Friday, September 25, 2015

Dems Tripped Up Again; Their Leading Candidate To Replace SOS Duran Takes Ethics Hit As Duran Future Gets Hazier, Plus: Our Bottom Lines 

Oliver & Duran
New Mexico Democrats can't buy a break. With Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran on the ropes and the Dems all set to run Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver for the post if Duran is forced out, what happens? Oliver's campaign lays a big egg:

. . . After announcing a bipartisan effort to train 250 more voter registrars Tuesday, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver sent out an email asking for contributions “to support the work we’re doing.” But the solicitation was from Toulouse Oliver’s political action committee, MaggiePac, and any funds sent in response to the email won’t go to the new county campaign to recruit third-party voter registration agents.
Instead, any money will flow to Toulouse Oliver’s PAC, which she launched this year to support women who run for higher office who are pro-abortion rights, support full equality and will advocate to protect and expand voting rights.

Sure, it's kind of esoteric but in the politically charged environment surrounding the SOS scandal, it is perfect fodder for the Guv's Machine when the time comes. Nothing like a big front-page story on ethics problems for one of those 30 second attack ads (and, of course, a pious editorial that will soon appear chastising her).

They are used to beating up on Maggie. She was pummeled by the Machine in TV attack ads that went unanswered when she ran and lost to Duran in 2014.

Oliver's supporters say the path is clear for her to run unopposed for the SOS nomination if SOS Duran should resign in the next year and there is a '16 election to fill out the final two years of her term, but this kind of rookie mistake begs for a Hispanic challenger to get into any contest. Absent a challenge, if Duran resigns and Gov. Martinez gets to appoint a new SOS, that incumbent will have ammo to portray Oliver as ethically challenged and lump her in with Duran. Not good.

The Alligators have been saying it for years--until the Dems bring into this state consultants and pros who can match up with those of the Guv's Machine and play error-free, aggressive offense, they are going to keep hurting. And hurting.


Meanwhile, embattled SOS Duran emerged this week on TV screens statewide to pronounce that she is back to work. That came after weeks of being MIA following the attorney general filing criminal charges against her over her handling of her campaign funds.

This bizarre episode in state politics is now fraught with uncertainty. Duran's lawyer is trying to buy time and drag the case out. Duran is not going to resign anytime soon and whether the House will impeach her during the January legislative session has become  murky. Even if she is impeached, Duran could play hardball and not resign as expected. The case would then go to the Senate for trial where getting an impeachment conviction for the first time in state history could be problematic.

If Duran can survive another year, there will be no '16 election to fill the rest of her term which expires at the end of '18. She could resign after the '16 election and the GOP Guv appoints a replacement who then runs in the lower voter turnout year of '18, instead of the presidential year of '16 when turnout is higher. We earlier labeled the Dems chances of taking back the SOS office a "no-brainer." Now it's looking more like brain surgery.


We remembered the life and times of former APD Chief Bob Stover on the blog this week (see Monday's blog). Stover, 79, died Thursday morning. "He was among the best chiefs the city has had," offered retired APD officer and former police union head Mark Bralley who took the photographs of Stover posted here and who has been in La Politica since the 60's. He added: "I don't doubt we would not be in the conundrum we are with APD today if Bob had been chief."

The viewing will take place Thursday, October 1 at the Daniels Family Funeral home on Wyoming. The funeral with full police honors will take place next Friday at Hoffmantown Church.


This week's papal visit was up front and personal for a number of New Mexicans, including Allen Sanchez, executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, who was invited to four events featuring the Pope. . . Northern Dem Congressman Ben Ray Lujan took his mother Carmen to see the pontiff speak before a joint session of Congress. He was also a member of the escort committee that took Francis to the House chamber for the joint session. Senator Udall was accompanied by Archbishop John Wester.  Each member was allotted one ticket to take a guest inside the chamber.

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