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Thursday, August 15, 2013

National Dems Now Expected To Target Pearce In '14; Roxanne Lara Seen As Likely Challenger, And: NM DC Dems Take On Gov. Martinez; More To Come? Plus: Being A Bookworm With Dave Cargo  

With each passing day and each negative news release about southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce, we're getting convinced that Pearce is going to be targeted next year by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And we expect that Carlsbad attorney Roxanne Lara will be his opponent.

Alamogordo's Leslie Endean-Singh is an announced Dem candidate, but if the national Dems decide to pour big money into the race, it will be Lara, a former Eddy County commissioner, carrying the banner.

The hits on Pearce have been relentless. while ABQ's Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and northern Dem Rep Ben Ray Lujan go about their merry way with no attacks in sight. Not so for Pearce who served in reclaimed the southern seat in 2010 by beating Dem Rep. Harry Teague who had taken it when Pearce gave it up to make an unsuccessful run for US Senate.

State Dems have joined in the hunting party for Pearce, dishing out news releases mocking him as
a climate change denier" among many other things.

Lara recently lost a battle for NM Dem Party chair to Sam Bregman. She initially said she would not run against Pearce, but when we last spoke with her she described herself as undecided.

We expect her to come into the race soon now that the DC Dems are signaling they will put the money in that hit will take to give Pearce a serious challenge. '14 is a low turnout year that will favor Pearce. Maybe the Dems figure they can soften him up next year and go for the kill in the high turnout 2016 presidential year.

Meanwhile, Pearce, who turns 66 this month, has been touring his sprawling southern district at a peripatetic pace of late. Now we know why.

TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Senators Udall & Heinrich
Look, if the NM Dems are going to have any hope against the Governor's relentless attack machine, they are going to have to take it to the next level. And here's what we're talking about:

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with Congressman Ben Ray Luján and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, are calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to hold a public forum in New Mexico to give constituents the opportunity to provide detailed input and feedback about their access to quality behavioral health services as a result of recent changes in Medicaid service providers. The letter comes after payments to 15 providers that deliver 87% of Medicaid-covered behavioral health services in the state were suspended pending the outcome of fraud investigations.

Okay, so you finally have the entire Democratic leadership of the congressional delegation wading into state politics and coming down on the Republican Governor. Any one of them could defeat Martinez in a statewide race. She's a mile wide in popularity and an inch deep. And if the DC reps stick together and keep the heat on her, they could make that '14 Guv's race much more competitive. (Sticking together is key--there is strength in unity--make the Martinez hit machine condemn the entire delegation--and good luck with that).

The pathetic state of the state Dems threatens their majority status in the state House and even some of the down ballot races like attorney general. The Dems should have the power--a majority of voters and an electorate that agrees with them on the major issues. What they have lacked is the intestinal fortitude to shake down the Martinez machine. Dem activists would be well-advised to keep the pressure on the DC delegation, even as they cheer this latest news.

If in the absence of state level leadership the congressional delegation can continue to take it to the next level, they just might find that making a blue state truly blue is there for the taking.

ANEMIC

That is still the best adjective to describe the NM economic recovery. State revenue collections are coming in a bit lower than expected, signaling that we are still flat lining. But it's not like we are broke. The state is carrying a huge $600 million reserve and the state Permanent Fund is benefiting from a robust stock market.

In these hazy, lazy days of summer, you don't expect much buzz. But our economic stupor is no longer seasonal. It seems systemic, awaiting economic and business leadership to give us a plan.

BOOKWORMS

Gov. Cargo
Linda Morgan Davis of the ABQ-BernCo library system writes:

I am on the Board of the New Mexico Library Foundation and was asked to contact you about memorials in remembrance of former NM Gov. Dave Cargo. The recent passing of Governor Cargo prompted a request from his family for contributions to the Foundation or to the “Friends of” your local library. The Foundation wanted to publicly thank the family for this kindness and to report over $1,200 in memorials has been received to date. Law firms, alumni associations and individuals have been most generous. All memorials will help support libraries throughout New Mexico.

Thanks for that, Linda.

Dave was a voracious reader. Did I tell you about the time he loaned me his cabin in Angel Fire for a long summer holiday weekend? You walked into the place and you were back in the 60's, with retro furniture, a dusty nameplate outside the door that read "Governor David Cargo" and, of course, a nice little library filled with volumes of political biographies.

I ended up reading a biography of Tom Pendergast, the corrupt politician who in the 20's and 30's controlled Kansas City with an iron hand.

I didn't finish the book so I took it back to ABQ. I planned to return it to Dave when we had lunch and I was also returning the cabin keys, but I forgot to bring it.

I kept the book, but I did pay for the lunch.

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