Monday, June 02, 2014

Primary Election Eve '14: King Maintains Lead In Late Polling; We Have Complete Coverage Of Final Intense Hours, Plus: Big Bill Blogs In: Ex-Guv Talks Of Martinez TV Attacks On Him, Her "Abysmal" Record And The State Of The Governor's Race 

The insiders of La Politica are buzzing over two robocall polls done late last week that show Gary King continuing to hold the lead in the race for the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. One of the surveys--taken Thursday night--showed the attorney general piercing the 30 percent mark. King's closest rivals remain Alan Webber and Lawrence Rael who continue to be tied for second place as Howie Morals and Linda Lopez continue to lag. In both polls King's lead over Rael and Webber was over five points.

King scored 22 percent in the ABQ Journal poll conducted May 20-22. On May 22 he came with his first TV ads and also began hitting the mailboxes. That helped and placing first in the Journal's survey may have added to his momentum by persuading some undecided voters to to go with the perceived winner.

There have been only two public polls in the Dem Guv derby. King led both, coming in at 34 percent in the March poll from PPP and that 22 percent in the Journal survey.

Still, the low turnout nature of this primary has the Rael and Webber camps nurturing hope that King will fall short in the final hours and it will be they who join the battle with Governor Martinez who is unopposed for the GOP nod in tomorrow's primary.

King's widespread name ID has kept him ahead of a pack that could not generate excitement or money. And they decided early on not to attack him, appearing to believe that King--who finished last at the march preprimary convention--would fall back on his own as voters realized he was about to secure the nomination. In fact, the opposite may have happened.

There remains widespread skepticism among the Democratic chattering classes about King having a realistic chance of ousting Martinez. But the majority of the votes cast in the primary will come from voters over 65 who remember King's three-term governor father as well as his first lady mother. The argument that he would be the least effective candidate against Martinez does not seem to have impacted their loyalty--if they are even aware of it.


Martinez continues to not miss a beat in Campaign '14. Even though there have been five Democratic guv candidates hoping to take her down, it's safe to say she may have spent more money on TV ads than all of them combined.

She was hurt by a Mother Jones article that disclosed audio tapes of a Martinez campaign staffer in 2010 making disparaging remarks to her about then-House Speaker Lujan. Soon after she was on TV with endorsements from two Hispanic northern Dem mayors to tamp down any discontent the remarks may have caused in the Spanish North.

She then came with ads claiming she solved the state's largest budget deficit in history, reminded voters that she had sold the state jet and used the proceeds for education and also fired the chef at the Governor's Mansion. She finished her TV run by morphing all five of the Dem contenders into images of Governor Richardson whose final term left him unpopular and who Martinez used as her chief foil in defeating Diane Denish in 2010.

The ads were criticized for their content, seemingly disconnected as they were from the economic and social realities in the state which has been in a nonstop recession/stagnation since she took office. But the ads did showcase Martinez's appealing TV persona and her likability. It is those factors--along with being the first female Hispanic Governor--that have kept her approval ratings solid, despite the state's decline to last or nearly last in the nation in job creation and other key economic indicators.

Also, the Dem Guv rivals had neither the money nor the predilection to hold her feet to the fire. They were urged to fire at her harder by Dem partisans who fear a low primary turnout would put their party in a serious hole.

So with $4.3 million in cash on hand and no hits from the Dems that caused deep wounds, Martinez will awaken Wednesday where she started the year--as the favorite for re-election.


The open secret of the campaign is that the Dems can't win unless they peel off Hispanic voters--especially Dems who went with Martinez four years ago. An exit poll said that in 2010 she won 38 percent of the statewide Hispanic vote. So where will the Republican Guv be Primary Election Night? She will nestle in the citadel of New Mexico Democrats---the ABQ South Valley. There she will host  celebration at Abuelita's New Mexican Kitchen beginning at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. There she will begin the task of keeping on board the Democrats who crossed over to her in 2010.


She took her shot and now he fires back. Former Governor Bill Richardson who Governor Martinez trotted out with renewed scorn in her latest campaign TV ad gave as good as he got in a to-the-point interview we had with him this weekend.

