Wednesday, November 09, 2016


It was an epic night. Donald Trump is President-elect. Need we say more? It will take weeks, maybe months, for this surreal event, the biggest political surprise of our lifetime, to be fully felt and absorbed. On this unbelievable morning after, with our mind feeling like scrambled eggs, we revert to a simple winners and losers list.

Statewide results here. Bernalillo County results here.


Hillary Clinton--Yes, she suffered the most humiliating of defeats nationally, but in New Mexico she scored a sweeping eight point victory over Trump--48 to 40%. She could not have asked for more but little good it did her.

House Democrats--They appeared to pick up at least five seats and took back control of the 70 member chamber after a brief two year hold by the Republicans. They can give thanks for it in large part to Trump's lagging performance among his own Republicans.

Rep. Brian Egolf--The House Minority Leader is now the presumptive speaker of the NM House. He just turned 40 and will be one of the youngest leaders of the House in state history. He reacted with grace and refrained from dumping on Republican Gov. Martinez but did point to the willful ignoring of the state's deep economic woes as a reason for the resounding Dem win.

Senate Democrats--It appears their state Senate majority will grow by one or two seats as a result of Tuesday's election. It could also move them more toward the center.

Bill Tallman--Bill who? Bill, you're 75 years old and you're going to the state Senate after one of the most stunning upsets of the evening as you defeated ABQ GOP state Senator Lisa Torraco in a district that has rarely had a Democratic senator. Bill, can we have some of the vitamins you take?

Daymon Ely--Okay, it looks like his race with GOP state Rep Paul Pacheco, a fervent fan of Gov. Martinez, is going to a recount, but the former Sandoval County commissioner is a good bet to be declared the ultimate winner. He spent over $200,000 on the race and he snuck up on everyone. Ely is as smart as Pacheco is partisan. And that's pretty smart.

Nathan Small--He's 34 and crushed 80 year old GOP incumbent state Rep. Andy Nunez in Dona Ana County. Rising star material? Uh, yes.

Steve Pearce--The conservative southern NM GOP congressman supported Trump, the only prominent state GOP leader to do so. He is now the NM political pipeline into the White House. If Trump tries to screw the state in the budget it will be Pearce who will be called on to do the trouble shooting. And in case Hispanics don't like the alliance, Pearce remained us that he supported Trump but did not "endorse" him. Of course, we all understand that distinction, don't we?

Judy Nakamura--We were playing by the old rules, Judy, when you came in with 55 percent of the early vote in BernCo against Dem Michael Vigil in your battle to keep the state Supreme Court seat you were appointed to by Gov. Martinez. We should have called the race on KANW there and then, but we've seen the Northern Hispanic counties prove us wrong so we waited. But you won it 52 to 48 statewide to become the first Republican elected to the high court since 1980. Well done.


Gov. Martinez--She is now a lame duck governor who has lost control of the House and faces increased hostility in the stronger Dem senate. Donald Trump, who she refused to endorse, is now President. Two years are left in her second term. They are two years that could feel like ten.

Michael Sanchez--Wouldn't the Senate majority leader love to be around to preside over a strengthened Dem senate and make pacts with the Dem House and put the screws to his arch-enemy, Gov. Martinez? He certainly would, but the Gov's political machine led by her consultant Jay McCleskey finally caught its prey. Sanchez lost to unknown Greg Baca after hundreds of thousands of PAC money was thrown at the contest. Martinez got what fuels her--revenge. But Sanchez may yet get the last laugh as Martinez's power fades under a Speaker Egolf and possibly Senator Peter Wirth, who could be Sanchez's replacement.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS--No less a GOP authority than former state GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, Jr. accused the GOP controlled House of doing little to nothing about the state's desperate jobs situation during their brief reign. Then there was their deliberate obfuscation of the lousy economy by injecting an "all crime all the time" agenda into the recent special legislative session. How's that working for you guys this morning? Yeah, we thought so.

Jay McCleskey--The governor's political guru has had some impressive victories, but his massive investment in defeating Senator Sanchez was being dubbed by his fellow Republicans as an "expensive failure." Those hundreds of thousands could have been spent trying to save some of the House Republicans who were ousted. And the crime bills Jay used to defeat Sanchez will still go nowhere in Santa Fe. But if it was revenge they wanted, they got it. Other players would prefer the power.

Rep. Paul Pacheco--No one has clung to Gov. Martinez's skirts more than GOP State Rep. Paul Pacheco. He was the godfather of her immigrant driver's license bill and other so-called tough on crime measures. They all went south in the recent special session. Pacheco ignored the economy like the plague. And then the voters ignored him and the rest is history.

House Speaker Don Tripp--Did he ever really like the job or take it all that seriously? Well, at least he gets an asterisk in the history books and his wife Rosie, an ardent Trump supporter, can get them some tickets to the Trump inauguration.

Gary Johnson--The Libertarian presidential nominee and former NM governor managed only 3 percent nationally last night. After a promising starting act he blew it all by muffing tough questions like "what foreign leader do you respect?" He even failed to reach the 10 percent mark in his home state of NM. His big sin was wasting voters' time by posing as a serious presidential candidate but forgetting to read the morning paper.

Dems Marty Chavez and Diane Denish--The two baby boomer stalwarts of the Democratic Party were head over heels over Hillary, jamming Facebook and Twitter for months on end with fawning comments about her and unabashed bashing of Trump. They never saw it coming. Someone has to be road kill on Election Night, and they were it. At least they have updated resumes.


Sen. Tom Udall--His dreams of being back in the senate majority were swept away by the Trump victory. That and the newfound Dem strength in the state legislature seemed to firm up his decision to run for the 2018 Dem nomination for governor. When we asked him on KANW if he was considering such a bid, he answered: "Yes." That's more than a toe in the water. It's a foot and then some. (Thanks for the scoop, Tom).

Rep Michelle Lujan Grisham--The ABQ congresswoman had a great night, winning re-election to the US House with 65 percent of the vote. But Udall appears to have knocked her out of the governor's race. She was walking back the Guv talk in our interview last night--or should we say she was "skating" it back.


Thanks to our KANW-FM radio panel. In the midst of wild political emotion they reacted with calm and insightful analysis. Democratic consultant Sisto Abeyta, Republicans Rick Abraham, Bob Cornelius and Janice Arnold-Jones, independent Steve Cabiedes and Dems Sandy Buffett and Lenton Malry were a sea of tranquility as the boat of La Politica rocked wildly on the waves of change.

Lenton said goodbye after 28 years with us broadcasting every state general and primary election since 1988 plus a bunch of city elections. That's a good run from a good man. Thanks for the memories, Cuz.

And we all dedicated election night coverage to our dear friend and colleague Bruce Donisthorpe. We lost the noted consultant and pollster this year. He would have loved the action last night.

We wrapped up the broadcast at 1:30 a.m. and as we write you it is after 4 a.m. Our exhaustion is tempered by the wonder of it all.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

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