Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Some Iowa Takeaways, Election Day In ABQ, Filing Day For Statewide Candidates Today, Early Childhood Amendment Hit In House And Former House Majority Whip Passes 

Some takeaways from the Iowa caucuses last night. New Mexico Hillary supporters had to be disappointed as she failed to put away Bernie Sanders and that raised serious questions about her national strength. . . NM establishment Republicans are breathing a bit easier now that Marco Rubio flexed some Iowa muscle and gave himself a plausible path to the GOP nomination. He is now their hope to avoid the dreaded prospect of a Cruz or Trump nomination. . .

State Hispanics had cause to be dumbfounded. The GOP had two Hispanic Republicans at the top of the Iowa field. You would have thought such an historic first would have happened on the Dem side. . . If the November match-up is Clinton vs. Rubio, Clinton will be favored here but the R's will make at least an initial effort because of the ethnic factor. . .

It's an election day in ABQ, with the big $575 million bond issue and mill levy for the ABQ Public Schools and one totaling $84 million for CNM. Turnout is traditionally just several percent of registered voters but we could get more this time. There has been concern that yet another high-profile controversy over an APS superintendent could provoke a protest vote against the APS bond issue, even though the bonds will not raise taxes and defeat of the bonds would punish the students not the adults who presided over that mess. Only one APS bond election has been rejected in recent years. We expect this one to pass as well but the brouhaha over not having enough voting sites doesn't help. We'll be voting yes.

As for CNM, its $84 million bond issue would raise taxes and you can expect that to mean more "no" votes as Tea Party activists urge its defeat. Still, the vocational school is popular and fills a vital niche. The fact that CNM is asking for a tax increase was downplayed by the administration, further enraging the opponents. The school might want to do a brush-up on their PR before they next go before the public. We'll be voting yes.


Rep. Lujan
It's one of those unusual election years when statewide races are few and far between, only three. Candidates for Secretary of State, one Supreme Court seat and a slot on the Court of Appeals will file petition signatures and other paperwork today to make their tuns officials. Also filing with the SOS today will be contenders for the state's three US House seats.

On those congressional seats, all three incumbents are seeking re-election and all three are positioned for victory in the June primary and November general election. It has been many a moon since any incumbent congressional representative lost their seat. Their fund-raising and name ID advantage has only grown. 

In the northern district, three Republicans are seeking the right to take on Dem US Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. He is heavily favored to take a fifth two year term. Lujan has made a national splash by getting named head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

In the ABQ area district, Dem Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is seeking a third two year term and should have no major trouble securing it. The district was once seen as a possible swing district but the national Republicans have given up on it for now. There is still noise over Grisham seeking the 2018 Dem gubernatorial nomination, raising the possibility of an open ABQ congressional seat that year. 

Down south, veteran GOP US Congressman Steve Pearce is well-positioned. He continues to travel the sprawling district extensively. The district has a high percentage of Hispanic voters, giving the Dems hope to take the seat someday but unlike 2014, this year the national Dems will not target the race.


At the all crime all the time legislative session, there was some time devoted to a non cops and robbers issue. As expected, a House committee in the GOP controlled chamber rejected a proposed constitutional amendment at would take a small percentage of the state's $15 billion Land Grant Permanent School find and devote it to very early childhood education. Of course, it could also be seen as an anti-crime measure because it's aimed at brain development in infants and toddlers, but unless you can lock it up and throw away the key the GOP is not interested. But this is a long ball game. The amendment, favored strongly in the polls, will be back.


A 21st century education is the cornerstone for strong communities and a strong economy. On February 2, 2016, your vote of YES! in the upcoming Mill Levy and School Bond election provides this cornerstone for our children and for our city. $575 million dollars will be raised by a vote of YES! and used to cover existing and future costs for transportation, school renovations and restorations, new technologies, and health, safety and security infrastructure. Your YES! vote makes this possible. With your vote your communities, your schools, and your economy are stronger. The APS election is today.
Click here for voting locations.


A political power player of yore has passed away. Former ABQ westside Democratic State Representative Bennie Aragón lost his battle with cancer Monday. He served in the House from '67 to '79 where his colleagues chose the feisty lawmaker as House Majority Whip. His family said besides being a former state representative, he was a soldier in the US Army and a Golden Gloves Champion. He and his wife Josie had been married for 64 years.

Aragón left the House to take a post with then-Gov. Bruce King. His son Robert was named to replace him. His daughter Margaret Aragón was the first lady of ABQ while married to former Mayor Marty Chavez. His relatives also include former State Senate Majority Leader Manny Aragón.

In his later years Aragón worked for the state fair and was engaged in the restaurant business.

Bennie Aragón was a fierce advocate for his district. That reputation was honored just last year when Carlos Rey Park was renamed for him. He was 85.

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