Wednesday, November 18, 2015

'16 Legislative Candidates Begin Positioning; Here's What We Are Hearing, Plus: More Ghost Stories And Ranking NM Integrity  

We're under the one year mark until Election '16 and the candidates are starting to position themselves. Here's what we hear. . .

ABQ GOP State Senator John Ryan appears doubtful for a re-election run. If he retires, the plan is to have ABQ GOP State Rep. Monica Youngblood seek the seat. Dems say they are aware that Ryan may forego a campaign for the ABQ North Valley and Sandoval County seat and they are recruiting. The district leans R but was held by a Dem before Ryan took it in 2004. . .

ABQ Dem State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto was expected to draw a heavyweight Republican foe as the Guv's machine put him in their sights. We're hearing Jose Orozco,  in his late 20's and who ran and lost an ABQ House race in 2012 on the heavy Dem SW mesa, is the GOP choice. Whether he's a heavyweight will be debated as Ivey-Soto's friends think the length of time one has lived in the district will be an issue. Orozco has worked with the Republican National Committee in Hispanic voter engagement. We were unable to contact him Tuesday . . .

Did Las Cruces Dem State Rep. Jeff Steinborn jump the gun when he announced he would leave the House and run for the state Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Lee Cotter? That's the question making the rounds in Dona Ana County with the news that former two term County Commissioner Oscar Vasquez Butler will also seek the Dem nod in next June's primary. Steinborn has good name ID and reputation but you can say the same about Vasquez Butler who also gets an edge with Hispanic voters who elected Mary Jane Garcia to the seat for many years before she was ejected by Cotter.

Either Steinborn or Vasquez Butler will be a big headache for Cotter as increased Dem turnout in the presidential election year could return the seat to the Dems which they lost when ethics problems surrounding Senator Garcia exploded. She held the seat for nearly 25 years. Steinborn vs. Vasquez Butler. Put it on your races to watch card.


More now on the ghost firms--or "front companies" set up by Governor Martinez's top political adviser Jay McCleskey to handle some candidates and campaigns. From the Senior Alligator pit:

The debate over the legality of McCleskey's fake businesses misses the point. The fact is he went to extreme lengths to hide the true identity of his fake businesses and the flow of money from special interests. In doing so, it begs the question as to why McCleskey and Gov. Martinez don't want public scrutiny of their money machine. Are they trying to cover up illegal activity? Did NM Court of Appeals Judge Miles Hanse hire McCleskey and turn a blind eye to his shenanigans as a quid pro quo in return for the Governor appointing him -- not once, but twice -- to serve on the Court of Appeals?

Hanisee said he allowed McCleskey to use a front company for his 2014 campaign as a strategy to confuse his opponent. McCleskey is the subject of a federal grand jury criminal investigation.


Reader Mike Lamb writes:

How does our state rank for integrity? New Mexico comes in at 34th place. However, the Center for Public Integrity notes:

“What really stands out is that of all 50 states, New Mexico has the widest gulf between the laws that are on the books and the vigor with which they’re implemented: the so-called “enforcement gap.” The striking enforcement gap in the Land of Enchantment punctuates a broader conclusion: when it comes to ethics and campaign finance, it can be pretty easy for bad actors to get away with breaking the rules in New Mexico.”


KOAT-TV picked up on our blog report about how much more expensive it is to get a U-Haul out of ABQ than to rent one to come in here. That's because of the good old law of supply and demand. And it will stay that way until NM becomes competitive with the healthier job markets in surrounding states.

Mayor Berry gave his annual State of the City address Tuesday and in it everything was coming up roses. He did not mention the cost of a U-Haul to get out of town. He did repeat that he would not seek a third term in 2017. (Thank God for little favors) But he said he didn't know yet if he would run for Governor in 2018. (God Help us).

Just kiddin', Mayor, you can still buy us lunch sometime.

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