Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Drama Developing For Some Down Ballot Races, Plus: Readers Write Of TV Ads, APD And The City Council And The Great Tesla Tease 

Could we see drama in the final weeks of the Dem race for the state treasurer nod? Former State Senator Tim Eichenberg reports having $39,000 cash on hand while John Wertheim had $116,000 in cash as of May 9.

Eichenberg has been saturating the Internet with ads and has many signs up. Wertheim has been more quiet, but he could get a decent TV buy with that stash of cash. Eichenberg has not been shy about tapping his personal wealth to fund a campaign so he could conceivably match any TV that Wertheim comes with.

Former Bernalillo County Treasurer Patrick Padilla was forced out of the race when Wertheim challenged his nominating petitions. Padilla has since endorsed Eichenberg. The R contender is Rick Lopez, but no R has won the treasurer slot since '66. . .

Another down ballot race that is drawing attention---not for the June 3 primary in which both candidates are unopposed--but for the November balloting. It's the secretary of state contest and it is already shaping up to be hotly contested. Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver is working to unseat Republican SOS Dianna Duran. Oliver reports $95,000 in cash on hand and Duran reports $99,000.

The race is also expected to attract national money. In 2010, Duran was the first R elected secretary of state since the 30's. Oliver is a popular Dem who is serving her second four year term. There has been no public polling on the race yet, but the first round could be key to future fund-raising for the contenders.


Here's an interesting sidebar from the campaign finance reports. State Auditor Hector Balderas--seeking to become attorney general--reports having $663,000 in cash on hand. That's more than any other Dem running for statewide office---including all the candidates for governor. Maybe he can give them fund-raising lessons? The R running for AG is Susan Riedel. She reports $29,000 in cash.

Both Balderas and Riedel are unopposed in the June primary and will face-off in November for the right to succeed Gary King.


The TV gets them talking and so it is with Campaign '14. Retired radio talk show host and independent Mike Santullo writes of Dem Guv hopeful Lawrence Rael's latest ad:

While Rael’s new ad is headed in the right direction, it is still anemic. He needs to stop wasting time with the all the handshaking scenes and use that time more judiciously. He needs to get specific with Susana’s shortcomings and be more hard hitting. That will get him noticed much more and put him on an equal footing with Alan Webber.

By the way, the Rael campaign--like Alan Webber's--confirms they also have opposition trackers at most of their campaign events. Be careful out there candidates. . . .


A reader who says he is a "frustrated Democrat" responds to ABQ Dem City Councilor Ike Benton's blog remarks on the APD crisis:

After over four years of doing nothing while APD’s kill tally over topped NYPD’s, Councilor Benton has the gall to complain that he’s tired of hearing that city council has done nothing?

Where was his empathy when, for years, the families of APD victims begged city council to do something to stop the killings?  Where was his concern when the city started shelling out millions after millions of taxpayer dollars in wrongful death suits? Where was his outcry when every one of Berry’s three police chiefs denied anything was wrong.

It wasn’t until after the video of James Boyd being shot to death for illegally camping was made public, and hundreds took to the streets and flooded his council chambers making things uncomfortable for Councilor Benton, did anything get done.

Well, those measures he listed came too little too late and came as a result of the pressure from the very people he shows so much contempt for in his letter to you.


The Dems say she didn't. She says she did. The argument is over the Guv's claim that she resolved the largest "structural deficit" in NM history. ABQ Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino argues that she did not inherit the largest shortfall in history and that the Legislature and governor in power before her made the tough choices of raising taxes and cutting programs. Now comes the Guv's campaign with a full page of counter spin to bolster the assertion that she did indeed solve the largest deficit in history. It's no wonder--the claim is a key part of he latest campaign commercial. You can view the counter spin page here.

Regardless of which view one takes, the dreary economic standing of the state, its 50th ranking in child-well being, high poverty and lack of jobs will be front and center in the months to come.
By the way, New Mexico never actually runs a deficit. It is prohibited from doing so by the state Constitution. It must address any revenue shortfalls by cutting spending or raising taxes before an actual deficit occurs.


The revelation that Martinez Chief of Staff Keith Gardner used a state credit card for personal expenses (he reimbursed them) but received no discipline from the Governor has not gone down well on the state's editorial pages. The Las Cruces Sun-News weighed in with this:

Gardner used his state credit card more than 40 times for everything from hotel bills, to a new cell phone to tires. . . Gardner reimbursed the state for the purchases, but did not include the required $241 in interest fees until informed by the Journal that they were due. We don't believe it was Gardner's intent to defraud the state. But we do believe a state employee making $136,350 a year should be able to cover personal expenses without knowingly violating state policy. And we think once that policy has been violated more than 40 times by any employee, at the very least that employee should have the state-issued credit card taken away.. . .Gov. Martinez should have acted more forcefully in sending a message that her administration will not tolerate the kind of abuse of state policy that was demonstrated here.


A reader writes:

I think the probability is weighted heavily toward Tesla passing us over for its planned gigafactory, and I worry that this will extinguish any collective hope for slowing or stopping the death spiral. At some point there is a final trigger where people and employers say enough is enough, give up, and stop moving in and accelerate moving out. But looking at it another way, maybe New Mexico is moving back to what it is supposed to be, a beautiful and sparsely populated place, tucked away, forever full of promise.

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