Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Webber And Rael Top Dem Guv Fund-Raising Reports, But Race Still Hasn't Caught Fire As Susana Adds More To Her Bulging Coffers, Plus: Readers Weigh In With Fresh Angles On APD Mess 

The anemic five way race for the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nomination failed to get a booster shot Monday when the contenders filed their financial reports covering the last six months.

The most obvious trend was how little the Dem hopefuls have raised and how commanding a cash position Governor Martinez continues to hold.

It was independently wealthy Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber who provided a mini-headline by pumping $450,000 of personal cash into his effort. His total fund-raising came in at about $811,000.

Months ago the Alligators said Webber would probably come with about $500,000 for the primary and he's now very close to that number. With cash on hand of $440,000 Webber outpaces his closet rival in that category--Lawrence Rael--by nearly two to one. Veteran government bureaucrat Rael reported $228,000 cash on hand as campaigning for thee June 3 primary intensifies. He came with a $177,000 loan to his campaign.

Gary King reported $89,000 in cash on hand. He loaned himself $100,000 during the period.

State Sen, Howie Morales has $46,000 in cash. He loaned himself $25,000. State Sen. Linda Lopez had $19,000 in cash on hand at the close of the reporting period April 7.

Then there's the Guv. She didn't have to loan herself a dime. She raised about $1.4 million during the last six months--despite the blackout for fundraising for her and the state Senators during and near the legislative session. She now has $4.2 million in cash and is already spending it on the first TV spot of the '14 campaign.

Independent analyst and former ABQ City Councilor Greg Payne says the money reports show Democrats have failed to excite their base voters and donors:

The messaging has been weak and the campaigns absent. For example, not one of the Democratic candidates showed up at the recent ABQ city council meeting that drew hundreds who protested the fatal shootings by the ABQ police department. This is a low-risk, low-reward field that is largely being ignored because no one sees them as a threat to Susana.

Payne now sees Webber and Rael as the front-runners for the nomination:

Neither have been especially invigorating, but what energy there is out there belongs to those two.

Money does talk--especially on TV--which remains a fundamental campaign pillar. Right now only Webber has enough to make a large buy and cover other campaign expenses. If he goes essentially unchallenged on the tube our analysts see him in a strong position come June 3.


We asked a number of our Alligators for specific comments on the finance reports. From Washington one of them comments on the Guv's standing,

I believe Gov. Richardson had over $5 million in his re-election account at this point in the campaign. Martinez lags that, but her team has to be comfortable where they are--especially when compared to the Dems. Her fund-raising could actually lag if donors don't see this as much of a race. But given the anemic fundraising of the Democrats and her strong poll numbers, it is not like Martinez needed to push hard to raise money.

On Alan Webber:

He did what he had to do, even though the GOP is criticizing him  for self-financing after he said he might not. He is doing about what we expected with his own money. He has a huge burn rate, with lots of staff, and expensive consultants to pay. Webber will now use most of his money to raise his name ID with TV ads.

On Lawence Rael:

That he had to loan himself $177,000 shows he had a tough time raising money. That plus his third place showing at the pre-primary convention are negatives. Still, with $228,000 in cash he will be on TV and if Morales can't get there, Rael will become the chief Hispanic challenger. Also, Rael is showing more moxie than Morales and that is helping.

On Howie Morales

He's looking shaky, considering he won the Democratic pre-primary. $46,000 cash on hand is not enough to compete. It's a big disappointment. However, he is a candidate who can expect outside help (such as teachers unions). He will need that help in the next few weeks if he is to get on TV and again become a bona fide contender. 

On Gary King:

A very rough report for him. He spent more than he raised including a $100,000 personal loan. Alan Webber's TV ads will eat into his support first. King now has to decide if he is going to throw more of his personal money at the race to keep in the running. 

On Linda Lopez

You got what you expected. Linda has never been a big fund-raiser. With only $20,000 on hand, this becomes a purely symbolic candidacy. 


