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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Like The Old Days: Prez Campaigns Continue To Swarm Over State; Trump's Big Show Here Tonight; Bill Clinton On The Undercard; Late NM Primary Grabs Spotlight But In November We're In The Shadows  

It's back to the good old days around here when presidential candidates and their surrogates stopped by as regularly as your relatives on a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy it while it lasts. If the crystal ball gazers have it right New Mexico is going solid Democratic in November and national campaign visits here are going to be as rare as green chile in Pittsburgh.

Unlike 2000, '04 and '08 we don't make the list of 13 swing states where the soothsayers say the election will be decided. But, hey, look at us now. Who would have thunk that our very late June 7the presidential primaries would matter?

Today we get an ex-president and a possible President-to-be. Bill Clinton traverses to Española in heavily Democratic Rio Arriba County to get them fired up for Hillary. There's speculation that her poll numbers in that county may not be so robust so she dispatched Bill to get some of his popularity there to rub off on her.

Bill will overnight here and appear at a Wednesday ABQ rally at 12:45 in ABQ's Southwest Valley, another very heavy Dem and Hispanic area.

His visit comes after Bernie Sanders appeared  here last week, hoping to pull yet another upset over Hillary.

In the old days, Clinton might have stopped by ABQ's spanking new Ruth's Chris Steak House but Bill's all vegan now, although don't be surprised if he throws some red meat at the presumptive GOP prez nominee while here.

But Bill is definitely the undercard today. The main event will be that showstopper himself--Donald Trump--as he presents himself at the ABQ Convention Center at 7 p.m. Sanders drew a throng of 7,000 there. Will The Donald beat that number? Heck, there might be that many protesters.

Since Trump is visiting the state with the largest Hispanic population in the nation--nearly 50% of its residents--everyone is wondering if he'll soften his tone on immigration or stick to his guns. Will he reiterate his call for his famous (or infamous) wall to be built along the border to keep Mexican immigrants out and have Mexico pay for it? Probably, but. . .

The politics are something like this: Trump knows NM is a longshot in November but there are also Hispanics avidly listening  to him in swing states like Florida. With the GOP nomination locked up this might be the time for him to make a bit of a play for them. Nobody is going to be elected president by carrying less than 30 percent of the Hispanic vote and that's where Trump is now polling. So stay tuned. . .

And what about the Republican leader of our fair city? Will Mayor Richard Berry meet and greet Donald? Only if he could go disguised as Harvey Yates. Maybe he can hang out with fellow R Susana at an "unknown destination" and wait for the Trump train to pass (she said Monday she will not attend). Or they could kidnap Lt. Gov. Sanchez and put him in there with Trump and ruin his chances to become governor in '18.

And one other thing: Whatever happened to that old saying that politicians like to jump to the head of the parade? We didn't see any elected statewide Dem officials at the Bernie barnburner last week. Not one. And for Trump tonight it may be the same. But these political outsiders need them like a dog needs fleas. Bernie and Donald are the cat's meow this season. Or maybe more like roaring lions.

THE DETAILS

Here are the details about where the presidential campaigns will be today and tomorrow and how to attend the events.

Bill Clinton's Española rally is at 6:30 tonight and Trump's is slated for 7 p.m. Bill obviously wants to crowd Donald some on the 10 p.m. news broadcasts. But we wouldn't be surprised if Trump, who has been hammering Clinton over his personal life, doesn't put the needle in him while he's here. That way he crowds Clinton.

TRUMP CHANGE

We told you about the $10,000 a head fund-raiser Trump will have here as well as his rally. What we didn't tell you is that this is his first high dollar fundraiser anywhere. That's right. Impoverished NM gets to chip in the first large chunk of change to finance the billionaire's effort. Up to now Trump has mostly self-financed.

The fund-raiser here is being put on by retired funeral services director Kevin Daniels, a longtime GOP donor who once fiddled with the idea of running for the ABQ U.S. House seat. He expects at least 20 at the party, giving Trump a take of $200,000. The full story at the WaPo.

CONFIRMING HE'S OUT

Here's confirmation of the news one of our Alligators broke on the Monday blog:

Finance and Administration Secretary Tom Clifford will retire at the end of this week. . . Clifford, who has been the top budget official in Martinez’s administration since mid-2011, said it was not an “easy decision” to retire but that the timing was right for him and his family. He touted tax cut packages passed in 2012, 2013 and 2015 as among the highlights of his tenure, describing the legislation as “three of the most substantial tax reform packages in state history.”

The tax cuts were accomplishments? What Secretary Clifford should have said in his swan song was something like this:

I regret adhering to a rigid ideological line and advancing tax cuts and promoting budget austerity as the solution to New Mexico's long-running economic stagnation. I should have realized that the state was starved for economic stimulation and that ongoing tax cuts were not the answer. 

Well, Tom, at least now you won't have to take phone calls from the political consultants telling you what to do.

BLAST FROM THE PAST

Talk about the past coming back to haunt you. Look at the prank Dem Chris Berkheimer is pulling on ABQ State Rep. Christine Trujillo who he's challenging in the June primary. 

The prank is that this Trujillo endorsement of Berkheimer is from his  unsuccessful 2004 run for a state senate seat.

You may recall it was Rep. Trujillo who shouted "shame on you" at Gov. Martinez as she delivered her State of the State speech in January. She's probably warming up that line to use about Chris's antics.  

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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