Monday, May 09, 2016

Lujan Grisham Takes A Swipe At Martinez With Guv Contest In Background, Endorsement Battle In GOP Yates-Rogers Contest, And UNM "Optics Problem" Leads To A Gator Strike 

It's rare--if not almost unheard of--for any really prominent state Democrats to take a public swipe at Republican Governor Susana Martinez, but ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham has broken the silence as she eyes the '18 governor's race. In a newspaper op-ed she focuses on the lagging state economy, saying:

Everybody agrees we need to diversify the economy. But how? Clearly, the governor's policies have not resulted in economic growth. Instead, we have less tax revenue for state government and few options to make the investments we need in this state. . . 

Rather than backing away from federal government funding to enhance the state's economy--as the Santa Fe administration has repeatedly urged--Lujan Grisham is embracing the federal presence. She argues that there is over $200 million in small business contracts that Sandia Labs awards to out-of-state businesses, a pile of money she says "we can fight for."

Now the politics of this. Lujan Grisham, expected to easily win a third, two year term this November, is telling friends of her intention to seek the '18 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Also eyeing a bid is Attorney General Hector Balderas. The nomination is not going to be decided by who is most gentle on Martinez, The Democratic base is going to want some red meat after eight years of being repressed. Further, the election itself will only go the Dems way if they can discredit the policies of the sitting governor since the likely GOP nominee is Lt. Gov. Sanchez.

So the determined ABQ congresswoman is first out of the gate. Balderas has been hesitant to take on Martinez, but if he hopes to go for the gold he may be forced to or else take a pass on the contest.

And, yes, the political conversation has already jumped to '18 because of the lack of high stakes in ''16. NM will not be a swing state in the presidential election, the state Senate is not going to the R's and no matter who controls the state House gridlock will continue. Given that unappetizing scenario no wonder the political junkies are hungry for the '18 action.


Rogers & Yates

Meanwhile, the Republican infighting over the post of NM GOP National Committeeman (and possibly the future GOP) continues and we have more of our exclusive coverage. . .

We are nearing the May 21 state convention where the battle will be fully joined between current committeeman Pat Rogers, part of the Guv's machine, and former NM GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, an avowed enemy of the machine and its leader, Martinez political consultant Jay McCleskey.

Yates came last week with a big public endorsement from southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Pearce. Now Rogers answers with endorsements from leading state House Republicans who came with this letter to the convention delegates:

Winning control of the state House was a true team effort and no one was more important to that team than Pat Rogers. Having worked closely with Pat. . . we have seen him spend countless hours on election-related litigation without compensation and, but for his efforts, we would not be in the position we are now as a Party.  Pat has always put fighting to help all Republicans first and that’s why he worked so hard to win the House redistricting case. . .Pat has been an outstanding RNC National Committeeman who fights to unite our party. . . 

The letter was signed by GOP State Reps and committee chairmen Zach Cook, Jason Harper, and Jim Smith. Also signing were House Majority Leader Gentry and Reps Youngblood,  Clahchischilliage, Pacheco and James.

There's more. Yates is receiving important Tea Party support from Sylvia Bokor whose newsletter is widely circulated in conservative circles. She endorsed Yates over Rogers after a Friday Republican breakfast:

(Yates) was as blunt in his responses to attendees’ questions. . . He. . . spoke of things most of us know and evaluate according to what the Constitution indicates we should expect of our government. For instance, he spoke candidly of Jay McCleskey who is not an elected or appointed official but controls many important aspects of government. Harvey Yates is running for an important position in New Mexico politics. We wish him success. He shows that he deserves the post and would be extremely good for New Mexico in that position.

Who needs Trump to divide a party? This race is as much about the enmity between Jay and Harvey as it is about keeping Rogers around.

P.S. Thanks to Mark Bralley for the cool photos our two GOP warriors, even if he is making us buy him dinner at Garcia's for the use of them.


New Mexico First, a bipartisan public policy organization is hosting a town hall on the state's economy. Help create recommendations for New Mexico's leaders. Click here to register.


This is what the kids call an "optics problem." UNM says it can't absorb a tiny $2,300 loss to its athletic department so it is not going to to keep the annual Native American Gathering of Nations at the UNM Pit--a gathering which has an estimated $20 million economic impact in ABQ. Meanwhile:

An audit report released Friday by the University of New Mexico indicates former men’s basketball operations director Cody Hopkins committed fraud with a team purchasing card for personal use, including $63,418 in “unallowable” activity on the card.

And that, UNM President Bob Frank, VP David Harris and Athletic Director Paul Krebs is an Alligator Strike. Congrats, or something. . .


Then there's the state Republican Party announcing it would charge reporters $100 each to cover the party's upcoming state convention. They retracted that within 24 hours. That's good because just looking at our coverage today of the GOP, the R's should be paying us five hundred bucks a blog for telling them what's really happening in their party.

This is it. . .

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