Democratic state House Speaker Kenny Martinez is working hard to build a war chest to keep the chamber under control of the Dems and him in the Speaker's chair. Martinez's political action committee reports raising about $69,000 the past six months and now sports $114,000 in cash on hand. Meanwhile, SusanaPAC, run by Guv political adviser Jay McCleskey, and which will be the main vehicle to win the House for the R'S, reports raising $208,000 for the period and has $68,000 cash on hand.


Our blog Monday that assigned blame for the APD crisis and the damage done to our city's reputation directly to Mayor Berry as well as the city council brought reader reaction:

Joe, There are two groups that we should not exempt from blame. First, the Albuquerque business community who gave Berry almost $1,000,000 to his re-election campaign. Even with APD burning down and Albuquerque's economy collapsing, the business community ignored everything and gave Berry money to win the October election.  
Second, the 81% of Albuquerque voters who ignored everything during the election and stayed home.  They must blame themselves. And the 19% who did vote--the majority of them for Berry. They too ignored the facts and voted the party line.

Reader Charles Arasim writes of APD, DOJ and a reader comment here:

Joe, I appreciate your post today...spot on on all points. Being that I am one of the community advocates that has met with the DOJ. I am pushing another meeting with the DOJ and demand that at least one of us be present at any meeting the department has with any representative from the city. The back door deals have to stop now... As to your reader that thinks this a local issue and does not have the attention of President Obama or Attorney General Holder, he has no idea. There is no doubt this is being closely watched by both of them. My fear is that they are trying to contain it as the outcome will most definitely effect law enforcement across this country for decades to come. The whole world is watching.

Attorney Rosario Vega Lynn writes of reader Oliver's contention that ABQ is a cow town and the powers-that be in DC don't give us a second look:

I don't think Albuquerque is The Big Nothing. It is that kind of mentality that has kept people apathetic for too long. The "I don't have to do anything because it won't matter" attitude is what kept people from voting during the last mayoral election. Obama gave his condolences about recent shootings which involved three people. We have had 37 shootings since 2010. I think that, at the very least, merits a comment from our president and I think that merits a comment from Attorney General Holder. I also think the city council needs to get new attorneys and stop relying on David Tourek who clearly has a conflict. For some unknown reason, the city council seems to believe that the actions of the city are acceptable and they "can do nothing." Why do they believe that? My only conclusion is they are getting bad legal advice.

Another reader agrees:

Joe, the response that ABQ is of little consequence if off the mark. It is another ploy to tone down the APD crime scene. In 2012 ABQ was the 32nd largest city of these United States- we have 2 US senators the same as California, NY and Texas. We have two of the major National Labs responsible for maintaining the Nuclear Arsenal of the US. In the financial world NM PERA often is cited as a significant pension fund. But keeping things 'In perspective" as your reader wrote, we are not a top 20 city or state; but with Attorney General Holder in my mind--he was watching instead of participating. Significant change in this nation started in Selma, AL. and at Kent State University in Ohio as well as other small cities.


The venting over the performance of ABQ Mayor Richard Berry when it comes to APD continues. Reader Jason Fejer writes:

Was anyone really surprised that Mayor Berry did not attend the recent city council meeting where hundreds of citizens protested APD? Mayor Berry decided to skip the meeting, addressing APD issues and problems this administration has long ignored. Berry has a carved out a pattern of ducking out of any venue that might harbor an opposing view or difficult questions.

Leading up to the mayoral election in September of 2013, Mayor Berry opted out of a Public Safety Forum hosted by the police and fire unions. I suppose it is too much to ask of an elected official speak on public safety policies and issues in a room filled with those sworn to protect the citizens of Albuquerque. His failure to acknowledge the first responders is a huge reason why the APD spun out of control under this administration.

The Mayor has also shown his reluctance to attend meetings regarding his plans to redevelop the Bosque. He has either been a no show or cancelled events that had large numbers turn out in opposition of Mayor Berry's plans.

When will Albuquerque realize that Mayor Berry lacks the vision and confidence needed to change the current trajectory of this city? The "steady and responsible leadership" he centered his re-election campaign on has turned out to be a "steady decline and inability to responsibly lead."

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