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Monday, September 29, 2014

Guv Race Starting To Look Eerily Like '13 ABQ Mayor Contest; Dem Worries Grow Over Turnout; King Still Dark On Tube As Martinez Hammers Away, Plus: Susana Touts Some Job Growth But She Can't Fool The Bear 

The calender turns to October this week and still no TV ads from Dem Guv hopeful Gary King. No wonder two major polls now have him dropping below 40%. Gov. Martinez has smothered the air with a wave of attack ads that have gone unanswered before hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans.

It is eerily akin to the 2013 ABQ mayoral race when Dem Pete Dinelli was so financially outgunned he too could not put up TV to respond to the barrage of attacks against him. Republican Mayor Berry went on to score an historic winning margin of 68%.

In the Rasmussen Poll conducted last week King polled 37% to Martinez's 50%. The survey was of 800 likely voters and somewhat mimics the ABQ Journal survey from mid-September that showed Martinez at 54% and King at 36%. Most veteran politics watchers put the Governor's top line number at 55%, but that assumes a spirited media challenge from her foe. If she doesn't get one, that assumption is called into question. The first Rasmussen survey back in July showed the Guv race tied 43% to 43% but it was seen as an outlier. . . .

King began the contest in the Journal's August poll at 41% to Martinez's 50%. What followed may be looked back upon as the crucial moment. King did not come with a wave of attack ads to bring Martinez down below the magic 50% level and get the race talked about and the money flowing. Instead, Martinez accelerated her attacks and brought King down about five points and kept herself above the critical number.

Now, if and when King comes with a sizable media buy, much of it will go to take him back to where he began--at that 41% mark. Getting to 50% looks steeper than ever. So steep that Rasmussen is ranking the race "safe Republican." That may be just a dash premature as no significant attacks have been leveled against Martinez and we don't know with certainty how the public will respond. But that's a quibble. In-person early voting--when thousands of ballots are cast each day--begins Oct. 18, leaving King little time to get the race in contention.

King is going to have to throw a round of Molotov cocktails and Martinez is going to have self-immolate by making a big mistake to get the race in play. King--who loaned his primary campaign about $500,000-- can be expected to come with around $250,000 more of his own, according to insiders. That's enough to set off a firecracker, but not much fireworks. . .

IT'S THE TURNOUT

It's the turnout that is now of concern to Dems. If the King-Martinez race is a dud, will we see voters staying home as they did in the ABQ mayoral contest and inflate the incumbent's winning margin? If they do stay away it would play to the Governor whose conservative supporters are the most likely to vote. Marginally involved Dems are the most likely to throw in the towel before Election Day. And that's how a Republican gubernatorial candidate could get beyond the 55% mark.

Insider polling shows Martinez has few if any coattails in the key legislative districts that will determine control of the NM House of Representatives. Again, the issue is turnout. If discouraged Dems are put off by a run away at the top of the ticket, they could shy away from voting and give the R's a better shot at the House, down-ballot statewide races and local judgeships. However, from what we are seeing the Dems are putting up a good fight in the key House districts--and unlike King--they have the money to do it.

One unknown that is soon to become known is whether any of Martinez's ample cash kitty--some $3.8 million at the end of August--will find its way into the House races. If she thinks she has put away King early perhaps the odds of it increase. Martinez is limited by state law on how big a donation she can accept--$5200 per election per donor--but experts we consulted say she is not limited on what she can donate to a super PAC. Such a PAC could be used to wage combat against the Dems in the House battle and could also pump money into a down-ballot race or two. Stay tuned. . .

KORTING KING

While King has been shot off his horse by Martinez and is being dragged from behind it through the streets of Laredo, he is trying to get off a few shots against her in social media. He comes with two campaign ads on YouTube here and here. The first one features ABQ Public School Board member Kathy Korte arguing on behalf of King, saying:

I don't want Susana back because she's taken away control from local school boards and we as school board should be able to serve our communities the best way we know how...

UDALL VS. WEH 

Rasmussen has it at 52% for Udall and 39% for Weh in a poll conducted last week. The Senate race is ranked safe Democrat

THE ABQ BEAR

Martinez is out with an ad that skirts the economic implosion that has occurred under her watch by saying the state has added 30,000 private sector jobs since she took office in January of 2011. But we are last in the nation in job creation and ABQ is the only metro area in the USA in a double-dip recession, says the Brookings Institution. Also, the state is seeing an outmigration as the economic malaise deepens. But Susana and Jay know all of that all too well. That they can come with an ad claiming economic progress just shows that the amount of hubris grows proportionate to their lead in the polls. But at this point the Dems have only themselves to blame. . .

The Dems may fear Susana and company, but the Bear Market fears no one. And on it marches, mauling Susana's beloved private sector like it hasn't been mauled since the 30's. The latest:

Lauren Home Fine Furnishings--which occupies 42,000 square feet at 4401 Wyoming NE--is preparing to permanently close, owner John Jones confirmed. A veteran furniture retailer, Jones said business the past year has been as bad as any he’s seen in the last 16 years.

"It’s just an unfavorable business climate here in Albuquerque. I thought it would come back a little more here. This year just had a steady decline, and I don’t see it getting any better here for the next two, three year."

Lauren Home will become the latest in a string of furniture stores to close in ABQ. In less than two years, the closures have included Leishman Interiors, Valley Furniture Warehouse and Baby Furniture & Accessories.

Maybe the Dems and King can put Jones or one of his 14 soon-to-be out of work employees in one of their TV ads like Susana is doing with victims of the Casanova Con whose early prison release she pins on King. Oh, we forgot. The Dems have no TV message. . .

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
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