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Monday, June 29, 2015

Guv's Machine Appears Poised To Play Hardball With Council Candidate, Plus: Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling Hits Home For Dem Chair, And: How Much For Dems To Defend State Senate? 

It appears the Guv's political machine will play some hardball in that ABQ city council race featuring their arch-enemy Pat Davis. Hess "Hessito" Yntema, a Republican and son of Hess Yntema, a former two term city councilor from the SE Heights district, has joined the fray to succeed retiring Dem Councilor Garduño

Dem Davis, 37, runs the activist group ProgressNow NM and has been a major thorn in the side of the Martinez administration, repeatedly investigating and chiding the administration and often with effect. He is the odds-on favorite to take the seat in this most liberal of the nine council districts. It includes the neighborhoods around UNM. He has qualified for public financing and will receive about $40,000. Two other lesser known candidates are collecting petitions for the race but Davis and Yntema are the two players.

If Davis takes the seat he will have a forum to take on Republican Mayor Berry. Former city councilor and veteran political consultant Greg Payne says that's why the Guv's machine is surfacing:

They don't have a realistic chance of taking the seat but they're going to rough up Davis in the hope of making him less effective against Berry--when he gets on the council. This will make his road bumpier but it will be more like stepping over pebbles, not boulders.

Yntema is 28 and will have some residual name ID from his father who served from the district from 87-91 and 99-'03. Like his father, Yntema is an attorney. He worked for several months under the wing of the Republican Mayor at the city's legal department. He did not try to qualify for public financing so the money for any hits on Davis is expected to come from the Guv's apparatus as it has against her past political foes.

NO RUSH

Despite the recent raise in pay for incoming councilors to $17,500 a year there's no rush to be a councilor. North Valley Dem Councilor Ike Benton is unopposed in the October election. Republican Councilor Trudy Jones in the NE Heights is also getting a free ride. Today is the deadline for council candidates in the four districts up for election to submit their required petition signatures. The final field in the two contested districts will then be set. The council races are officially nonpartisan. The council currently has 5 D's and 4 R's.

PERSONAL IMPACT

Haaland & daughter
The Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage across the nation was very personal for NM Dem Party Chair Debra Haaland and daughter Somáh:

As the mother of a lesbian daughter, I am thrilled to know that her future is free from barriers to marry whomever she wishes. Somáh came out to me as a senior in high school and since that time she has advocated for acceptance of this fundamental right. I share this victory with her. 

Polls show a majority of Republicans still oppose gay marriage as do many older Americans. Southern GOP US Rep. Steve Pearce, the sole member of the state's congressional delegation, summed up the opposing view:

I was deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court's activist decision which ignores the Constitution, the will of the people in the states, and our religious liberty. I respect every individual’s right to liberty. However, marriage has always been and will always be the union between one man and one woman. Moreover, every child deserves both a father and a mother. We are a nation of laws, not of men, and not of arbitrary rule. This ruling casts aside the Constitution, the voice of the people, longstanding precedent, and the natural law. The legal definition and regulation of marriage should continue to be left to the will of the people in the 50 states and their elected representatives.

$5 MILLION PLEASE

The cost of the legislative races in NM next year is sure to set another record. Dem insiders say Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez is busy these days trying to raise $5 million to defend the Dem Senate majority. All 42 Senate seats are up for election as are the 70 state House seats. Sanchez will look to big labor for much of the financing. Sanchez will argue that with a GOP state House the Senate has been key in stopping anti-labor legislation like right-to-work. However, he'll argue, if the Senate drifts more to the R's it could join with the GOP-controlled House to push through right-to-work and other bills opposed by labor.

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