Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Soon To Be Five: Rael To Enter Crowded Dem Guv Chase; 26 Year Old Seeks To Replace Retiring Rep. Kiki Saavedra, And: Early GOP Noise In Sec Of State Race 

King, Lopez, Morales, Webber & Rael
Lawrence Rael has had any number of dream jobs for a government administrator and now he is going for the one at the top of the bureaucratic food chain--Governor of New Mexico.

Rael, 55, perhaps best known for his 12 year stint as ABQ's chief administrative officer, is expected to formally announce his candidacy for the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a matter of days, report close friends and associates.

Rael has left his federal job as state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency and hired a campaign operative to get the campaign ball rolling.

Rael, who clocked 8 years as executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, sought the 2010 Dem Lt. Governor nomination but was held back by Brian Colon. Rael faces another stiff challenge in '14 as he faces off with at least four opponents.

We asked one of our Alligators for the out-of-the-gate analysis on Rael's entry:

Considering that up to 60 percent of the vote in the June Democratic primary could be Hispanic, Rael will be looking to consolidate the Hispanic vote north of I-40. If he can energize that vote and Alan Webber and Gary King split the Anglo vote, Rael has a real chance. But he has to run a smarter campaign than his 2010 lieutenant governor race and he has to come with a message that excites the Hispanic vote.

Rael is a native of Sile near Bernalillo who knows the state and where the bodies are buried better than anyone, but that's the inside game. Now he has to play the outside game. Friends say he was somewhat disappointed with his media effort in 2010 and hopes to improve on that this run.


The Dem Guv primary may officially be in June, but the elimination round is in March when the parties have their preprimary conventions.

If a candidate does not get 20 percent of the delegate vote of party activists at the preprimary, they must go out and collect additional petition signatures to get o the June ballot.

No candidate who has failed to get the 20 percent mark at a preprimary has gone on to win a party's nomination. That could change, but hitting that 20% is essential to raising money and growing support across the state.

Alligators and insiders gaming the early action say there is probably room for 3 of the 5 Dem Guv candidates to come out of the preprimary with support of 20 percent of the delegates.


There aren't too many wall-leaners around who remember the first legislative session of ABQ State Rep. Henry "Kiki" Saavedra. After all, he began his run in 1977. That's 36 years ago. Now a young man who hails from a family with a formidable political pedigree but who wasn't even a gleam in his daddy's eye when Kiki was first elected will announce Saturday he wants to succeed the 75 year old.

G. Andres Romero, 26, nephew of Ed Romero, the longtime politico and former US ambassador to Spain will seek the Dem nomination for the ABQ Valley area seat. Romero's father, Randy Romero, is also a veteran of the NM political scene who is now retired from state government.

Andres Romero is a grad student at UNM working for a Masters in American history. He's president of the Los Padillas Neighborhood Association and he will tell an announcement rally this Saturday that he is "running to make a difference."

Yep, move over baby boomers, here come the New Mexico millennials.

As for Saavedra, he capped his long House career as chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He is retired from the city of ABQ.

The Dem nomination in the district is tantamount to election since so few R's are registered there. So far, Romero is the only Dem contender in the race.


Also on Saturday, Dem State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard will announce in Los Alamos that she is seeking another two year term from her northern NM district. That's news because the district--which includes a large swath of Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties--may be targeted by the R's--if they can find a top contender.

Her first legislative session got a bit rough when she was tripped up over the controversy over driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, but the issue may have lost steam since then.

ABQ GOP State Rep. Nate Gentry--who is heading up the R's '14 legislative effort--tells me there is no announced GOP opponent yet for Garcia Richard.


No question that Democratic Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver is a strong contender for the secretary of state's office. She has posted two big election wins in BernCo. But no matter who the Dem nominee is, the R's are signaling there will be a battle to keep Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran, the first Republican to hold the office since the 30's. Here's the NM GOP's opening blow:

Surprise, surprise! Now that Dianna Duran has cleaned up the mess in the office of the Secretary of State, the Democrats want it back. Dianna Duran inherited an office that had been an embarrassment for more than a decade, with funds unaccounted for, indictments, convictions, jail terms and much much more. She has worked hard to turn things around and has succeeded! Because of her work New Mexicans can be proud of the office of Secretary of State! So, naturally, the Democrats want to get right back in there—and mess things up one more time...

And how much money will back up that argument? Probably plenty.

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