Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Bg Labor To the Rescue: It Comes With Big Money To Save State House For The Dems, Plus: Lawsuit To Allow Indys To Vote In Party Primaries Draws Critique 

Democratic Party interest groups may be taking a pass on the '14 NM Guv race, but they're starting to get as serious as a heart attack when it comes to keeping the state House from falling under the control of the Republicans for the first time in 60 years:

Labor unions have contributed $180,000 to a political committee that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence legislative and other state races in New Mexico. The political action committee Patriot Majority New Mexico received $100,000 from an American Federation of Teachers' political committee last month and $80,000 from a committee of AFSCME  in late May, according to campaign reports. The PAC was a top spender in NM's legislative races two years ago when Democrats retained majorities in the House and Senate. Patriot Majority is a "super PAC" that's free from campaign contribution limits because it independently advocates the election or defeat of candidates. Its campaign work cannot be coordinated with candidates. 

And former Big Bill Richardson Chief of Staff Dave Conatrino is reprising his role from 2012. Campaign reports say he's been paid $19,000 for strategic services by Patriot Majority. Contarino, along with consultant Amanda Cooper--daughter of US Sen. Tom Udall--headed up Patriot Majority when it was successful in assisting such state senators as Majority Leader Michael Sanchez who Governor Martinez had targeted for defeat.

The resurrection of Patriot Majority is sure to calm some Dem fears that  Gov. Martinez and company would overwhelm them financially this fall. House Speaker Ken Martinez is raising additional hundreds of thousands to protect his majority. About 10 of the 70 state House seats will see the bulk of the cash raised by both sides. The R's need to pick up four seats to take control.


That lawsuit drawing attention this summer  that aims to allow New Mexico's independent voters to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries draws this comment from Santa Fe Dem Party Chair Richard Ellenberg:

The US Supreme Court case in Tashjian vs. Republican Party of Connecticut (1986) holds that it is up to the party, and not the state, to decide who participates in its primary based upon the right of association in the First Amendment. In Tashjian the State of Connecticut attempted to change who participated in the Republican Primary, and the Republican Party objected. The Supreme Court held the State could not tell the party who was eligible to vote in its primary. It is hard to see how this suit about State law will be able to go anywhere in light of this Tashjian and the Supremacy clause. Given how more people are filling as decline to state, discussion inside the parties of this issue is worth having. Including independents in the primary might assist in prevailing in November. But some feel very strongly that if one is not even willing to register under the party name, then why should they help determine that parties nominees?


Since ABQ is languishing at or near the bottom of every national economic indicator, reader Rick Allan in Anthony, NM says it's time to look more outward:

One of your readers thought that it was strange that the UNM President should be devoting resources to economic development . I would recommend to the reader a book by Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley of The Brookings Institution called The Metropolitan Revolution (How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy). In it are  examples from throughout the country of collaborations and innovation “clusters” and networks among universities and public and private entities generating economic movement and growth. The overarching thesis is that  it is metro regions where transformative governance will and must take place --where “stuff” will get done. So I think UNM President Bob Frank is right on and he has a lot of company. I would add that the City of Albuquerque should be in the forefront of the “Metropolitan Revolution” as anyone who reads this book would conclude. That it isn’t speaks volumes. All responsible elected officials and others who want New Mexico to advance should spend some time learning about all the other metro areas around the country that are smartly moving forward--way ahead of Albuquerque.

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