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Monday, August 15, 2016

Pence Plays In NM Tuesday But To What end? Plus: Short Takes On The State Budget Crisis, PNM's Complaining And The BernCo DA's Race 

GOP VP candidate Mike Pence Tuesday will hold a public event in Roswell at 8 p.m at the NM Military Institute and an earlier one in ABQ at Sandia Casino at 3:30 p.m. He'll also scoop up some money at a high dollar private fundraiser while in the Duke City.

The pundits across-the-board have NM safe for Hillary. So what the heck is Pence doing here when he could be spending all his time in swing states or red states that are suddenly endangered as Trump's candidacy wavers.  Well, maybe the money is reason enough for a brief mid-August stop. . .

And, perhaps, in  the unlikely event former NM GOP Governor Gary Johnson, now the Libertarian candidate for president, surges past 10 percent in his home state he could endanger Hillary and somehow get the state in play for Trump. That fantasy scenario omits one problem--if polls show this state getting  away from Clinton we'll be flooded with TV ads and get-out-the-vote efforts that would nip it in the bud.

SHORT TAKES 

The mammoth state budget shortfall (upwards of $700 million) has thrown a wet blanket over the political scene. There's not much the candidates can promise when faced with that scenario. . .

One veteran observer at the Roundhouse (over 30 years) says of the budget crisis: "I've never seen anything like it. Both sides are locked down. The Governor says no tax increases and the Senate Democrats say no cuts to public education and the universities which  make up well over half the $6.2 billion General Fund budget. The outline of a compromise is not on the board right now. . ."

PNM is bemoaning the opinion of a top state regulator that the company does not need a rate increase of 14 percent but around 6 percent. The electric company ought to thank its lucky stars. How many folks around here are seeing 6 percent pay hikes (outside of the political cronies of ABQ Mayor Berry on the 11th floor of City Hall)?. . .

There's still no GOP BernCo District Attorney candidate to replace Simon Kubiak who won the June primary but shortly after pulled out of the race, complaining he was not getting financial support. The deadline for the BernCo GOP Central Committee to name a replacement is fast approaching. But it's academic. Dem Raul Torrez appears to be a lock to take the seat in November with or without an opponent. . .

If Trump can't put in a decent NM performance Republican Alligators say appointed NM Supreme Court Justice Judy Nakamura may be one of the chief victims. Nakamura was a popular ABQ judge before being appointed by Gov. Martinez to to fill a high court vacancy. She faces Dem Court of Appeals Judge Michael Vigil. Nakamura's hopes rest in keeping the ABQ metro area in play. If Trump dives deep she will probably join him under water. Not that the odds are high for her to win in the first place. There's been no R elected to the five member court in years and years.

OTHER VOICES

Federal spending in New Mexico is continually demonized, led by Koch brothers financed outlets and radical right talk radio, but Democratic State Senator Pete Campos takes the more mainstream view that often gets muffled by the political carnival barkers:

Strengthening our relationships with the federal government and Mexico. We need to recognize the benefit that we gain from federal spending. New Mexico’s military bases and national laboratories are huge economic engines, and the business spin-offs created have helped us stay afloat. Similarly, improving our relationships with Juarez and Chihuahua have already proved beneficial.

THE BOTTOM LINES

There was no mayoral run-off election in ABQ in 2009, contrary to what we said here Friday. Richard Berry won election in a three way race by getting a plurality of the vote. There was a run-off law on the books in 2013 when Berry won re-election. He far surpassed the 50 percent then required to avoid a run-off between the two top vote getters.

Here's how we blogged the breaking results back on October 6, 2009:

He came to Albuquerque from Nebraska in the early 80's to run track at the University of New Mexico and Tuesday night he showed the state he also knows how to run around the political oval. Republican State Representative Richard "RJ" Berry, 46, captured the mayor's office by several lengths, collecting 43.82 percent of the vote in a three way race and easily eclipsing the 40 percent mark necessary to avoid a runoff election.

Aah, how soon we forget.

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