Thursday, June 23, 2016

BernCo DA Surprise: GOP Candidate Drops Out; Cites Soros Money Comingin, Plus: Summer Heat In SOS Race, And: Reader Gun Debate Still FiredUp; Udall Explained 

There's a new development in the race for Bernalillo County district attorney and it's an eyebrow raiser. Complaining that he can't raise the money to compete against Dem DA nominee Raúl Torrez, GOP nominee Simon Kubiak is getting out of the race. He will send a letter to the secretary of state today announcing his withdrawal. Kubiak's campaign manager, former BernCo GOP chairman Rick Abraham, confirmed the withdrawal, saying this is all about the dollar signs:

It's just about money. Torrez raised $400,000 for the June primary and then billionaire liberal George Soros had his super PAC come with over $106,000 in media support for him. We can't compete against what could be a million dollar campaign for DA. Also, we are not getting the donations from Republicans necessary to run this race. The political action committees for the Governor and state House speaker are sucking up the money  for the legislative contests.

Abraham opined that he believes that Soros is helping Torrez because Torrez already has ambitions beyond the district attorney's office:

Soros seems to be setting this guy up for a run for governor or another high office. It would behoove Democrats like Attorney General Hector Balderas to pay attention--not just Republicans.

Abraham said he feared that the unprecedented spending in the DA's race could in the future spread to even more lower ballot races. "Torrez has bought this race. And it could happen in others as the super PACS take control of the process,"Abraham declared.

For his part, Torrez's campaign has argued that it can't tell Soros and his super PAC what to do and that the campaign has not violated the rule that says his campaign can't coordinate with the Soros affiliated super PAC.

It's unlikely that Torrez will run opposed this November. The Bernalillo County Republican Central Committee will soon meet to name a replacement for ABQ attorney Kubiak. The question is whether it will be a token candidate or one who will have  resources to compete.

The DA's office has been run by Dem Kari Brandenburg since 2001. She opted not to run for a fifth, four year term.


And we have more exclusive county GOP news for you. Abraham says the BernCo Central Committee is going to be busy because it's not just Kubiak getting out. He says Kim Hillard, who won the GOP primary for county treasurer this month, is also taking a walk. Hillard beat Chistopher Mario Romero 72 to 28 percent. Maybe Romero is named the nominee by the Central Committee?

And there's still more. Political observers are closely watching GOP congressional nominee Richard Priem. He won the nomination June 7th for the right to take on ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, but health issues have arisen and Priem may or may not go forward, say several GOP insiders. The Central Committee would be charged with naming a replacement, if Priem decides to call it quits. We'll keep you posted.


Oliver and Espinoza
The summer heat wave has nothing on the rivals for secretary of state. Both campaigns are already hotter than a Tucumcari parking lot in July, and that's red hot.

First, GOP hopeful Nora Espinoza blasts Dem hopeful Maggie Toulouse Oliver for being against a voter ID law and now Oliver campaign manager Alan Packman turns up the temp:

There's good reason that Nora is spending so much time giving us the same tired talking points that we heard from  former Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran - because this election is about ethics, reform and ensuring integrity in the Secretary's office - and Nora and Rod Adair know that they can't win on those issues. Maggie is talking to voters in every corner of this state about the tough ethics and campaign finance reforms we need following Duran's resignation and prison sentence. Nora will try anything and everything to distract voters, but we're going to hold Nora and her political cronies accountable every step of the way.

The aforementioned Adair is the former Roswell state senator who is managing Espinoza's campaign and which wants nothing to do with a summer break. Here's their latest blast:

Espinoza increased her fundraising edge. . . now leading Maggie Toulouse Oliver by more than $31,000. Espinoza had $156,423.93 on hand, compared to Oliver’s $124,980.82. Oliver has outraised Espinoza overall, but Oliver has spent more than $162,000 thus far, including more than $111,000 for “consultants,” almost all of it going to progressive campaign guru Alan Packman, who has simultaneously charged George Soros-backed DA candidate Raul Torrez nearly $88,000 for consulting fees thus far. Progressive organizations have pledged to take over the office of Secretary of State in various states, and Toulouse Oliver is their dedicated candidate in New Mexico.

As Dan Rather might say, this SOS race is hotter than a Times Square Rolex.


Lots of action on gun control on the blog this week. Reader Ron Nelson was adamant in his opposition to Congress banning assault weapons, but several readers say his facts need scrutiny. From Clovis Steve Aikens, a NRA certified instructor, writes:

Your reader Ron Nelson is incorrect in what "AR" in AR-15 stands for - and most certainly "the media" consistently misrepresent it to stand for "Assault" Rifle".

For the record, an "Assault Rifle" is not a semi-automatic rifle like the AR-15. The automatic or "select-fire" version used by the military is an "assault rifle." AR-15-platform rifles are among the most popular firearms being sold. They are today's modern sporting rifle. The AR in "AR-15" rifle stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s. "AR" does not stand for "assault rifle" or "automatic rifle."

And another reader wrote of Nelson's contentions:

A good shooter can easily squeeze off 180 rounds a minute on a semi-automatic weapon. This is known as rate-of-fire (ROF), not "capacity." Typical rates of fire for an automatic weapon are 600-900 rounds per minute.

Nelson's comment about the faster rate of fire for his pistol-shooting friends than for a semi-automatic rifle is puzzling. Whether it's a long gun (rifle) or a short one (pistol) does not matter. It is the firing mechanism on either that determines rate of firing.

Sorry, Ron, you wandered into the Alligator pit on gun control--and you got bit.


Sen. Udall
NM Senator Tom Udall was dunned by a reader for being "tone deaf" when it came to the gun control debtae because Udall was celebrating the passage of his chemical regulation bill this week. The reader pointed out that Udall does not support a ban on assault weapons, but he does have a plan. From his office:

He supports universal background checks and a ban on high capacity magazines —the key feature that makes any semi-automatic firearm so deadly. He supports closing the loophole so that law enforcement can prevent the sale of weapons to suspected terrorists — a measure Republicans voted down last year. He believes these are commonsense steps that will help prevent gun violence and keep all guns out of the wrong hands, including suspected terrorists, criminals and those who are a danger to themselves or others because of mental illness. As you say, he has voted against an assault weapon ban before. The measure has not been introduced this Congress, but he has not changed his position on that proposal. He is focused on preventing dangerous people from purchasing any firearm and limiting the damage the any type of firearm can cause in a mass shooting event.


We're still taking entries for you to win a pair of tickets to this Friday's Grand Tasting sponsored by Vintage ABQ, the city's premier food and wine event. We have a total of four tickets to give away. They cost $85 a piece so you have to give us a little essay on a NM issue near and dear to your heart in order to qualify for them. 75 words tops. The best restaurants in the city await you. Proceeds of Vintage ABQ events go to arts education in the public schools. Email your entry today.


Reader Emilio Sanchez says he has a history lesson and a correction:

In Tuesday's post, you quoted a reader who misspoke: When Onate came, the Franciscan Order came. There was no “Arizona” only “the Kingdom of New Mexico” which included what is now Arizona and parts of Colorado. Arizona was the result of the US Congress dividing up New Mexico for various reasons including discrimination, slavery and business interests.

Indeed, Emilio. Arizona got the better end of the stick over a century ago and we've been paying the price ever since.

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