Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Who Got The Biggest Pass In Campaign '16? Gov. Martinez. And The DemsTake Heat For It; Plus; R's Coming Home Mean Odds Back To 50-50 On Dem House Takeover, And: Latest On The ABQ South Valley Commission Fracas 

Who received the biggest pass of Campaign '16? That's easy. Governor Susana Martinez. The Republican leader, now approaching her seventh year in office, has more baggage than the Sunport's terminals yet the Democrats blissfully ignored her throughout  the crucial battle for control of the state House which the Republicans took control of two years ago for the first time since the early 50's. Let's unpack some of that baggage the Dems kept a tight lid on.

Martinez's approval rating is only 42% in the ABQ Journal poll and only 36% in the recent SurveyUSA; the economy is lousy in Albuquerque and dreadful in the rural areas; the state's jobless rate is nearly the worst in the nation and one result is a soaring violent crime and widespread drug abuse; the state is inearly broke and because of it the state's bond rating has been downgraded; Martinez's controversial political adviser, Jay McCleskey, and his take-no-prisoners style has ripped the Republican Party apart and he was subjected to a federal investigation of his campaign practices and there is Martinez's infamous holiday pizza party where she tried to intimidate police and hotel employees and which forever changed her image with the public.

On the campaign trail you hardly hear an inkling of any of this. Democrats just don't seem to have the stomach to do what has been done to them and has cost them so much political power. In fact, they seem fine with simply waiting out the eight years of the Martinez administration, assuming power will naturally come back to them after she inevitably falls back to Earth. But even as she fights the political cancer that eats away at her, Martinez still manages to launch strikes against her enemies, especially State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez who is now in his own life and death struggle to hold on to his Valencia County seat.

ABQ Dem attorney and former City Councilor Greg Payne says Democrats have provided many excuses about why they have decided to leave Martinez alone and not try to capitalize directly on her unpopularity in their quest to turn the House Democratic, but he isn't buying them.

The Democrats should be going after Martinez and McCleskey relentlessly for what has happened in this state. They have had the power for six years. Look what the Republicans did to former legislative leaders Manny Aragon and Raymond Sanchez and now Michael Sanchez. They demonized them year after year. The same for Bill Richardson. And it worked. But the Democrats here still seem to harbor a good deal of fear attacking the political machine that has rolled over them. 

Because of that, Payne is not sanguine about the Democrats prospects of picking up the three House seats they need to take back control.

The lay of the land in a presidential year is favorable for them, but much of what I have seen in the campaign is namby-pamby. There is no overriding reasons presented for giving the Democrats control. The Republicans framed their own potlcial comeback by making Aragon, Sanchez and Richardson the villains. Where are the bad guys in the Democratic narrative? Mostly what they offer are weak appeals on the economy and let Susana and Jay waltz away. 

As expected this final week is seeing many Republicans "come home" and begin to increase their percentage of the early vote being cast. Throw in Hillary Clinton's email debacle and the rosy optimism of a House Dem takeover is now under a shadow.

Putting blame on Martinez isn't necessarily a silver bullet but with their own senate majority leader endangered and winning the House seats needed for a majority proving more elusive than expected, you would think that they would be running a first rate offense and doing more to motivate their base voters. Or will relying on Donald Trump to do it for them be enough?

You often hear politicians referring to politics as a "contact sport." But most of the time it is Republicans who say that. When it comes to Campaign '16 and the Democrats it seems more about avoiding contact with a Governor and her political adviser who have taken so much from them without a real fight.


Payne says the chances of the Dems taking back the House are 50-50. We had the odds up as high as 52-48 but recent events--the R's coming home, the Clinton email debacle and insider polling--the takeover odds revert to 50-50.


In that South Valley BernCo Commission race featuring TV celebrity Michael Quezada in the Dem corner and Republican Patricia Paiz, a retired APD officer and small business owner in the GOP corner, we get an update on the hit Quezada made against her over her campaign finances and which we carried here last week:

A pair of Albuquerque attorneys accused Bernalillo County Commission candidate Patricia Paiz of accepting donations that go well beyond the $2,500 limit allowed in local campaigns for each election cycle. They have asked the Secretary of State’s Office to investigate about $20,000 in donations to Paiz from her father, Ronald Paiz Sr., and a series of companies he’s affiliated with. Paiz said that her campaign hasn’t violated the limits. State officials, she said, advised her campaign that each person and each company is allowed to donate $2,500 during the primary election cycle and another $2,500 during the general-election campaign.“We will be looking into it and have an attorney look it over,” Paiz said. “We would never want to violate” the law.

Meanwhile, Paiz was back in the mailboxes over the weekend nuking Quezada for his three DWI arrests and for being a "no show" to his position on the ABQ Public School board.

This commission seat has probably not gone R since FDR was in the White House but we did get a campaign out of it this year.

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