Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dems Prepare To Take Charge Of ABQ City Council, Plus: Legislator Says Tuesday Election Shows Why Dems Should Stay In Charge of State House, And: Rael Runs At Susana 

ABQ City Hall insiders say the most likely first impact of the Democrats taking back the city council will be the election of longtime west side Councilor Ken Sanchez as council president. The Dems now control the nine member council 5 to 4. Republican Dan Lewis is the current president. A new president will be elected to a one year term when the new council meets in December. Sanchez is a fiscal conservative who continues to fret over the jobs situation in the city....

Mayor Berry is disappointed that he no longer has a Republican council, but he shouldn't take it too hard. The council of the past four years was the one and only GOP controlled council in nearly a quarter century. With ABQ having 46% Dems and only 31% R's, it could be a very long time before we again see a GOP council...

Even though it was somewhat natural for the council to revert to the Dems, it was a badly needed win for NM Dem Chairman Sam Bregman.

Now that they have a majority, will the Dems get some backbone and stand up to the popualr GOP mayor or is it business as usual? One of the Alligators sums it up this way:

Can new City Councilor Diane Gibson motivate the Dems to stand up to Mayor Berry or will they be intimidated by the machine like Dems in the legislature? So far, they've had no spine. Dem Councilors Garduno and Benton so far haven't shown much. Sanchez is always a day late and a dollar short. New Councilor Pena is seen as a peacemaker. Is there a rabble rouser or a bomb thrower in the bunch? Doesn't look like it.

And outgoing GOP Councilor Janice Arnold-Jones is getting the long knives treatment now that she is headed to the exits courtesy of Diane Gibson. From Raton, reader Preciliano Martin emails:

Joe, Janice Arnold Jones has played her "Lady Sunlight" cards for all they were worth and lost each time. She tried to turn her famous political move of taking a web camera into state House committee meetings into higher political office and failed each time. First she tried for Governor, then the U.S. House and lastly the Albuquerque City Council. What next?

Maybe Janice goes to work for Mayor Berry. He seemed enthused about her run-off campaign when it began but seemed to back off as the election neared.


Why should New Mexicans keep the state House under the control of the Democrats? ABQ State Rep. Mimi Stewart--who sits on the Dem Legislative Campaign Committee--says the Tuesday abortion election highlights one reason:

. . . .Special interests targeted Albuquerque because Democratic majorities in the legislature had blocked Republican attempts to impose this extreme social agenda statewide – specifically by rejecting extreme legislation like HB179 (2011), which would have imposed an abortion ban every bit as strict as the proposed Albuquerque ordinance. . . As long as Democrats remain in the majority in our legislature, New Mexico women will remain safe from this extreme Republican social agenda and we in the DLCC will fight hard to keep it that way in 2014. . . 


Lawrence Rael took some shots at Governor Martinez as he became the fifth Democrat to formally enter the race for the 2014 Guv nomination. (We first reported his intentions here on Nov. 6). Here's how it played out in the AP report:

"We have a governor who looks at problems and immediately. . . tries to find who's to blame--not who needs to be at the table to potentially resolve the issues and work together. But that's what you get when you get a governor who is a prosecutor. New Mexico cannot afford another four years of prosecutorial leadership," he said.

Martinez campaign spokesman Danny Diaz said the governor has worked in a bipartisan manner to win approval in the Democratic-controlled Legislature of initiatives such as a package of business tax cuts earlier this year. "We are confident New Mexicans would rather have a results-oriented former prosecutor serving as their governor rather than a partisan like Lawrence Rael
Rael's complete announcement speech is here.


We received word from one of our Senior Alligators that ABQ attorney Robert Aragon will soon announce his candidacy for the 2014 GOP US Senate nomination. Aragon signaled a possible candidacy months ago, but nothing much has been heard--until now. The former Democratic state legislator has close ties to the Martinez administration. Southern NM assistant district attorney David Clements is already in the race. Former NM GOP chairman Allen Weh seems poised for a January entry, say GOP insiders. Each of them will be seeking the right to take on Dem US Senator Tom Udall next November. Udall is unopposed for the Dem nomination as he seeks a second, six year term.


In the October mayoral election 70,500 registered voters cast ballots. That represents 19% of the 364,000 registered voters. However, the city clerk says a total of 71,091 cast ballots in the election which also featured bond issues and city council races. Not everyone voted in the mayoral race. So while turnout for the mayor's race was 19%, the grand total for the entire election goes to 20% of those registered.

In Tuesday's abortion election, 87,296 voters cast ballots. That is 24% of the registered voters.

In terms of the raw vote total, an increase in voters from 70,500 for mayor to 87,296 on abortion represents a 24% jump in voter participation.

The Tuesday abortion election not only surpassed the vote total for the 2013 mayoral race but also the 2009 mayoral contest when about 83,000 votes were cast.

The bottom line is that even with hot button issues it remains a challenge to get people to vote in city elections. Remember, 276,704 registered voters sat on their hands when it came to this week's election.


The speculation that former GOP Dona Ana County District Attorney Amy Orlando might run for attorney general and face a likely match-up with Democrat Hector Balderas got the political tongues wagging. But Balderas supporter Theresa Trujeque downplays the potential of the match-up:

Amy Orlando as the Republican nominee would  not be a problem for Hector. Amy, with the Governor's support, ran for District Attorney in Dona Ana County and lost. Even running on the Republican ticket with the Governor, she will not be able to defeat Hector. 

Clovis area District Attorney Matt Chandler and Orlando are the two names circulating for the GOP for attorney general. Balderas, the state auditor, is the only announced Dem candidate.

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