the running of political campaigns? Is that New Mexico's plan for future economic development? Spending a lot of money to get nowhere and to be powerful bosses over nothing? I, like many, am frustrated but not apathetic! Otherwise, I would be sleeping at 4:00 am.

Thanks for the comment, Toni. And we appreciate you tuning us in at 4 in the morning. The blog is generally posted each weekday at around 1 a.m...

Reader Loyola Chastain also chimed in about the Wednesday blog:

Joe, You mentioned that Santa Fe wants to grant tax cuts to corporations to bring in jobs.  Well, on Sunday, the New York Times ran an article about just that and how governments and tax payers pay a high price for that. Here's the link.

HERE COME THE JUDGE

Our money is on Hanisee, a Martinez appointee on the court of Appeals who lost a bid for the job last month against Dem Monica Zamora. The news:

A state Court of Appeals judge who lost in the general election is among three candidates recommended to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez for possible appointment to an upcoming vacancy on the court. A Judicial Nominating Commission Tuesday recommended Judge J. Miles Hanisee, Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court Judge Judith Nakamura and state Administrative Office of the Courts Director Arthur Pepin.

HE BEAT SUSANA

From the email on the recent Iowa visit of Lt. Governor John Sanchez:

So, John Sanchez headed to Iowa for Lt Gov conference...he made it to Iowa before Susana!  

Well, Sanchez is always rumored to be running for something so why not add President to the list?

FROM PERU WITH LOVE
Big Bill. Not so popular in New Mexico. But they love him in Peru. The news:

Ambassador Harold Forsyth will travel to New Mexico to honor Governor Bill Richardson with the highest Peruvian decoration the “Order of Merit for Distinguished Services.” On Thursday, December 6th the Peruvian Ambassador will bestow this decoration to the Governor...This order was established on July 18, 1950 to honor Peruvians and foreign nationals as recognition for their distinguished contributions to the prestige of Peru and to honor the valuable services rendered to the country in the fields of politics, arts, sciences, industry and commerce.

What did Bill do for Peru? Are they starting a Spaceport down there and he got a contract?  Well, he did help monitor a Peruvian election last year.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2012
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