Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dem Turnout Trouble? Trend Points That Way, Also: Lowly Treasurer Race Gets Them Talking, And: Intel's Future Here Looks Iffy, Our APD Watch And Christie In NM Today 

The lowly state treasurer's race is providing more fireworks than the Dem Guv chase and therein lies the problem for the state's majority party. Because of the lack of interest, turnout for the June 3rd Dem balloting could tumble to historic lows, giving an early psychological boost to Governor Martinez who is already favored for re-election.

Early turnout numbers are dismal and initial predictions that 20 percent or 120,000 of the state's 6000,000 registered Democrats could go to the polls have fallen by the wayside. The optimists are now hoping for about 100,000. The pessimists say a plunge to 15 percent or a mere 90,000 or even less is in the cards. The really big story this election night--as it was in the '13 mayoral election--could be a collapse in voter turnout.

One of the reasons: The five Guv candidates have spent little on field operations to get the vote out.  Another: They did not raise much money to buy TV time which drives voter interest. And another: Democrats around the state are not excited about their choices.

And that's why Attorney General Gary King, who finished last at the preprimary, is your front runner. If he wins, he would become the first candidate in state history to take a major party's nomination without scoring at least 20 percent of delegate support at the preprimary. . . .

Lawrence Rael headed to Taos to court Hispanic Dems Wednesday. That voting block is now his only hope of catching King.

Alan Webber is up on TV and also radio but we are not seeing any attack TV from him against King nor from any of other King's rivals. They probably figure it is simply too late and now the get-out-the-vote effort is everything.


Wertheim & Eichenberg
Then there is the aforementioned Dem state treasurer race, the only other contested statewide contest  Dems will decide next Tuesday. John Wertheim this week doubled down on his TV attacks on foe Tim Eichenberg, coming with a new ad (not on the web) that slams Eichenberg for not supporting women's rights, gay rights and discriminating against Hispanics. It is high-level nuke from Wertheim who is trailing Eichenberg in the polls and now has only hours to close.

The ad was tough enough to shake Sam Bregman, chairman of the NM Democratic Party, into
issuing an condemnation without mentioning Wertheim by name:

Character assassination against a fellow Democrat is unacceptable and despicable. Accusing a longtime Democratic elected official of being a sexist, racist and homophobe is not only anti-Democratic but feeds into the hands of Governor Martinez and the state Republican Party. This type of behavior pits one group of Democrats against another and has the potential to inflict damage upon the future Democratic nominee.As DPNM Chair I feel a responsibility to stand up and speak out when I see individual candidates acting out of desperation and a desire to win at any cost, ignoring the real issues and causing potential harm to the Democratic Party. . . .

But Wertheim supporters noted that Bregman and his wife have both served as attorneys for Eichenberg and that Bregman and Wertheim faced off with one another back in 2000 in the Dem primary for the ABQ congressional seat. In other words, they called Sam's slam sour grapes. Wertheim's campaign said:

The facts are that Tim Eichenberg voted to discriminate against women, moved to kill domestic partnership legislation, and was found guilty of discrimination against Hispanics by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. This is not a negative campaign. It’s a campaign about the facts. You don’t have to like them, but you can’t ask people to ignore them. This race is about who is the real Democrat. John Wertheim will take our Democratic values to the state Treasurer’s office to protect education, invest in renewable energy sources and keep state retirement funds strong.

Then there were the Alligators. You can count on them to tear into this kind of red meat. It was no surprise to hear them ask:

 Why is Sam so concerned about a treasurer's race but goes silent on the race that matters--the one for Governor? He hasn't had anything to say about Susana even as she runs a TV ad accusing all the Dem candidates of being clones of former Governor Richardson.

Eichenberg's camp has not put up any TV, but says that will change this weekend when he starts a three day run. His camp is weighing the content of the ad, saying they are not sure that Wertheim's harsh attack aren't backfiring. Whatever the case, the fires on both sides will be extinguished by the voters come Tuesday night.


Voter turnout may not be the only thing about to collapse. Rio Rancho's Intel plant seems precariously close to ending its long run in New Mexico. The company tells ABQ business leaders it will not be modernizing the plant, but maintains the facility still has plenty of work to keep it going at full capacity for the next "18 to 24 months."

