Thursday, November 03, 2016

A Hidden Vote For Trump? Some Think So, Plus: Pearce And Sanchez Differ On Trump Support And That Could Soon Matter, And: The big UNMH Mill Levy; Yes Or No? 

Is there a hidden vote for Trump? GOP Congressman Steve Pearce thinks so, saying it's hiding among those who rarely or never vote but will come out to support Trump.

His theory is not that far fetched. Remember the June Democratic presidential primary when Hillary Clinton barely squeaked by Bernie Sanders getting 51.5 percent? The Sanders campaign made a special effort to recruit voters who rarely go to the polls and are not measured by the pollsters.

Unlike Bernie, Trump doesn't have much of a ground game in New Mexico. If he is to smoke out new voters it will have to be by the aura of his celebrity, the TV spots he bought here and the free media he is getting from his ABQ visit and those of VP hopeful Mike Pence and surrogates like Donald Jr. who will be in Farmington Friday. Here's some background on that:

Friday's event will include speeches by local candidates, including state Reps. Sharon Clahchischilliage and James Strickler and state Sen. William "Bill" Sharer. Clahchischilliage is seeking a third term for the state House District 4 seat and faces a challenge from Democrat GloJean Todacheene. Clahchischilliage was named a co-chair on the Native American Coalition for Trump. The coalition is composed of Native American grassroots leaders and elected officials from 15 states. 

Pence rallied a crowd of 500 at the Las Cruces airport Wednesday.

It is Gary Johnson's vote totals that seem most at risk as Trump brings GOP voters home as well as some conservative independents who have stuck with the former NM Governor and Libertarian presidential nominee. Could Pearce's "hidden vote" for Trump actually be a collapse of Johnson?

New Mexico is still Clinton country, according to 538 Wednesday night. They put the odds she will be victorious here at 84 percent and Trump at 15.2.

Back to Pearce, he has been about the only prominent Republican in the state to embrace Trump. He greeted the GOP nominee at the ABQ airport rally Sunday and did the same for Pence in Cruces yesterday. (Although there is that weird statement from Steve earlier in the campaign when he said he was voting for Trump but not endorsing him.) That is in sharp contrast to Lt. Gov. John Sanchez. On Facebook Sanchez said he had voted but he did not mention Trump.

Today, I was honored to cast my vote in the 2016 election. I have traveled the state in support of Republicans up and down the ballot. I encourage all New Mexicans to take advantage of the opportunity to vote early.

That is a predicament for Sanchez. He does not want to alienate potential Democratic and/or Hispanic supporters in a 2018 Guv run but he also doesn't want to appear disloyal to Republicans. He's not coming out well.

Before he gets to a general election, Sanchez might have to get past Pearce who is making noise about running for the '18 GOP Guv nomination. His support for Trump would be a major factor and work in his favor.

The GOP vote for Trump appears to be now comparable to any other GOP presidential nominee, making Sanchez's reticence all the more obvious. And if Trump comes close against Clinton, the chants of "back stabber" could haunt Sanchez and to a lesser extent Gov. Martinez who also would not support Trump but is termed out in '18.

Pearce's hard-right positions on many issues are a true hindrance to getting him to the Roundhouse, but to even have a chance of getting there you have to get your party's nomination. And that's the Pearce play on Donald Trump in Campaign '16.


Two of the heaviest days of early voting are the final two days--tomorrow and Saturday. If you're among those that will flock to the polls, here again are two voter guides to prepare you to cast your ballot--the League of Women Voters election guide and the ABQ Journal's voter guide.


Should we cast a "no vote" on the University of New Mexico Hospital mill levy? They say they have $300 million in reserve to build a new hospital but interest rates are at record lows and we don't need to pay cash for a new hospital.

ABQ GOP State Rep. Bill Rehm has made a convincing argument that the mill levy, in effect since the early 50's, is now unnecessary. Much of the indigent care funded by the levy--its original purpose--is now funded through Medicaid.

Rehm also argues that UNMH administrative salaries are on the high side and also questions why the public hospital spends so much money on advertising.

Bernalillo County tax bills hit the mailboxes this week, with the the mill levy adding hundreds of dollars or more to those bills. If we vote for it, the levy is in effect for another eight years. UNMH says the funds it gets from the levy--$95 million a year--are necessary not only for indigent care but for overall hospital operations. We have an excellent hospital but at this point in our history we appear to be over taxed when it comes to its funding.

Here's a column in support of the mill levy.

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