Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Tracking The Trail: An Optics Problem For Susana And Gary Goes Into The Weeds, Plus: Top Martinez Aide Squeezed Out Finds Way Back, And: Some Summer Reading 

Gov. Martinez is running into an optics problem with her latest TV ad in which she says NM is 1st in the nation in improving high school graduation rates. The recent news conflicts with Martinez's assertion that the state is climbing out of the education cellar. For example, the percentage of state students scoring at or above grade level in reading and math is lower than five years ago and NM was named one of the five worst states for education. These conflicts with her TV spot would be more pronounced if Dem Guv nominee Gary King was up and running, but his campaign is still in catch-up mode, leaving the field for Martinez to play on alone. . .

King's campaign was unavailable for comment when the Farmington Daily times recently covered a stump speech by Susana in which she again highlighted her modest successes at education reform. To balance out the article the paper quoted snippets from King's web site. By not being available and getting on the horn with the paper King lost an opportunity. Not the end of the world, but when you're trying to unseat an incumbent you need every opportunity you can get. . .

While the economic issue hangs there like a ripe plum to be picked, King seems to be getting lost in the weeds below the plum tree. From his campaign:

Gary King is going to New Mexico’s highest court to force Secretary of State Dianna Duran to do her job when it comes to honestly interpreting the Campaign Reporting Act. . . The lawsuit points to Duran’s accusation that King exceeded campaign donation limits, while allowing Martinez to do the same thing Duran cites as illegal.

Nothing causes a voter's eyes to glaze over faster than politicians fighting about campaign contributions.

King urgently needs to change the conversation, not play into the hands of his foes by talking about what they want to talk about. But you already knew that. . .

Just how disconnected is Martinez"s campaign to the key economic issue? Look at this from a recent fund-raising pitch she sent out:

As we continue to move New Mexico forward, what do you think are the biggest issues facing our great state? Take my survey and let me know. Whether it is protecting our Second Amendment rights, appealing the dangerous law granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants or pushing for more reforms in education, I want to hear from you.

Only in Susanaland could driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants be suggested as possibly the biggest issue facing this severely economically challenged state. Again, if the Dems and King don't want to drive the conversation, she will. . . .


Dem US Senator Tom Udall brushes up against the state's sour economy in his latest TV spot. He takes credit for keeping Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis from shutting down and argues that he is fighting for funding for the state's national labs--Los Alamos and Sandia. 

Udall did indeed play a major role in securing Cannon's future, but funding for Los Alamos has declined substantially in the past five years and there have been major layoffs there. The ABQ Sandia Labs budget has been flat at best.

The decline in federal spending is a major contributor to the state's economic woes and might be used against Udall by his GOP opponent Allen Weh. But then Weh is the anti big government conservative who blames the woes of the world on DC. Is there much of a chance we'll see Weh on TV questioning the Senator's effectiveness when it comes to bringing home the pork?


Former GOP State Rep. Brian Moore (2001-2008) started with high hopes when he joined the Martinez administration in 2011 as deputy chief of staff, but he was squeezed out and ended up as the state's lobbyist in DC. And again he was squeezed out by inner circle Martinez players. Now Moore of Clayton has found his way back to the Roundhouse--this time as a lobbyist for the NM Association of Counties. Do you think he's finally safe?. . .

The good news for ABQ Dem freshman US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is that she is widely seen as winning re-election in November. The bad news for her is that the GOP is gong to continue to control the US House leaving her way out of the action.

Her GOP opponent is the unheralded Dr. Michael Frese. He's bringing in southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce Friday morning for a fund-raiser at the Hotel Albuquerque. Pearce may be looking to add some fund-raisers to his own schedule. Rocky Lara, his Dem opponent, has already raised nearly $1 million. . . .


Gov. Hannett
In these dog days of summer we're enjoying "Sagebrush Lawyer," the autobiography of NM Governor Arthur Hannett (1925-27). He was a native New Yorker who came out to Gallup in 1911 and eventually became the town's mayor and then went on to the governorship. Hannett, a Democrat, spins quite a tale--most of which we're sure is true :). The book is out of print but a collectible edition is listed on Amazon.com for $100. We borrowed ours from a relative of the late governor's. At those prices maybe we should rent it out. . .

Former ABQ Dem State Senator Dede Feldman came with a book earlier this year--"Inside the NM Senate: Boots, Suits and Citizens." We are just now getting to it and enjoying its many anecdotes of insider life at the Roundhouse. It's available here for $17, much less than Gov. Hannett's, but then his has more sex in it. . .

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

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