Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Guv's Race Starts With Thud; Martinez With Big Head Start On King As Sen. Cervantes Mulls A Move, Plus: Balderas Strong Out Of Gate In AG Contest, Also: Wooing The Chinese And More Lobo Talk  

There isn't much to analyze in the first money report for the 2014 Guv race. GOP Guv Susana starts with a 15 to 1 money lead over Attorney General Gary King, the only announced Dem hopeful:

Martinez has nearly $1.5 million available for her re-election campaign, which is far more than...King. New campaign finance reports filed Monday show that Martinez raised almost $372,000 from last October through the start of this month. King's campaign raised $91,000 during the same period, and reported a cash balance of almost $103,000. Martinez's campaign reported a cash balance of nearly $1.5 million as of the start of the month. 

These numbers show this is not a serious race yet. Unless King accelerates his fund raising or some new names with gravitas surface, Martinez is being given a nice head start.


We are hearing rumblings that Dem State Senator Joe Cervantes of Las Cruces is giving serious consideration to a '14 Guv run. Look for him to be more active in the coming weeks as he examines his options. He could be a tough foe for King.

Cervantes was one of only a handful of Dem Senators who voted against the last-minute tax package that included a corporate income tax cut and that cleared the Legislature in the final hour of the 60 day session. It was a key vote for Cervantes as that package upset a lot of Dem loyalists.

And how about this fun stuff: Former GOP Governor Gary Johnson playing in the 2014 Guv's race, perhaps as an independent? That would be a Susana nightmare as Gary would no doubt steal more votes from her than the Dem contender. But let's keep this one strictly in the "fun" category--until we hear otherwise.


State Auditor Hector Balderas wants to be Attorney General Balderas, and the amount of money he has raised in the early going could give potential Dem challengers pause before they join the fray.

Balderas hasn't officially announced, but he will soon and his "exploratory" committee reports a robust first fund-raising report, showing that since last October he has raised over $240,000. A number of Dem notables gave Balderas cash.

Meantime, former ABQ Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks, also preparing to seek the '14 AG Dem nod, reports raising only $22,000 for the period.

Marks gets high marks from party insiders for his PRC performance, but timing is everything in politics and going against Balderas raises that issue. Does Marks stay with the AG race or maybe look at running for state auditor--the post Balderas will be leaving--or maybe lieutenant governor?

Balderas positioned himself for the AG run by seeking the Dem US Senate nod against Martin Heinrich in 2010. He lost, but he didn't hurt himself or, obviously, his ability to raise campaign cash.


Is anyone in the state or city economic development departments looking at this?

Chinese tourists have overtaken Germans as the world's biggest spending travellers after a decade of robust growth in the numbers of them holidaying abroad, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. Chinese tourists spent $102 billion on foreign trips last year, outstripping those from Germany and the US. They also spent 41% more on foreign travel in 2012 than they did the year before.

The state says tourism is up a bit here but we need tourists who spend more--like the Chinese.

The Martinez administration did support increased funding for the state's promotional budget during the recent legislative session and that will help, but they could think bigger.  For example, How many Chinese are going to want to see the Grand Canyon in Arizona? How could New Mexico get some of them over here as well? We have so much to market but it has to be marketed.


The campaign of Republican mayor hopeful Paul Heh says it has now collected 3,600 petition signatures as it works to get the retired APD Sergeant on the October city election ballot. Heh needs 3,000 valid signatures from registered city voters. Pros will tell you that to be on the safe side a candidate will want to turn in at least 4,000 to be sure he has enough to withstand challenges. Candidates have until the end of April to gather the signatures. Mayor Berry and Dem Pete Dinelli are locks to make the number and Heh is looking likely. Margaret Chavez is the only other candidate gathering signatures.


Reader Isaac Padilla's comments here least week that UNM would be better off concentrating on academics, rather than pursuing the long unrealized dream of having the basketball Lobos make the "Sweet 16" in the NCAA tournament, had the email coming in. Reader Mitch Jones was one of those who thought Padilla was off track when he brought NM Tech in Socorro into the equation:

Joe -This struck me as some rather specious reasoning on the part of Padilla:

"UNM might not ever be on par with the University of Chicago, but New Mexico can compete with leading public institutions. PayScale’s College Salary Report ranks UNM 465 based on average starting salary and mid-career salary for graduates. NM State is ranked 396, and NM Tech is ranked 34. The one state school that does not focus on athletics is by far the best institution."

I agree that schools should focus less on sports and more on academics, but I don't know of a single academic that would claim NM Tech is the best public university in New Mexico. And salary of graduates certainly wouldn't be the measure. NM Tech is a fine school. It provides a good education is great value for the money, but it is also very limited in what it offers. It has a handful of majors and they are all focused in the sciences. A better comparison for "success" based on the writers criteria would be the comparable science departments at UNM and NM State. It's easy to say the school's students earn more than others when they don't have philosophy, fine arts, education or social work majors.

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