First, we asked for comment on that Martinez ad that has his face replacing that of all five Dem Guv candidates and the narrator intoning: "Five politicians--same old failed agenda." Martinez finishes the spot on camera and takes this poke at Richardson: "Let's focus on moving forward not turning back."
The former two-term Governor told us:

I was flabbergasted at that ad. I intended to spend the summer as a private citizen then all of a sudden I see attacks on me when I've been out of office for four years. It just shows the emptiness of Governor Martinez's record and the negativity of her campaign. It shows that she is going to be relentless in her attacks on me and the Democratic nominee. The reason she is doing it is because she has a do-nothing record--an abysmal record of zero accomplishments--literally. No job creation, terrible education statistics and the well-being of our kids at last in the nation. She has to resort to lies and rhetoric such as the state jet which is long gone, claiming that she balanced the budget which is untrue, waging a campaign of fear against teachers, against mental health providers and against illegal immigrants who can't defend themselves. It is embodiment of a record that is totally bereft of any accomplishments for the future. This should be a race on her record, on where New Mexico is going to go in the next four years--not dredging up  the years when I was Governor. And most will remember my governorship as successful, especially my first term....

So if you were still holding forth on the Fourth Floor of the Merry Roundhouse, what would you do, Bill?

She doesn't recruit new jobs and new business..if anything I used that state jet she campaigns about to go after new businesses, new movies, new high tech firms, new renewable energy companies. You have tor recruit. You have to go to them. There is no active economic development effort....

Our educational standards are another issue. You need a dialogue with parents and teachers and not this constant attack on teachers as well as constant excessive testing.

Thirdly, you need in area of health care you need a combination of public private partnerships and try to get the best of Obamacare...

What she is doing as governor is just pursuing a right wing agenda of constantly going after illegal immigrants, constantly blaming Democrats for failures of her own administration and then there are these ridiculous efforts to try to stain Democrats like myself. She put forth that ridiculous effort in Las Cruces to pin the mantle o corruption on Democratic appointed judge. That Las Cruces thing with that judge was unpardonable. And her using the law enforcement system to track down employees who have bumper stickers opposing her. That borders on criminality.


So if it's so bad why is the Guv still a fave for re-election and why did the head of the Dem Guv association recently say the New Mexico race is not one they think they can win?

I am going to work personally to turn around the perception that we don't have a chance of defeating her. I will personally talk to governors about that.

In politics you never know what is going to happen. Her 55 percent approval is not that great. It's good but it shows that there's potential for an insurgent candidacy. I think the Democrats are starting to turn around and realizing that is all our responsibility to combine to defeat her. New Mexico is trending as a Democratic state.

If she continues these attacks on me and the Democrats without a vision of her own for the future and you combine that with her lackluster, nonextistne negative record. she could be one of the big upsets this year and lose her governorship. I have seen it happen. You can never assume certainty in politics.

Richardson said he does not plan on regularly remarking about the campaign but that if Martinez "continues to promote me I am going to respond. I am not going to to sit back."

Richardson, 66, spoke to us from Cape Cod where he spends the summer months. The rest of the year he lives in Santa Fe. He consults internationally and recently finished a book on diplomacy. He also remains a regular on the national TV talk show circuit.


Dem state treasurer candidate Tim Eichenberg came with a final hours TV ad responding to harsh attacks on him by foe John Wertheim. He bought time on broadcast and cable....Alan Webber wins the endorsement of the Las Cruces Sun-News. Lawrence Rael gets the nod from the Las Vegas Daily Optic. . . Howie Morales comes with a last minute TV buy.. . . State Dems will hold their Election Night party tomorrow at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown ABQ....In a first draft Friday we said Gary King had loaned his campaign over $300,000. Actually, it is over $500,000.


Join us for our continuous coverage of Primary '14 on KANW 89.1 FM in ABQ/ Santa Fe starting at 6:45 PM Tuesday. The broadcast can also be heard at kanw.com. We'll have the inside scoop on what went down and what we can next expect.


We blogged of a lawsuit leveled against attorney Paul Kennedy by the sister of Mary Han, the former law partner of Kennedy whose controversial death continues to make headlines. Kennedy comes with this response.


Mayor Berry came out of the bunker to do a TV news interview to shoot down criticism that his hiring of two APD consultants presented a conflict of interest because the consultants have a business relationship with Taser International. That company has received millions in no bid contracts with the city, assisted by former APD Chief Ray Schultz who is now a Taser consultant. Berry did not do much to clear up the matter, saying the subject has not come up.  He said:

That (Taser) wasn't a topic of discussion because that's not what we hired them to do.. . .No, I didn't ask, didn't ask. That wasn't something that we were asking them to do. . .

Well, is it time to ask?

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