Monday, October 14, 2013

The Pain Of Pearce; Will He Pay Political Price For Shutdown? Plus: DC's Dysfunction Makes NM Pay Attention, And: Javier's Hiccup 

The political community this Columbus Day awaits the first polling on how southern NM GOP Rep. Steve Pearce is holding up as Republicans feel the most heat from the government shutdown and the threat of a government  default.

A poll conducted last week by a pair of liberal groups maintained that Pearce's job approval rating has dropped below the critical 50% mark and now stands at 45%. But he poll was done among registered voters--not "likely" ones. And that's a whale of a difference. Likely voters are more conservative and will be showing up at the polls next November.

And that's the other point. The election is over a year away and this dysfunctional zone we've been in could be long forgotten by then. But Pearce siding with the radical Republicans in the House has put the spotlight on him big time in federally dependent New Mexico. National Dems targeting Pearce next year will make sure that light continues to shine bright--no matter the issue of the day.


Dona Ana County, home to Las Cruces, is the mother lode when it comes to votes in the southern congressional district. Its strength keeps growing as the more conservative east side loses population. Peter Goodman sums up the risks Pearce faces in his district's largest city:

Las Cruces, more than most U.S. towns, has an economy in which the military, the federal judiciary, Homeland Security, Whites Sands National Monument, the BLM, and numerous other federal entities play a huge role. Las Cruces has a relatively high percentage of retired folks--many on military or other federal pensions, others on Social Security...

We're also on the border. Whether you focus on the need for (border security) or on the need for all of those southern New Mexico residents in (border security) to get paid, the border matters.


We lifted the word dysfunction to describe DC from a statement from Governor Martinez whose office decried the "terrible dysfunction" in Congress in deciding not to use state funds to reopen Carlsbad National Caverns and other federal parks and monuments. And why should she? Doing so would be like enabling a drug addict.

The economic blow of the shutdown to Carlsbad is softened by the oil and gas boom there and also by the calender. Peak tourist season is over. Still, it's interesting to see the contrast with the last shutdown in the 90's when private interests in Carlsbad rallied and put up money to keep the caves open.


Usually you can safely ignore the tragic farce that Congress has become, but when they begin to seriously talk about shutting down Sandia and Los Alamos Labs, you realize that the state's economic future remains perilous.

So far, our efforts at "diversifying" our economy away from federal dependence seems to mean more jobs at call centers and lower paying hospitality positions. Well, at least those workers can't be furloughed because of the buffoonery in DC.


Javier Gonzales had a bumpy reign in his final years as NM Democratic Party chairman and now that rough ride seems to be extending into his campaign for Santa Fe Mayor.

Gonzales, the perceived front runner in the March '14 election, may be in danger of losing that status if this kind of thing continues:

A political action committee supporting mayoral candidate Javier Gonzales took responsibility Friday for hiring a political operative to dig up dirt on mayoral candidates, despite denials a day earlier from one of the group’s founders. The admission by the Progressive Santa Fe PAC that it hired Blue Searchlight, a Washington D.C.-based political research firm, came after a story in The New Mexican detailed the firm’s activities, and muddied the separation between the PAC and Gonzales’ campaign.

The Santa Fe Mayor's race has a strong field this cycle. The newspaper there seems to be upset about the rough political tactics (and possible big money) coming into what traditionally has been a somewhat low-key affair. It will be closely watched to see who they endorse.

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