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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

National Pundits Weighing In On NM Guv Race As Another Candidate Announcement Nears And In The War Room With PED And APS  

Jeff Apodaca
The national pundits are starting to take their first look at next year's gubernatorial races and not unexpectedly one of them--"Inside Elections"--ranks New Mexico as lean Democrat":

Democrats believe this is one of their best pickup opportunities anywhere in the country. Republicans recently lost the state Legislature, Clinton carried the state easily, and the state economy has been struggling.

It appears Jeff Apodaca, ABQ businessman and son of former Gov. Jerry Apodaca, will be the next hopeful to jump in. He is excepted to formally announce his candidacy for the Dem nomination in early May. Apodaca is known as a centrist but he has hired political consultant Alan Packman who has handled mostly progressive Dems.

Las Cruces Dem state Senator Joe Cervantes has said he is running but has yet to formally announce. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced last year.

We don't see AG Balderas or Santa Fe Mayor Gonzales as highly likely to get in the Dem Guv race but if Gonzales wins his battle to impose a soda tax at a May election, he may be encouraged to make a go of it.

Supporters of NM Dem Party Chair Debra Haaland are saying she would be the first Native American woman elected to the US House of Representatives, if she were to succeed Grisham in the ABQ congressional seat next year. Haaland's term as chair ends in a matter of days and soon after she is expected to make her congressional candidacy official.

In the campaign for ABQ mayor, backers of Republican businessman Ricardo Chaves are expressing a high level of confidence that he will qualify for the Oct. 3 ballot by submitting 3,000 petition signatures from registered city voters. Friday is the last day to turn in the signatures to the city clerk. If Chaves, 80, does make the ballot he may be the oldest candidate for mayor or city council to ever do so. He has salted his late-starting campaign kitty with $300,000 of personal funds.

WAR ROOM

In the ongoing war between the state Public Education Department (PED) and ABQ Public Schools, PED claims:

APS schools are not producing results. Compared to other schools, APS’ graduation rate is below average while our state is at an all-time high; their school grades are dropping while the rest of the state increases; and students are at a lower achievement while statewide more students are on grade level in reading, math and science.

APS administrator Kizito Wijenje responds:

While APS works diligently to increase the achievement rates of all its 85,000 students, one has to understand that the APS school and student portfolio ranges widely and across the entire microcosm of the NM socio-economical spectrum. APS achievement rates are taken as an average of the whole (as they should be). However, comparing this average to school districts (Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, et al) that do not have the diversity of the Albuquerque area is simplistic and deceptive. 

APS also provides a variety of services for special ed students. 53% of the highest need students are served in APS, which has 29% of all the students in the state. New Mexicans statewide rely on and take advantage of by moving their needy students here.APS does this within its allocated budget and with no special dispensation from the state

SANTA FE SCENE

From a reader email on your government at work. Or not:

Good afternoon, Due to budgetary concerns, the 1st Annual State Purchasing Conference is being postponed. We apologize for the inconvenience. We look forward to rescheduling this important conference at a future date. Thank you for your understanding. Regards, Lawrence Maxwell, State Purchasing Agent

Reader Alan Schwartz writes:

Joe, I don't know if you have noticed but the online version of the ABQ Journal no longer appears to allow reader comments on articles or opinion pages.

We have noticed that, Alan, and often found incisive reader comments on the news articles. Was it cost savings or some other reason for dropping the comment boards that have been a staple for years? We'll let you know what we hear.

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