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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Early Dem Messaging On Feds Probe Of McCleskey Questioned; Missing A Chance, Plus: Mayor Berry As A Big Spender; Any Tea Party Comment? 

There's a great deal of difference in the DNA of Dems and R's and that's being revealed in the reaction by the D's to the Federal grand jury corruption investigation of top Gov. Martinez consultant Jay McCleskey.

When former Dem Governor Bill Richardson was under federal scrutiny the GOP pounded away at him mercilessly almost daily. As a party that's been in the minority for most of its existence here, the R's have a well-developed attack gene and they use it.

On the other hand, the Dems have been fat and happy for most of their tenure, dominating most state offices and voter registration rolls. They've never really had to sharpen their knives much against the R's. Failing to do so against the Martinez/McCleskey machine cost them the governorship, the state House, the secretary of state's office and the state land office.

We asked Republican turned Democrat Greg Payne, a former ABQ city councilor, state legislator and veteran political consultant who over the years has tangled with McCleskey, to analyze the early Dem messaging on his old rival's woes:

Let's start with this statement from Joe Kabourek, Executive Director of the Democratic Party. 

“We know Governor Martinez keeps Jay McCleskey as her top advisor because he gets his hands dirty for her. Instead of focusing on her out of state donors and the special interests, Governor Martinez needs to put our New Mexican families first. We need an economy that will work for everyone, not just the wealthy few.”

That statement strays from what should be the central narrative of the Democrats. That Martinez and McCleskey are inseparable and that any corruption is theirs together. The Dem message implies that Gov. Martinez is basically okay, but she has this bad guy hanging around. Actually, the two are joined at the hip. Jay didn't get the nickname "Shadow Governor" without good cause. The Republicans were able to beat Diane Denish in 2010 by repeatedly tying her to the corruption scandals of Richardson, even though she took steps to separate herself from him. 

The Democrats have got to take any corruption charges directly to the doorstep of Martinez if they are to get maximum political benefit. Republicans know that instinctually, Democrats are going to have to learn it, or else the state House will stay in Republican hands and the state Senate could be picked off by them next year. 

Dem Party Chair Deb Haaland and Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez have been low-key on the McCleskey mess, apparently waiting for more developments. If the developments come that strategy will work, but if the investigation hangs out there and the Dems continue to say little, Payne says they could lose their opportunity to alter the political landscape. Maybe the Dems need to hire Holly Holm for some lessons.

HEY, BIG SPENDER

ABQ GOP Mayor Berry seems to be turning into a big spender. First, he proposes millions for his ABQ the Plan, then it's an $100 million rapid transit plan for Central Avenue ($80 million in federal money) and now it's nearly $25 million for more convention center improvements and downtown development. Wonder how the fiscal conservatives and the Tea Party adherents in the GOP feel about all that. They're probably happy that ABQ the Plan is stalled out and the transit plan is in for some stiff challenges. The $25 million for more downtown development will be interesting to watch at the City Council. Will any of the R's raise an objection?

CONSERVATION SCORECARD

From the email:

Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) unveiled the statewide 2015 Conservation Scorecard. . . CVNM reports the votes cast on the most critical issues affecting our air, land, water and communities during the 2015 legislative session.

Senators Howie Morales and William Soules and Representatives Georgene Louis and Javier Martinez, four of the 37 legislators who earned a 100% in the 2015 Scorecard, joined CVNM for a telephone press conference.

The average conservation score earned in the Senate in 2015 is 71%. The average conservation score earned in the House of Representatives in 2015 is 47%.

Those are all Dems, so what about the R's? CVNM says:

While no Republican legislators earned a 100% score in CVNM's Scorecard, there were Republican legislators who voted positively on key pieces of legislation in the 2015 Scorecard. For example, Sens. Kernan and Torraco, both voted positively on three pieces of conservation legislation. The legislation included: an attempt to rollback the RPS (HB 445), the extension of the solar tax credit (SB 391), and the hemp bill (SB 94).

The full legislative scorecard is here.

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