Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How Will Cruz-Kasich Pact Play Out? Cruz Walks To Let Kasich Trot But Trump Holds The High Cards, Plus: The Daze Of Darren; From Painkillers To Pot  

The anti-Trump forces want it to be Kasich vs. Trump in the New Mexico June 7th GOP presidential primary as Cruz and Kasich form a pact to stop Trump from getting the magic number of national GOP delegates and capturing the party's  nomination. That has Cruz taking a pass on active campaigning in the state and Kasich having the field to himself and The Donald.

But Texas Senator Cruz is a much better fit for the state and was ahead of Trump by one point in the February ABQ Journal poll. Veteran pollster Brian Sanderoff tells me it's a good bet that Cruz will still finish ahead of Kasich here, pact or no pact:

This pact seems to help Cruz the most since if he peels off some Kasich supporters in Indiana he could possibly win the state and get all the delegates. Kasich stands no chance in Indiana, so it's OK for him to say he will stop focusing there. In New Mexico where Trump and Cruz are doing well, it doesn't matter if Cruz deemphasizes NM thereby losing NM by a few points because he will still get some delegates due to our proportional allocation of delegates at both the state and congressional district level.

The pact was already in danger of unraveling soon after it was announced. It also sounded desperate. From the WaPo:

If Donald Trump could have engineered a scenario that would fire up his anti-establishment base any more than it already is, the public announcement of a Cruz-Kasich alliance would be how he would have done it. Now it's not just hard-to-understand delegate math where the GOP establishment is plotting against Trump but a high-profile handshake agreement between a sitting senator and governor.

New Mexico has only 24 delegates to the national convention. New Mexico will decide 21 delegates on June 7th. Three others go to party insiders. A candidate has to get at least 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for delegates. The state GOP has put out a delegate primer here.

Kasich should run his best in ABQ and its suburbs and maybe make a move in the Hispanic North. Trump will fight it out with Cruz in the conservative south and southeast. Trump will be the favorite for the overall win. There are simply not enough "moderate R's" like Kasich who will be voting in the NM primary to propel him into the victory circle or close to it and conservative Cruz supporters will be loathe to cross over and vote for Kasich.

Maybe Gov. Martinez can help fellow Governor Kasich here, but after her problems in this contest (endorsing Rubio who shortly after dropped out and bad mouthing Trump at a private lunch which was leaked to the press) she might want to do it on the down low.

As it stands New Mexico won't matte much, but that it matters at all is welcome. At least we get some national publicity that for a change isn't negative.


Darren White, former Bernalillo County Sheriff, former director of the public safety divisions for the state and ABQ and a longtime Gov. Martinez political operative, continues to get scorched on social media for his flip on marijuana.

After years of opposing legalizing use of the weed White is now cashing in on the medical marijuana business. And new details have emerged about the once outspoken anti-drug crusader.

White, his son Darren Jr.  and two other investors are reported to be investing $1 million in the medical marijuana business PurLife. White is the company's CEO and security director. Of course, that business was given a license to operate by. . . drum roll please. . . the Department of Health of the state of New Mexico that is controlled by. . .second drum roll. . . Gov. Martinez (and her powerful political consultant and Darren BFF Jay McCleskey.)

The report also has White disclosing being on a steady diet of narcotic pain killers for back and knee jury pain. That's how he says he came across medical marijuana whose side effects are not as powerful. He is now a medical marijuana user. Here's his quote:

A steady diet of consuming painkillers is not quality of life. The narcotic painkillers, they knock you out.

You mean Darren apparently was under the influence of narcotics during his erratic episodes in state and ABQ government and while posting numerous hate tweets on social media against Martinez critics in and outside of the media? Hmm...that explains things.

What really kills the pain of injury--or of plain old life--for Darren and company is cold hard cash. Another of his BFF's--House Majority Leader Nate Gentry--is scooping up campaign cash from medical marijuana producers as the tea leaves predict eventual legalization or decriminalization of the drug in New Mexico.

(The "nonprofit" label that has been assigned to the medical marijuana producers in the state was proven to be a sham by investigate reporter Peter St. Cyr.)

Who else deeply connected to the Martinez administration is investing in the marijuana business (with the help of the Department of Health?) And did Darren and his son really invest as much as the others in their medical marijuana business? Or were their shares of the investment much, much lower because of White's "experience with state government?"

As they say, you cant make this stuff up--well, not unless you're popping pain killers, smoking dope or getting smashed at a pizza party.

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