Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Berry's Money Move: He Has $420,000 Banked; Time Is New Foe For Dinelli, Plus: Sam's Silence: Dems Start To Criticize Bregman Shyness On Downs Deal, And: More On Gatorgate 

Mayor Berry
Time is now the enemy of Pete Dinelli. That message was crystallized when GOP Mayor RJ Berry on Monday announced he had raised $250,000 in the latest fund-raising period and now has $420,000 cash in the bank to wage battle for his October 8 re-election contest.

Berry has now raised a total of $500,000 and will continue to raise more in the weeks ahead. By contrast, Dem Dinelli opted for public financing and received around $350,000 to finance his campaign. He hasn't spent much so he probably has around $300,000 in cash.

Berry's financial advantage is not overwhelming, but it is becoming so. If Dinelli doesn't make a major campaign move soon--Berry's re-election--already seen as inevitable in many quarters--may be seen as even more of a fait accompli.

In his announcement, Berry said:

Our broad base of donors including Democrats, Independents and Republicans puts us in a position to get out our positive message for Albuquerque's future, while at the same time combating the extremely divisive and negative campaign coming from Pete Dinelli and his special interest allies

Dinelli's Hail Mary strategy of a fourth quarter assault on Berry might make more sense if the cash advantage was closer. But putting additional pressure on Dinelli is his worry that a Super PAC could form on the mayor's behalf and pump even more money into the race.

Dem State Party Chair Sam Bregman spoke of raising as much as $300,000 for a Super PAC for Dinelli, but state Dem coffers are bare and it's hard to see Bregman and the Dems coming with anywhere near that amount. Not so for the R's--if they need to.


Berry's fund-raising may have been tamped down some by the controversy swirling over who under city law is eligible to donate to his campaign, but $250,000 is nothing to sneeze at. His financial advantage is formidable and Dinelli will have to make up for it by running a harder (negative) message against the incumbent.

Right now, Berry is raising money across the political spectrum because people believe he is going to win.

But Dinelli has been relatively quiet over the summer, announcing some union endorsements and campaigning one-on-one. He will have to revise that mode in the days ahead if he wants to pull off the upset. That means either buying paid media or getting free media by making news.

The city's economic backdrop is dreary, normally an advantage for a challenger like Dinelli but the public has not been engaged in this mayoral race or the economic debate.

As the old country song says, Dinelli has "a long way to go and a short time to get there..."


If Berry gets 50% of the vote in this three way mayoral race October 8 he is re-elected for a four year term. If he falls short, a run-off will be held in mid-Movember between the two top contenders.

The third hopeful in the contest is retired APD Seargent Paul Heh, He is a Republican who like Berry is raising money privately, but not yet in a significant way.


Sam Bregman
The contrast between what new Dem Party Chair Sam Bregman promised and what he is delivering is irking a number of our Democratic readers.

Deming attorney Tony White and others are questioning Bregman's decision to remain silent on what could be one of the most hot-button issues of the coming campaign cycle---the allegations that the awarding of the 25 year racino lease for the ABQ Downs was a wire job by Martinez administration insiders:

Joe: I am a lifelong Democrat and Luna County resident for 23 years. I was 6th Judicial District Attorney (Grant, Luna and Hidalgo Counties) from 1993-1996.  I have e-mailed the state Democratic party twice now trying to get a response or position on the ABQ Downs situation and, by extension, Chuck Franco's trip to Louisiana. No response from party leadership either privately to my email or publicly to the people of the state.

Where is Sam Bregman in all this? He campaigned to be party chair based on his brash take-no-prisoners political style. Now we hear nothing, see nothing from him and our brothers and sisters in power (with the recent exception of Linda Lopez). If Sam has attorney-client privilege issues with the case he should step down or step aside. This issue (along with emailgate) shows how compromised the Martinez regime is. Our party needs to assert leadership if we have any hope of regaining the governor's office.


And how about a good ol' fashioned conspiracy theory to explain Chairman Sam's speak no evil approach to the Downs wheeling and dealing? Okay, warm up the Black Helicopters because here comes reader Kathryn Carroll in Tuscon, AZ:

I think Chairman Bregman's decision to remain silent and in the shadows on this issue has to do with former Governor Richardson's close ties to Paul Blanchard, one of three owners of the Downs. It is entirely possible that Richardson sent the word down to state Dem Party leaders to keep "hands off" of anything involving Blanchard.

Attorney General (and '14 Dem guv candidate) Gary King must know by now that he doesn't have a prayer of defeating Martinez, or perhaps even winning the nomination, because Senator Linda Lopez  may have had no connection to the inner chambers of the Richard administration. As a result, she has nothing to lose by continuing to pound on this or any other issue dealing with Martinez, Blanchard and/or other Richardson cohorts.

Okay, the copters are coming in for a landing...Bregman supporters say he doesn't see much political mileage to be gained from the Downs deal and that he is sticking to talking about Martinez's failure on the economy--not the Downs deal. However, that doesn't seem to take into account how the R's effectively ravaged Richardson over "pay to play" and scored major political points.

It's all fine with Senator Lopez whose Guv campaign has garnered the attention of Dem activists because of her willingness to risk the wrath of Martinez and her political hit machine by going where no prominent Dem is willing to go. Lopez is asking Martinez to release all records relating to the Downs--including those the media have asked the courts to make public.


Reader Carroll also pointed out that the ISPAC--a union backed group critical of Martinez--has broken fresh ground in Gatorgate. The PAC reports that one of the state police officers who accompanied First Gent Franco on his controversial Louisiana alligator hunting trip has a troubled legal past:  ISPAC reports:

(In) October 2009, (State policeman Ruben) Maynes was charged in Pima County, AZ with issuing a bad check (CR09919545A). The court went so far as to issue a warrant for his arrest. In Arizona you can only be charged if the person writes the check “knowing that the person does not have sufficient funds” to cover the account. Further, Arizona will not charge people who correct the bad check within six months as long as they pay appropriate fees and interest on the amount owed.

According to a bankruptcy petition filed by Ruben Maynes in 2009, the Pima County Attorney was listed as the collection attorney for bad checks to an Arizona company totaling over $6300.

In 2008, Maynes was prosecuted and convicted on two counts of contracting without a license. How did he end up getting charged? Maynes collected deposits from ten people (mostly senior citizens) before beginning work on their projects but then didn’t complete the work. In his bankruptcy petition, Maynes assigned the dollar value of the money paid by those ten people to him as upwards of $16,000...

Reader Carroll reacts:

If the conviction and other legal issues are accurate, how in the world did Ruben Maynes ever become an State police officer in New Mexico? Doesn't anyone but me find that rather strange? Or perhaps there are details I don't know about his hiring and how long he's been there.

Thanks, Kathryn. Well, we do know that Maynes' wife, Donna, now works as an executive assistant to the Governor and his sister works at the Governor's Mansion.  Only in New Mexico....

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