Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dems Post Two Wins: Abortion Ban Goes Down And City Council Flips, But Can They Cash In? Election Coverage And Analysis, Plus: Young Adults Hit Highway Out Of ABQ 

ABQ voters decisively defeated a proposed ban on late term abortions Tuesday and flipped control of the city council to the Democrats, reaffirming the city's blue streak as we begin the 2014 election cycle.

Progressives banded together--from in state and out of state--to overpower the anti-abortion forces by a 55% to 45% margin on the proposal to ban late term abortions.

The city clerk said 87,296 voters came out for the election, much more than the 70,500 who voted in the low-key October mayoral race. (Complete election results here.)

Republican Janice Arnold-Jones, appointed by GOP Mayor Berry to fill a vacancy in ABQ city council District 7, was narrowly defeated by Democrat Diane Gibson--52% to 48%--giving Dems a 5 to 4 council majority.

The two Dem wins had analyst Harry Pavlides coming with this analysis:

Democrats win when they act like Democrats, but when they go to the middle of the road they don't win much of anything. The Democratic legislative leadership needs to take more hard core Democratic stances on such issues as early childhood education and environmental issues.

They can't give the Governor everything she wants.  If they do that, they are no different than she is. Again, this election is a perfect example of  what happens when Democrats act like Democrats--they win elections.

Further context and analysis came from former ABQ GOP City Councilor Greg Payne, now an independent and a longtime campaign consultant:

The special election had good news and bad news for both sides. The good news for the GOP is that they almost held on to a seat in a heavily Democratic district. The bad news is, Janice Arnold-Jones didn't hold on because the GOP Machine wouldn't back someone outside of their clique. That rift within the GOP is still very much alive and well.

For Democrats, the good news is they won control of the City Council and successfully fought off the abortion ban. The bad news is, the Gibson vote total was anemic and control of the council won't mean much if Democrats continue their propensity to go along and get along with the Republican administration.

Perhaps the best news overall for Democrats--and specifically progressive Democratic women--is they proved they can still pack a punch. When they stand up and fight for their ideals and principles, rather than just paying lip service to them. They actually can take on the Republican machine and win. That's something the Democratic good 'ol boys might want to wake up and take notice of.

And one of the Alligators added these insights:

You have to hand it to the pro choice community. After some initial uncertainty, They organized well and got it together. My door got knocked on three times, I received three pieces of mail, two hand written cards and a door knocker. Their TV ad was solid.

Dems really consolidated behind this vote and the Gibson vote. They smacked conservatives in the mouth. Had the conservatives won the council race and the abortion vote it could have really been a motivating factor for their voters in 2014. The question for Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman and the Democratic intelligentsia should be, how can we build off of this?


Bruce Donisthorpe
Congratulations to our pollster Bruce Donisthorpe of BWD Global who had the outcome of this election nailed.

His final poll for NM Politics with Joe Monahan showed the abortion ban being defeated with 53% of voters opposed. It went down by 55% to 45%.

Bruce has been polling for us since 2008 and has never missed. But this was a very tricky election to poll, as noted by other pollsters and analysts.

Besides the highly accurate pre-election polling, Bruce and I were the first ABQ media to call the outcome of the abortion election, doing so on Twitter moments after the early vote was released. Other media made their calls hours later. It wasn't hard to do when you had as much polling data as we did.

Leading the pack, helping to shape the agenda and setting the standard for New Mexico political coverage. That's our mission and commitment to you--our loyal readers.


Now that the abortion battle is settled the social issues parade can move back to the gay marriage question. If the New Mexico Supreme Court in a ruling expected soon upholds the right of same-sex couples to marry, that  should end the debate. But maybe not.

A coalition of gay marriage supporters has formed New Mexico Unites for Marriage in an effort to discourage any anti-gay marriage action by the NM Legislature. The group is being led by former NM Governor Gary Johnson and ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham. They are using Facebook for their campaign.

The group includes the ACLU of New Mexico, ACLU, Equality New Mexico, ProgressNow New Mexico, America Votes, Freedom to Marry, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Our America Initiative.


This confirms what you probably already know--many young people aged 20 to 34 in ABQ aren't finding what they need and are out of here.

A report from Emerging Trends says this town is going to have more gray hair:

The apparent knock against Albuquerque is that the metro is expected to see a five-year population decline of 1.4 percent in the millennial age group, also called Gen Y. 

Albuquerque is in the minority of only eight metros expected to see such a decline and the only one west of the Mississippi River.

“We haven’t created high-paying jobs for them,” said Tom Jenkins, qualifying broker at Real Estate Advisors, a commercial real estate services firm in Albuquerque. “If I had a child who graduated from college over the last five years or so, I think they would have had to go elsewhere for a decent job.”

Maybe someone ought to put Mr. Jenkins on the board of the Economic Forum and/or the Chamber of Commerce? 

Adds businessman Dale Dekker of the departing millennials:

They are the human capital that builds economies. This gets into the question of building a quality city that has the amenities and opportunities to attract millennials. Building a quality place is as much about economic development as it is real-estate investment...

ABQ has always been a tough place to start a career, but it has gotten tougher since the recession hit. 


How flat has the city economy been these past four recession plagued years? From Mayor Berry's state of the city address: 

Our latest budget is only 1.15 percent more than the budget that was in place when I took over. This means we have held our budgets virtually flat while still protecting what makes Albuquerque special.

The Mayor and city council have had little choice but to hold the budget flat because of the decline in economic activity as reflected by lower tax collections....

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