Monday, July 07, 2014

Guv Race Stalls As King-Martinez Cash Gap Grows Ever Larger But A Dem Leader Says No Reason For Despair Plus: T-Shirt Pushback; Readers On Why Susana Really Switched Parties, And: More On The Feds And APD  

Gary King doesn't need to match Susana Martinez dollar for dollar, but if you can't make the ante in a poker game you don't get a seat at the table. With $116,000 in cash on hand at the end of June compared to Martinez's $4.3 million, King is still vastly short of what he needs to get in the game.

Our Alligators reported last month that King had pumped another $200,000 of his own cash into the campaign to finance TV ads. The latest campaign finance reports confirm that, bringing King's personal loans to over $500,000.

King only attracted $120,000 in contributions, despite winning the five way Dem Guv primary June 3. The money report covered the period from May 28 to June 28. 

Meanwhile, Martinez was raking in $869,000 during the month and spending nearly as much. And she again reported $4.3 million in cash on hand---an astounding 37 times as much as King.

It's becoming increasingly clear that King is on his own and that if we're to have a competitive Governor's race, he is going to have to dig deeper into his own wallet. His other hope is that some kind of news event comes along that delivers a body blow to Martinez and changes the perception of the race and attracts donors.

How much does King need? Campaign insiders have previously said at least $2 million to get on the air, stay there and put heat on the Guv, especially when it comes to the economy and jobs.  


The Republican Governors Association (RGA) has been deeply entwined with Martinez since the start of her statewide political career, donating hundreds of thousands to her election campaigns. The RGA reports it spent $571,000 on TV ads in June attacking King.

The huge dollars the RGA has flooded the state with have not come without questions. Is the RGA getting donations from folks who do business with the state of NM? We know the owners of the Downs at ABQ who were awarded a lucrative and highly controversial 25 year racino lease have been large donors to the RGA. Others?


No matter the money mismatch Chavez County Dem Party Chairman Fred Moran tells his party brethren across the stat not to despair over King's chances:

Joe, I recall 2012 when state Senator Tim Jennings was running for re-election against a little known high school graduate from Chaves County's dairyland. No one expected Jennings to lose, however when he was caught off guard defending against the attacks and spent no time running on a stellar 36 year record, thats exactly what happened. He lost!

Susana's team is doing the same now with Gary King. She's firing all the big guns at once hoping King takes the bait and wastes money taking a defensive position. There is a long time between now and November and plenty of money available for Gary's campaign to defend, he just chooses to keep his powder dry until its time to drop the other shoe.

That's when the Martinez camp will have to defend her indefensible and dismal record of cronyism and corruption, her administration's failures for the last four years and the devastating effect they've had on New Mexico. It's all fair game for King and I'm sure he is well aware of how to use it to his advantage.

I have a message for the naysayers. When Gary King came out of the preprimary convention in last place, Democrats counted him out. But in the June primary King won by double digits against a solid field of candidates. I've handicapped these races before with much success. I'm with King and so is the smart money!

We agree there is "plenty of money" for King to defend, Fred. But it appears it may have to be mostly his own. If he is willing to go there, your argument takes on added meaning.


Here are the latest finance reports for all the '14 statewide candidates. As we previously blogged Dem AG candidate Hector Balderas leads the pack with nearly $800,000 in cash on hand. The AP reports Balderas received $10,000 from Paul Blanchard, a part owner of the Downs of ABQ. Balderas, as state auditor, investigated the aforementioned racino lease. His report found violations of the state procurement code. The FBI has conducted interviews about the awarding of the lease.


Readers rushed to their keyboard to push back against Martinez's latest fund-raising gimmick that we blogged of Friday. Her campaign is selling a t-shirt for $25 a pop that exclaims, "I'll be damned, I'm a Republican!" She says she came to that realization years ago after she and her husband had lunch with a pair of R's and discussed the major issues, but readers see a different motivation for that notable party switch. Democratic activist Theresa Trujeque writes:

I find it quite interesting that the Governor's story on how she became a Republican is on a t-shirt. I think it should really read "I ran for District Attorney as a Republican because the sitting District Attorney running for reelection was a Democrat and I knew I had no chance of winning in a primary so I became a Republican." Her t-shirt could also read "I became a Republican because I damn well knew I had no chance of becoming the "Hispanic" in the Democratic Party as it already has many well qualified female and male Hispanics in offices across the country."

Those are pretty lengthy slogans for a t-shirt, Theresa, but we get the point.

Reader Patsy Romero writes:

I am from Las Cruces and the only reason Susan switched parties is because she wanted to run against Greg Valdez for District Attorney and could not get the Democratic nomination. She then changed parties so that she could challenge Greg. As with many of her "political lines" the truth is she is deceptive, ambitious and does not care who she steps on to reach a higher level.

An anonymous reader came with more:

The real reason that Martinez switched from Dem to Republican was that she was solicited to do so by then-Gov Gary Johnson as payback for her predecessor's participation in a successful lawsuit against Johnson. It was a challenge to "Governor No's" guerrilla budget tactics. Martinez had been fired by her predecessor Greg Valdez and was going to run against him anyway when Johnson contacted her and offered Republican financial backing to get even with her predecessor for participating in the suit. That's when she switched.


The Feds are remaining very tight-lipped about the fatal shooting of a suspect by a deputy U.S marshal last Tuesday. We aren't even getting the name or gender of the suspect. The shooting was the fourth time this year a deputy marshal shot someone in NM this year. It brings this reaction from law enforcement watchdog and retired APD Seargent Dan Klein:

Justified or not the Department of Justice must explain to the citizens of Albuquerque and local law enforcement nationwide why they mandate certain things for local cops, but don’t mandate them for the cops they control. US Marshall’s work under the Department of Justice. Yet the DoJ doesn’t give them lapel cameras or even tape recorders. They don’t mandate that their own officers record interactions with citizens. Isn’t that the problem with the Federal government? They want local cops to do things that they don’t do. This needs to change, especially because of the expanded role Federal law enforcement is playing in our nation.

Meanwhile, on the APD beat, it's been presumed that negotiations between the Justice Department and the city of ABQ over a consent decree to reform APD were well underway. But that is apparently  not the case. So what's the hold up?

The Justice Department released its 46-page report of findings on April 10. Officials have said that’s just the first phase of a long process that ultimately will result in a either court-enforceable consent decree, signed by the DOJ and the city, or a lawsuit against the city to force sweeping reforms of APD. . . . To reach an agreement, the city and Justice Department lawyers must enter into formal negotiations. But the negotiations have not yet begun, News 13 has learned. APD Chief Eden said he couldn’t speak to that. “I’m not part of the negotiations,” he said. “That’s between the City Attorney’s Office, our special counsel that’s been hired and the Department of Justice. “So I can’t provide you with any information."

Officials are saying it could take up to six months to negotiate an agreement and years to implement proposed changes. And even longer if the negotiators don't start negotiating sometime soon.

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