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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

On the Trail: What Would The R's Do If They Take The State House? Plus: Looking At Dunn Vs. Powell, And: 2010 Guv Nominee Blogs In On '14 

What should we expect if the NM GOP pulls off the upset and takes control of the state House for the first time in over 60 years? Radio talk show host Richard Eeds posed that intriguing question to us . We responded that we see the R's trying to stick to an economic agenda and not wading into the controversial social issues like abortion that the Bible Belt R's may want to take on.

Specifically, if the R's take command and Gov. Martinez is re-elected we would expect a play for a right-to-work-law and a push for additional tax cuts. That doesn't mean there won't be a fight over the social issues but most of it will be within the House GOP caucus. . .

By the way, would any of that GOP House agenda stand a chance of passing the state Senate and making it to the Governor's desk? It might, if the conservative coalition that runs the chamber still holds power. . .

Eeds is an ardent environmentalist and said he's not worried about rancher Aubrey Dunn defeating incumbent Dem Land Commissioner Ray Powell. Dunn is one of the few statewide candidates up on TV and is also advertising heavily on the Internet. Eeds says Powell, the longest-serving land commissioner in NM history, is well-known and opposition to him is not that great on the conservative east side. Dunn would need to score big there to pull off the surprise.

Powell has crossed swords with the base of the Dem Party for not embracing the proposed constitutional amendment to use money form the $14 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund for very early childhood programs. He proposed an alternative, but a recent poll shows overwhelmingly public support for the amendment. That gives Powell room to take a second look at it after the election.

In the money race, at the end of August Dunn had about $150,000 cash on hand and Powell had roughly $119,000.

Back on Dunn for a minute, you may recall that he once sought the GOP nomination for the southern congressional seat. The PR he is drumming up with this campaign might be a prelude to another run for that seat when Rep. Steve Pearce, 67, ends his run.

NAME THE BRANCHES

If you're reading this blog, you're way ahead of the curve:

A poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania found many Americans don't know how the government works. The poll showed only 36% of Americans could name all three branches of the government and 35% couldn't name any of them. It also found over 60% of Americans don't know which political party controls the House of Representatives and the US Senate.

Well, the way the Congress has been acting, maybe ignorance is bliss.

DENISH BLOGS IN

Diane Denish, the 2010 Dem Guv nominee, blogs in on the events of the day:

This picture is a good depiction of the Governor (with her new Rick Perry look) and her protector, Kent Walz, editor of the ABQ Journal, looking smug as a bug in a rug. It was interesting that she chose to brag at Monday's gubernatorial forum about a company that is bringing 50 jobs to Rio Rancho from California. Over 4 years, 50 jobs, now were cookin!

On a recent return trip from Denver, my observations about the Albuquerque Sunport were similar to those you had on your Monday blog. Dismal. It made me long for the days when there was a high-end destination restaurant on the upper floor, where Albuquerqueans gathered for good food, watched the foot traffic of travelers, and conversed about what might be in our future. Leaders gathering for serious talk of the future with vibrancy and hope, not just putting on a new set of glasses to appear to be serious while reading a script.

And on that op-ed piece from former GOP Chairman Harvey Yates criticizing the Governor, it was humorous that he now wants to shut down the monster he helped to create--Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey. Be careful what you wish for comes to mind, Harvey. But he did get one thing correct -- the short sighted progressives (Democrats) created the fundraising web that now emboldens Martinez and hampers King.

THE SUNPORT REPORT

Reader Jonathan Lee writes of our ABQ Sunport adventure:

Joe, One thing I kept waiting to read in your Tuesday blog but it wasn't there: how crowded were the flights to/from NYC? PS: Thanks for ending on a positive note about our nice airport, I really appreciate that after getting past the doom and gloom portion of your piece.

Jonathan, The flight was not packed but it appeared to be at least 80% full and that's about the overall passenger rate JetBlue reports for the ABQ/NYC flights. We did a one way trip on JetBlue and returned from the city via another airline. The midnight flight is nonstop and gets you into NY at 6 in the morning. That can leave you lagging for a while. Here's a suggestion: Take another airline out of ABQ, but return on the bargain JetBlue flight that leaves NYC around 8 p.m. and arrives in ABQ at 11 p.m.

NOT THRILLED

Reader Mary Jean Murphy is not happy about the recent NM Supreme Court ruling allowing "advisory" questions on the election ballot:

Joe: I was thrilled to hear of the plan of the Chaves County Commission to add their important topics to their ballots down there---legals getting drivers licenses, right to work, etc. It’s good to hear that both liberals and conservatives will take advantage of this poorly thought out decision passed by the NM Supreme Court. Let’s go ahead and clog up the ballots so that  people will quit voting in disgust. It won’t be the Republicans who will not vote, I can tell you that. Also for all the pot lovers, did everybody read the news report last week about the young man who coaches for the Academy hitting and killing a bicyclist who tested out for high use of cannabis? So, for everybody who says people won’t have accidents using pot – there’s #1 (maybe more than that).

Bernalillo and Santa Fe County voters will be asked Nov. 4 to give their opinion on decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The vote will have no legal impact. But Mary Jean doesn't have to worry about the Chaves County ballot being overrun with advisory measures. The deadline to get them on the ballot has passed.

HIKING FOR VETS

Reader Lisa Schatz-Vance at NM Legal Aid asked for help in supporting this hike today through the Grand Canyon to raise funds for veterans in need of legal assistance?

Beginning at 2 A.M MST on September 24th, Matt Vance and Pawel Listwan will step off the South Rim from the Bright Angel Trailhead. The hike will be "rim-to-rim-to-rim," from the South Rim to the Canyon floor, up to the North Rim, back down and up to the South Rim again, all in 22 hours or less. The hike will feature over 20,000 feet of elevation change, and a 45-degree swing in temperature. Get up to the minute live updates on the progress of their trek by liking the Facebook page and you can make a donation in support of the hike here.

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