Thursday, September 05, 2013

Candidate Positioning For '14 Continues, Plus: On The Mayoral Beat; The Sandia Labs Slant, And: The Great Bear Market (Still)  

Tis' the season for candidates for the '14 cycle to get serious about throwing or not throwing their proverbial hat into the ring.

The latest word we're getting is that there could be some competition for the ABQ GOP congressional nomination. We blogged this week that former ABQ GOP City Councilor Mike McEntee is giving a run a very serious look. Now our Alligators report another candidate may surface. He's retired military, but no name attached...yet....

It didn't take long for the Democratic occupant of the ABQ congressional seat to key off our blog about McEntee possibly getting into the race. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is already trying to raise campaign funds from the news:

We knew it was coming. A disgraced faction of the New Mexico Republican Party is recruiting a candidate to run against me. And it’s not a coincidence that this is happening just weeks after a top-secret meeting between the Koch Brothers, the congressional architects of sequestration and New Mexico Republicans. Help me fight back. Can you chip in $25, $10 or $5 right now to help right now? What do you suppose is motivating this secretive, shadow group? Could it be the fact that I introduced legislation in Congress that would ban the kind of campaign fundraising that allows them to stay in the shadows?


The ABQ Journal is in the field this week taking the pulse of the ABQ electorate on the Oct. 8 mayoral election and other issues. Reader Carlos Acosta says he was polled this week and he has some thoughts:

The poll took about two minutes. What I found interesting is that in addition to the mayor's race, they also asked about the job performance of the ABQ public schools superintendent Winston Brooks and UNM President Robert Frank. They also asked about UNM raising admission standards, the ABQ police department and Mayor Berry's "ABQ the Plan." However, there were no questions about the ABQ economy and very little about the current mayor.

Thanks for that, Carlos. It is interesting that the lackluster economy--the #1 issue for voters in various campaign polls taken of late--is apparently not being polled by the newspaper.

The Journal is expected to roll out its mayoral numbers Sunday and results from the other questions Carlos mentioned in the days to follow.

New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan conducted the first scientific poll of the ABQ mayor's race since the candidates were certified for the ballot. That Aug. 26 and 27 poll supervised by longtime pollster Bruce Donisthorpe showed Mayor Berry garnering 56%, Pete Dinelli getting 19%, Republican Paul Heh at 4% and undecided at 21%. If a candidates gets over 50% of the votes on Oct. 8. they are automatically elected. If not, a run-off election is held in mid-November between the two top contenders.

Want more on the mayoral campaign? Here is the complete audio of a recent real estate group forum featuring the three candidates. It aired on KANW-FM radio. The highlight is the closing statement of  Republican Paul Heh. He bellows at the establishment crowd and the Mayor in a way that recalls a time when ABQ politics evoked real passion.


At Sandia Labs (Journal)
That front page photo in the Wednesday newspaper of Mayor Berry touring Sandia National Labs with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz had this Senior Alligator wondering about Sandia's political acumen:

Doesn't Sandia realize we are in the middle of a mayoral election and to have Berry touring the facility and benefiting from the publicity makes them appear to be taking sides? 

And what is the Energy Secretary in a Democratic administration doing with the Republican mayor so close to an election? Pete Dinelli has to be fuming...

This isn't the first time Berry has been the recipient of a political gift from the Democratic administration--intended or not. In June he was invited to a White House conference on mental health issues and the homeless.

Seems the White House political operation is either tone deaf or not very political.


Back to the city economy, still not much substance about it on the campaign trail, but it continues to ail. For example, as we've said for several years, we are not going to have a real housing price recovery
until we get more jobs. The news:

The local housing recovery showed signs of stalling in July with the Albuquerque metro area standing out as the only large metro in the country showing a year-over-year drop in average home price, according to CoreLogic...Of the 100 largest metros, only Albuquerque experienced a decline.

And more:

Across New Mexico, the average home price was flat year over year, the second-worst performance in the country behind only Delaware. Home prices grew 27 percent in Nevada, 23.2 percent in California and 17 percent in Arizona to lead all states.

And you need a good paycheck to buy a house. On that front:

Wages in New Mexico lag behind those in Colorado and Wyoming in almost every industry sector, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The average wage in 2012 for all 13 industry sectors was $50,559 in Colorado, $44,579 in Wyoming and $40,680 in New Mexico, according to the Kansas City Fed’s quarterly report on the area’s economy. The national average annual wage for all sectors was $49,289. In New Mexico it was $40,680.

Now, if you have a house in Denver:

Closing out the final month of the busy home resale season, metro Denver again posted double-digit percentage home price gains in July, according to the most recent CoreLogic Home Price Index report. The index for the Denver area rose 11.1 percent in July, compared to July 2012, the report states. It includes distressed property sales. Month over month, the local index grew 1.5 percent in July compared to June this year.

Flat housing prices, low wages, instability in funding for Sandia National Labs, Great Recession job losses, no job creation, people moving out for lack of opportunity and near record commercial real estate vacancies. Those are the major economic issues facing ABQ (and much of NM) and what we presume voters want to hear discussed. (Oh, and one more...the breakdown in the ABQ police department, the federal investigation that has resulted and how that dissuades out-of-state business from wanting to open here.)

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