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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday Headlines: Shots Fired In Hot Council Race, Duran Vs. Brandt, Susana On Big Bill Path?, Latest State Senate Action And Teen Angst 

As expected, it appears the Guv's political machine is starting to beat up on ABQ Dem city council hopeful Pat Davis. Dem precinct chairman Mike Folsom comes with the blow-by-blow on the hit against Davis, an arch-rival of the Guv's who runs the liberal website ProgressNow NM:

I just got my first push poll ever for a City Council election Wednesday night. Essentially it was a hit piece on Pat Davis about his 2013 DWI arrest. There was no info provided about who made the call and it showed up on my phone as a "Private Caller." The question in the poll was something like: "Knowing that Pat Davis received special treatment after being arrested for DWI does that effect your decision to vote for him?" Sadly, I don't have a recording of it.

Hessito Yntema is the Republican challenger to Davis who has signed up Martinez's chief political adviser Jay McCleskey to help with his effort in the SE Heights district. Also in the race is 22 year old Dem Sam Kerwin.

The district is liberal Dem but if no candidate gets 50% of the vote October 6 there is a run-off between the top two contenders. That would likely mean Davis vs. Yntema.

Davis is taking public financing and will get less than $35,000 to spend. It remains to be seen how much the Guv's Machine will spend but push polls cost money and the dollars are starting to flow. Analyst say if Davis suffers an upset the council is likely to go from a Dem majority to a 5 to 4 GOP majority.

DURAN VS. BRANDT

Reader Brian Baltz writes of the APS hiring of the daughter of APS Board President Don Duran to a high-dollar administrative position:

I'm surprised the issue with Duran's daughter has blown over in the media. The first thing that came to mind was (GOP State Senator) Craig Brandt resigning from the Rio Rancho School board a few years back so his daughter-in-law could work for the district. Is this a different interpretation of state law or just different levels of integrity?

Brandt gets brownie points for that decision and they may come in handy next year when he faces a possible challenge for his senate seat from former Rio Rancho Dem Mayor Tom Swisstack. Which brings us to. . .

STATE SENATE ACTION

Dem liberals believe the political winds are shifting in their direction in the northern NM senate district that was held for years by Sen. Phil Griego but who resigned over ethical charges during this year's legislative session.

Dem Santa Fe County Commissioner Liz Stefanics made it official this week and announced she will run for the seat. She is a longtime liberal who represented the district back in the 90's. When Griego resigned Gov. Martinez appointed former Estancia Mayor Ted Barela to the seat. He is expected to seek election but this one leans Dem. The kicker for the libs is that Griego often strayed over to the GOP side of the aisle and if Stefanics takes the prize she would contribute to a more progressive tone in the upper chamber.

Meanwhile, the R's think they have a good chance to take out Dem State Senator John Sapien and have fielded Rio Rancho businessman Diego Espinoza for the task. He works for CSI Aviation--the company owned by former NM GOP Chairman Allen Weh. Espinoza managed Weh's unsuccessful 2014 US Senate bid. The Sapien district has swing characteristics but a GOP win there in '16 would be a major plum for the R's.

SUSANA LIKE BILL?

One of our Alligators reacts to this week's NYT piece on Gov. Martinez and the multiple state scandals occurring here. They wonder if her national ambitions could follow the same path as Big Bill's:

As long as the governor continues to have friends and associates soiled with ethical issues the more it dirties her and reduces the chances she will make it out of New Mexico and into any future Republican presidential administration. She needs to look no further than back at the man she trampled on the way to the governorship to know this to be true.

The New York Times is wrong, though, to imply that NM Democrats are taking her down. Don't even pretend that the Dems' effort is at all organized. The Dems still have no message or alternative narrative to the Martinez administration; they're just taking potshots at the Queen. The machine is not yet dead. The electoral momentum at the state level is still with the Republicans.

TEEN ANGST

Reader Jeanette Candelaria has been following the debate in ABQ about having a teen curfew as a way of fighting crime. She sends along this quote she found from a judge who regularly deals with teens:

Always we hear the cry from teenagers, 'what can we do, where can we go?' My answer is this: Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons and after you're finished, read a book. The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again. In other words, grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone not a wishbone. You are important and you are needed. It's too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you!

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