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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

With Wheels Coming Off National GOP Local Dems Look To Capitalize; Impact On State House Battle Weighed, Plus: Martinez Does Not Rule Out Voting For Trump, And: 3 Million Reasons To Leave ABQ 

With the wheels coming off the Republican Party and the very real possibility that the impact could spread to down ballot races like those for the NM Legislature, this missive from the state GOP might give you a chuckle:

We look forward to celebrating taking the State Senate and electing the first Republican majority in 85 years, retaining the State House and electing Donald Trump as our next president! The Victory Party will be held at the Albuquerque Convention Center and will start at 7:00 pm after polls close here in NM. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating turning New Mexico RED!

Well, the state senate has never been in play for the GOP this cycle. Now, in the wake of Trump becoming "unshackled" and turning on his own party, the odds of a takeover of the state House by the Dems are growing. As for Trump being "our next president" that's about as likely as that GOP victory party being packed to the rafters.

In fact, in the wake of the Trump meltdown Dems here are being urged to broaden their playing field and set their sights on the two Valencia County state House seats held by Republicans Kelly Fajardo and Alonzo Baldonado. Those seats by all rights are swing seats that have stayed R in recent years.

Can the Dems effectively use the Trump implosion against the pair? That's a fair question as the Dems here have presided over Democratic disaster after disaster. But the tarnishing of the entire Republican brand that is taking place with Trump is a gift even they should be able to unwrap.

The big problem here as elsewhere for the GOP is women voters. Most are Democrats and the R's need some of them to cross over in the key state House districts. If they don't, the House will easily go Democratic.

We're not sure how the death penalty is going to play in the final weeks of the campaign. That's the message the Guv's political machine is betting on to keep the House under GOP control. But with an increasing number of voters seeing Trump as the dark, menacing force in this campaign, we have our doubts.

USING TRUMP

Oliver & Espinoza
Dem Secretary of State candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver is wasting no time in taking advantage of the Trump upheaval. She comes with a spot using him against her Republican foe, Nora Espinoza:

Donald Trump would punish women who've had an abortion.
Trump: "There has to be some form of punishment."
Anncr: "For the woman?"
Trump: "Yea, there has to be some form."
In New Mexico, Nora Espinoza supports Trump's extreme agenda. Nora wrote a bill requiring doctors to falsely tell patients that abortion increased chances of cancer. And Nora wanted to criminally charge doctors who wouldn't tell that lie. It's that bad. Nora Espinoza. Too extreme for New Mexico.

There are those women voters we talked about. You would expect to see something similar in the key legislative races as the Dems move to establish Trump firmly into the political narrative.

Oliver lost the SOS race two years ago after failing to go on the attack. But this time around she is getting in front of an expected hit campaign to be launched against her by Espinoza who is going to have a healthy sum in which to wage her war. The latest campaign reports say:

(Oliver)  held a campaign balance of about $188,000. Espinoza added nearly $40,000 in contributions to a campaign war chest totaling $265,000.

TRUMP TV

We and much of the other media may have been suckered in by the Trump campaign when it put NM on a list of states that would soon be seeing Trump TV ads. As far as we can tell, there have been no local buys yet by the Trump campaign. We'll keep checking.

MARTINEZ AND TRUMP

We've been pounding the table around here asking why no one is asking Gov. Martinez who she is voting for after she issued a weekend statement reiterating her decision to withhold "support" from Donald Trump. But withdrawing support could mean not raising money or making an appearance for a candidate. KOAT-TV heard the table pounding and asked Martinez, who earlier ruled out voting for Clinton or Johnson, who she would be voting for. And guess what? As we suspected Martinez appears to be trying to have it both ways. She condemns Trump's behavior on the sex tape but refuses to say that she will not vote for him. Her quote:

I am really not talking about the presidential election. I have made my stance very clear... I can tell you I am not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. . . I don't believe he (Trump) has  the qualities to lead the country. 

As KOAT-TV's David Carl pointed out that is not answering the question, affirming what many of us speculated when we read her initial statement. Martinez is keeping the door open to the Trump brigades ever so slightly by refusing to say who she will vote for. Why? Because, in part, if she sees any future at all for herself in the party, they can certainly ruin it. And they still may because the fig leaf she is putting on over how she will vote is small indeed. Meantime, she hopes her message of withholding support from Trump holds water with Dems and independents in key legislative races.

MISTRIAL

Should APD officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez be retried in the James Boyd murder case now that their trial has ended in a hung jury? Incoming BernCo District Attorney Raul Torrez will make that decision but former Chief Deputy District Attorney Pete Dinelli sees another trial as unlikely:

No, because the vote was 3-9 for acquittal if it had voted 10 to 2 for conviction I would say yesAfter almost 3 weeks of trial and a jury of 12 hearing and seeing all the evidence, the jury voted 3 to find the Defendants guilty and 9 to find them not guilty. A verdict requires a unanimous verdict of 12 for guilt or innocence, hence a mistrial. Neither side in this case should take any comfort with the verdict. The jurors essentially said the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and the defense did not convince the entire jury that the shooting was justified. The City admitted liability in the civil case when it paid $5 million in taxpayer money to the Boyd family to settle the wrongful death lawsuit filed for the killing. Now a decision must be made if there should be another criminal trial.

THREE MILLION REASONS

There's probably about three million reasons that Jim Hinton, the longtime head of Presbyterian Healthcare in ABQ, is taking a new position in Dallas as chief of Baylor Scott White Health in Dallas:

(The Dallas CEO) made more than $3 million in fiscal 2014 after adding up salary, bonuses and other forms of compensation, according to Baylor Scott & White's most recent tax forms. His total compensation from 2012 to 2014, the height of the merger talks and integration, totaled almost $8.7 million.

Hinton will now head the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas.

And that's just more of the biz news you won't get anywhere else. . .

THE BOTTOM LINES

Former NM Public Regulation Commissioner Tony Schaefer is a Republican, not a Democrat as we identified him on Tuesday's blog.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2016
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