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Thursday, May 12, 2016

On The '16 Trail: Update On Maggie Vs Nora, Torrez Vs Perea For BernCo DA, And Following The Legislative Money, Plus: A Longshot Congress Candidate 

On the campaign trail. . . In the closely watched Secretary of State race, Republican Nora Espinoza is keeping pace with Dem Maggie Toulouse Oliver in the money race. In fact, she has a bit more cash on hand. As of May 2 Espinoza reports $119 000 in cash in the latest finance filings. Toulouse Oliver has $112,000 in cash. Here's how Governing Magazine sees the contest:

Toulouse Oliver, the current clerk of Bernalillo County. . . ran and lost to (incumbent SOS) Duran in 2014. The Republican candidate is state Rep. Nora Espinoza. Both candidates are reasonably well-known and well-connected, suggesting a competitive contest in the fall.

This one is about turnout. The higher it goes the better for Toulouse Oliver and the lower it goes the better for Espinoza. . .

TORREZ VS. PEREA

In the Dem primary for BernCo District Attorney, Raul Torrez took a newspaper hit this week over a drug case he handled as an assistant US attorney. His foe, retired police officer and attorney Ed Perea says the article called into question Torrez's integrity. But Torrez is expected to come with TV ads soon and Perea doesn't have the money to go up on the tube. Torrez is showing $172,000 in cash on hand. Perea has $39,000 but also $40,000 in campaign debt. The money disparity could make the difference Election Night, June 7th. The unopposed R for DA in the primary is attorney Simon Kubiak.

ALLS IS IN

We noticed on the campaign finance reports that a consulting group called ALLS took in over $80,000 from the House Democratic Campaign Committee for research and polling. The firm is run by longtime campaign fundraiser and field organizer Meredith Dixon and Jennifer Ford, who is a former state director of the national progressive group America Votes.

On the super PAC front in the battle for the Legislature, the game is the same as in '14. Advance NM Now will be at bat for the R's with longtime Martinez consultant Jay McCleskey at the helm. For the Dems, Patriot Majority is back with consultants Dave Contarino and Amanda Cooper. Advance will scoop up conservative Texas cash. Patriot is again expected to lean heavily on national labor for its funding.

CONGRESS CANDIDATE

Richard Priem
It may not be worth a whole lot considering that the ABQ congressional district is solidly blue these days, but Republican Richard Priem is still glad that he'll soon be the GOP nominee who will take on Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham. She is seeking a third term this year.

Priem is the only R candidate seeking the June primary nod. Two years ago Mike Frese edged out Priem for the nomination. Grisham was the heavy favorite then as she is this year. Here's some background on Priem:

Priem (pronounced “Preem”) has a wide and diverse professional background. His Army service included critical assignments in security, law enforcement and anti-terrorism along with an assignment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where, as an assistant professor, he taught leadership to cadets. Priem has received numerous awards and decorations for his military service.

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OUCH

The news:

A new national survey says New Mexico’s high school graduation rate is the country’s worst. The state’s four-year adjusted graduation rate for all high school students is 68.5 percent, says the report, Building a Grad Nation, which examines data for the 2013-14 academic year. By contrast, Iowa has the nation’s best high school graduation rate, at 90.5 percent. In New Mexico, more than 40 percent of the state’s high schools are graduating fewer than 67 percent of their students, a dismal record equaled only by Alaska. This applies to schools with more than 100 students.

CHINATOWN

On the brighter side, the state has come with this:

The New Mexico Film Office (has) teamed up with one of China’s online media groups in hopes of producing digital content, including feature films, shorts, TV shows and commercials. Panda iMedia chose New Mexico out of several states:

 “I think they saw the amount of production that was being done here and the accessibility to filmmakers and digital media folks, and they just liked what they saw,” said New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis. . . Maniatis says the goal is to not only to help Panda produce content they can take back to China, but also to foster a cultural exchange helping to diversify New Mexico’s economy.

A few years ago Santa Fe businessman Gerald Peters urged the city to be more aggressive in going after Chinese tourists in order to boost the economy. That still seems like a worthwhile idea.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2016
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