If that doesn't sound like a warning shot, we've got too much wax in our ears. 

Look. In July 2006 Intel reported having 5,600 employees. Wednesday it said it had 2,800. That's a 50 percent reduction. Which way do you think we are headed in the next couple years?

Why we are the only news source that cites this history to put the story in context is a head-scratcher, but it's reality. 

We should also note that last November when Intel announced 400 layoffs it was reported that it's  workforce would go from 3,300 to 2,900. But now it reports 2,800 on the payroll. Looks like we lost an extra hundred. 

The decline in federal spending has been a major contributor to our economic malaise, but the private sector as represented by Intel and others--has also delivered a body blow. And what, if anything, we are going to do about either scenario seems to be completely up in the air.

Meanwhile, the story of the incredible shrinking workforce of ABQ and New Mexico continued in April, according to the Feds. We will get the usual spin that the stats are not totally reliable month to month, but we know the trend--and it's not our friend.


Back on Intel, Rio Rancho is in near despair over the possibility of losing what's left of the computer chip behemoth. Resident Joe Barela writes:

So where was Governor Martinez and economic development secretary Jon Barela on this? Since Intel planted roots here every Governor has always been proactive with Intel. The state used to aggressively hold Intel accountable and partner with them. Someone needs to remind the state economic team that “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Yet another one bites the dust while we hopelessly wait for a positive outcome from Tesla.


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in the Land of Enchantment today to campaign for Gov. Martinez in conservative SE NM. Here is his schedule from the Republican Governors Association of which Christie is chairman:

10:00AM: Chairman Christie and Gov. Martinez stop at a coffee shop to visit with voters in Roswell; 12:00PM: Christie attends a fundraising event for Gov. Susana Martinez in Artesia; 1:30PM: Christie and Martinez attend an RGA fundraiser in Artesia; 4:30PM: Christie attends a fundraising event for Martinez in Carlsbad.

A Dem reader reacts:

The $64 question is whether NM voters will wake up and smell just how stale (and counterproductive for the state) the coffee cooking in Martinez's designer coffee maker really is. Will voters really let Martinez get away with blathering on and on about the now long-ago alleged sins of Bill Richardson while unabashedly bromancing the likes of Chris Christie? Get outta here!


In case you haven't seen it, here's Susana's new TV ad accusing the five Dem hopefuls of having a failed agenda. It shows their photos being replaced with those of former Governor Big Bill. She says under her watch graduation rates are up and reading scores are "on the rise." She urges voters not to return to "a failed agenda." Of course,  on the flip side, Richardson presided for most of his eight years over one of the more robust economies in state history. Since his departure the state has languished in recession or stagnation.


Mayor Berry refuses to go on camera to discuss the city awarding more than $1 million in no bid contracts to stun gun maker Taser International since he took office in 2009. Also, there was a $1.9 million sole source contract awarded to Taser for lapel cameras in 2013. Former APD Chief Ray Schultz became a consultant for Taser soon after leaving the department. And the consultants Berry has hired to negotiate APD reforms with the Department of Justice have a business relationship with Taser.  APD's contracts with Taser are being investigated by the state auditor and the city's inspector general. It looks like the tip of an iceberg that could do a slow melt all over the 11th floor.

The Berry Bunker shutting out KOAT-TV follows a statement from APD that they don't like KRQE-TV's coverage of the department. Two down and one to go?


p Republicans working to take the state House from the Dems in November don't like what they see shaping up in a GOP House primary in the Los Alamos area. They think they have a better shot of taking over the seat of Dem Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard with candidate Geoff Rodgers than an ultra conservative contender who has come out against all abortion--including in the cases of rape or incest. So we get this from former NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici.

Senator Domenici endorses Geoff Rodgers for House of Representatives. The Committee to Elect Geoff Rodgers has announced that former US Senator Domenici has endorsed Rodgers for House District 43.  In his letter Sen. Domenici said “Geoff Rodgers has demonstrated himself as a dedicated and principled conservative. “Geoff Rodgers is the current Chair of the Los Alamos County Council. He has served two terms on the council. He is also a US Army veteran."

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