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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It's Your Move, Hector; Stakes Get Higher For AG As Lujan Grisham Gets In Early In Guv Race; She Hits Martinez Performance Across-The-Board InVideo Announcement; We Explore All The New Angles In The '18 Race ForThe Fourth Floor 

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It's your move, Hector. And whichever way he moves his chess piece could very well tell the tale of the 2018 New Mexico race for governor.

By announcing her candidacy Tuesday for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham is forcing the hand of the attorney general. He, too, will have to move relatively early if he is to keep her from gaining momentum and cornering campaign money.

In fact, if Balderas, 43, doesn't get in the race political pros of a variety of stripes are scratching their heads wondering how Lujan Grisham can be stopped. Here's how it's coming down in the incisive words of a Senior Alligator:

Joe, the game for Governor has changed since the old days. It is no longer a level playing field where you have there or four top tier candidates contending for a party nomination. This is a game of big money, organizational ability, and national consultants. It is intimidating for most politicians. Lujan Grisham is able to put those three ingredients together. Balderas is the only other candidate we hear being mentioned that might be able to do the same.

Besides Balderas, state Senator Joe Cervantes, Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber and businessman Jeff Apodaca are the others putting out early feelers. But none are top tier candidates and it gives the ABQ congresswoman plenty of room to run. And running she is.

She spent some $500,000 on TV ads in her recent re-election bid which expanded her statewide name ID. She won with a resounding 65 percent of the vote, giving her a solid base in important Bernalillo County.  And she hired the national media firm Putnam Partners, who number among their clients President Obama, to up her media game.

Balderas
In announcing for governor she put out a bare bones website and a two minute and 39 second video that showed polish. Most important, the video, without mentioning Republican Governor Martinez by name, unloaded on the incumbent for the death spiral standings the state has in education, poverty, drug addiction and jobs. That's critical because the nominating wing of the Democratic Party is not going to give Martinez a pass. If Balderas is not willing to go there--and thus far he hasn't been--his chase for the nomination could be slowed significantly.

Here now is keen analysis of the Lujan Grisham video from another Senior Alligator with Washington and local experience. It's the stuff you will only get at NM Politics with Joe Monahan:

Whoever worked with her got rid of her hyperactive, over-aggressive tendencies and got her to slow down, pace her speech patterns and really raise the bar on her on-camera performance. As someone that is concerned about her attention span, maturity and ability to see things through, I saw an ad that is presenting someone calmer and more considerate. She has dropped the attitude of someone that is fighting for attention among hundreds in the US House and has become someone who is more self confident and assured and ready to be a chief executive. She was wise to hire the firm that did this ad. However, this is just the first ad and knowing that her unscripted persona is much different than what is presented here, opponents will be looking to catch her off-guard and show that the person in this ad is not who she really is. Should be an interesting campaign.

It was a shift of gears indeed. She sat in a living room wearing a dark blue dress and set off with four strings of pearls. No roller skates for this one. A good start but a long way to go, as Republicans were quick to point out. Veteran GOP political consultant Bob Cornelius came with the down side:

She has been a government employee her entire adult life. She has never created a job or signed a paycheck. In that way, she's the Democrat version of Governor Martinez. She is too far to the left for most New Mexicans when it comes to Second Amendment (Gun control) and social issues. 

ON THE R SIDE

Rep. Pearce
On the Republican side of the aisle there is uncertainty but there is new information to report.

Yet another Senior Alligator (we pull them off their couches for the big stories) says southern GOP Congressman Steve Pearce recently conducted a poll on the governor's race and it showed him as the far and away front-runner against potential nomination rivals Lt. Governor John Sanchez and ABQ Mayor RJ Berry. That's not surprising as conservative Pearce, re-elected in November in a landslide, is very popular with the nominating wing of the GOP.  But will he run? Our Gator reports:

Steve has over a million in cash on hand and would swat away any rivals. But the general election remains the problem. He is too conservative to win statewide, unless there was some kind of change in the political environment at the time of the election, something unusual.

Hmm. Something like what Trump tapped into? Sounds like a tough decision for Pearce who has been renewed by the Trump win and should have more power in Washington as a result. If Pearce doesn't go for the nomination, the GOP race would be wide open. But after eight years of unsuccessful rule, the voters are prone to a send the pendulum back the Dems way. And that's why everyone is more anxious to see their final field. Lujan Grisham is the beginning.

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