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Thursday, July 21, 2016

VP Plotting: Trump Camp Phoned Susana But She Didn't Return The Calls,Plus: A "Worried" Media? TV News Coverage And Advertising 

Who knows how serious he was or wasn't but according to this NYT report, Governor Martinez had a shot at being interviewed by Donald Trump for the VP slot:

Five on the list were women — among them, former Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina. Before the list was drawn up, Trump also expressed interest in Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, but after Martinez did not return repeated phone calls from Lewandowski, Trump said that he was done with her — and then bashed the governor on a campaign stop in Albuquerque in late May. (Haley’s overt lack of interest in the job made her an early scratch as well.)"

"Did not return repeated phone calls?" Didn't Susana say that she wanted to hear from Trump about where he stood on federal funding for the energy and military complex here before she made an endorsement? Then why didn't she at least use the opportunity to call his campaign back to take up that topic?

Martinez's office says the NYT report is wrong:

Gov. Martinez had no interest in being considered for vice president, but the claim that Mr. Lewandowski – or anyone else from the Trump campaign – called her before the Albuquerque rally is completely false. a Martinez spokesman said.


One supposes the follow up question is, If she wasn't called "before the ABQ rally" was she called at another time and did not return the call or calls?

Martinez was never vetted for the VP position which is an entirely different story, given the infamous holiday pizza party debacle and other matters.

And look at what Republican elder statesman, former US Senate leader and 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole has to say about Martinez and Trump:

I want him to go to New Mexico and meet with the governor and apologize for anything that may have been said...we need Latinos in our party, we need more women in the party, and I've raised it with him over the phone that I felt this is something that never should have happened and ought to be taken care of, and I had the feeling that he was working on it."

That's pretty heady stuff for the Guv from Dole who turns 93 this Friday, but as we've blogged before she faces some deep muck in Santa Fe in January after the glamour of national politics disappears in November. She will be officially a lame duck with a legislature that will start to look past her. Then there is the ongoing budget crisis to deal with.

Previous talk of Martinez challenging Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich for re-election in 2018 has petered out since the pizza party and her subsequent decline in the polls. That raises the question of whether Heinrich will face a serious GOP opponent. There has been little buzz about possible foes.

WORRIED MEDIA?

This reader writes of local TV journalism:

A federal magistrate has recommended that the secretary of the state Human Services Department be held in contempt of court and wants to appoint a special master to correct the fraud with the food assistance program that serves more than 527,000 New Mexicans. This very important story was covered by the major newspapers in New Mexico but missed, or intentionally forgotten, by the three TV stations. Are the stations worried that Gov. Martinez's crew will stop sending advertising dollars from the New Mexico True tourist campaign, the Pull Together
campaign, the ENDWI campaign as well as Susana PAC to their stations if they report on this administration's failures? 

Businesses are not spending as much money on TV ads, so why else would there be an almost total blackout of this story if it has nothing to do with the Martinez machine picking up the ad tab?

We're not going to go into that conspiracy theory on this particular story, but will remark that TV news coverage of Gov. Martinez and Mayor Berry has been of the kid gloves variety for many years now. Also, advertisers indeed have more leverage over the TV stations as this market's population and sales growth has slowed to a crawl.

And there was this recent apparent breach of journalistic ethics at one of the TV stations that could be used as circumstantial evidence that the Martinez administration's heavy advertising may be having undue influence:

A directive from a New Mexico TV station to its employees about news coverage involving advertisers raises questions. . .In a memo on Nov. 18 of last year, news staff were instructed that any story involving advertisers must first be approved by the news director before moving forward. KRQE-TV News Director Iain Munro sent the memo.

“If you are doing a story that may involve a client, that is good or bad, I need to be notified before any calls are made on the story,” Munro’s memo read. “No exceptions.”

Of course, the state of New Mexico and Gov. Martinez are major "clients" of that station and the others.

This is not media bashing or some kind of vendetta against Martinez or the stations. This is legitimate inquiry on how the news here is being covered. And when it comes to the political scene it appears it is being covered differently than the past. That memo from the TV station news director certainly points in that direction.

We've said it before and we'll say it again. By the time the remaking of this state is completed by the Great Recession/Stagnation, you're going to see and hear things you thought you never would. Don't say we didn't tell you.

NAKAMURA VS. VIGIL

Maybe it was national convention overload because in our first draft Wednesday on the coming shakeup at the NM Court of Appeals we somehow incorrectly had former ABQ District Judge Judith Nakamura (now on the Supreme Court)  and Court of Appeals Judge Michael Vigil facing off in November for an appeals court seat. The two, of course, are running for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

The number of judges on the appeals court (10) can be dizzying to monitor and we know Donald Trump had our head spinning this week, but that's no excuse. Our analysis that the court might get to five Republicans this year was also wrong.  Sorry about the errors. We will leave further calculations on this crowded court to certified Legal Beagles.

Also, retiring Appeals Court Judge Michael Bustamante says his retirement is not based on any changes to the state pension system but says it was "simply time for me to go."

And one more: This is the correct spelling of NM GOP National Convention delegate Sam LeDoux. We had it with a small "d".

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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