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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Early Mayoral Polling Has "Big Three" Holding Lead, Pearce's #1 Fan May Hold Key To His Guv Run, No Dunn Dynasty As US Attorney Names Sent To White House And An Expensive Hospital  

We have our official ABQ mayoral field--all nine of them--and inquiring minds want to know who stands where with less than five months before the election.

There has been no public polling and there may not be any until well into the summer, but there has been campaign polling--at least two of them--that we have been made aware of--and we can report that the race still revolves around what we dubbed at the outset of the contest as the "Big Three."

Both campaign polls we have been alerted to by our reliable Alligators show Democrat Tim Keller leading the field with Republican Dan Lewis very close behind and former Dem Party Chairman Brian Colon placing third but quite a bit back of Keller and Lewis. Coming in fourth in the polling was former Dem BernCo Commissioner Deanna Archuleta. The remaining five hopefuls registered marginal support.

The early surveys confirm the danger Lewis faces from fellow Republican hopefuls Wayne Johnson and Ricardo Chavez. If Lewis had the GOP field all to himself he might be in first place.

Just about everyone watching this race expects there to be a run-off election between the two top vote-getters following the initial October 3rd balloting. That's because it would  would take a candidate securing 50 percent of the vote to win the mayor's office outright. The insider polling indicates that is unlikely and a run-off is a near certainty.

STOPPING STEVE

What's stopping Steve? Southern NM GOP Congressman Steve Peace is touring the Land of Enchantment this month as he tests the waters for a 2018 GOP Guv run. The conservative lawmaker could easily have the nomination, but getting elected is another story. The R's are on the ropes after eight years of Gov. Martinez and the Dems are favored to take the Governor's chair next year.

Pearce's one foray into statewide politics ended disastrously in 2008. That's when Dem Tom Udall beat Pearce for a US Senate seat by a margin of 61 to 39 percent. That has to be giving pause to Pearce but there's another reason.

Our Alligators report that Pearce's wife Cynthia is not very keen on Pearce making the high-risk Guv run and giving up his congressional seat to do so. Her advice could well outweigh the hundreds of GOP well-wishers who Pearce is hearing from and who are pushing him to run. If Pearce, soon to be 70, really has the fire in the belly to seek the Governor's office he may have to go overtime with the pillow talk if he's to convince his #1 fan.

On the Democratic side alcohol-prevention teacher Peter DeBenedittis of Santa Fe has made official his run for the Dem nomination:

DeBenedittis formally announced his candidacy Monday, describing himself as a progressive Democrat and political outsider who does not owe favors to past political contributors. A New Mexico resident since 1995, DeBenedittis wants to pursue policies that expand early childhood education and provide universal health insurance coverage, while increasing taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. He has not previously run for public office.

DeBenedittis joins Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and ABQ businessman Jeff Apodaca in the Dem chase. but unlike them he is not expected to raise oodles of cash for his campaign.

NO DUNN DYNASTY

Anderson
So much for a Dunn dynasty. Early rumors that ABQ attorney Blair Dunn, son of GOP State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, was in line to become the new US Attorney for New Mexico did not pan out. The news:

Rep. Pearce and Senators Udall have agreed to send to the White House the names of Fred Federici, currently an assistant U.S. attorney in Albuquerque, and John C. Anderson, a Santa Fe-based former federal prosecutor now with the Holland & Knight law firm.

Anderson is an R and Federici is a Dem so it's expected the White House will send Anderson's name to the US Senate for confirmation. He would be in line to replace former Dem US Attorney Damon Martinez who is expected to seek the Dem nomination for the ABQ congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Grisham.

Did Dunn's reputation a a political firebrand thwart his ambitions? Could be. As for Aubrey Sr, he's expected to seek a second term as land commissioner next year and will probably face off against Dem Ray Powell who he beat for the seat in 2014.

EXPENSIVE HOSPITAL

That $250 million price tag for a new 120 bed UNM hospital was an eyebrow raiser. Why so much? That's a question Terry Storch tackled on social media:

I am a supporter of public hospitals and a taxpayer, but the price tag appears far too high. Industry average for hospital construction is $1.5 million a bed, and a new hospital in Merced, CA, came in at under $900,000 per bed. This price tag is $2 million a bed. After the expensive and unnecessarily lavish Bill and Barbara Richardson wing at UNM hospital and after the public suffering staggering prices for health care and the prospect of loss of care under the Republican "plan," I want to see hospital money spent on function not fashion. 

TRADER JOE'S OR INTEL?

From Rio Rancho: 

Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull launched a social media campaign this month, asking residents to reach out to Trader Joe’s and request a new location to open in the area.In his online post on May 2, Hull’s minute-long Facebook video asked residents to “take the Mayor’s Challenge” and fill out a request form on Trader Joe’s website.

Maybe he should have them to take a Mayor's challenge to get Intel to stop laying off people in Rio Rancho, instead of trying to attract $10 an hour jobs from the grocery chain. But then Intel and all those high-paying jobs at Rio Rancho already appear poised to join the ash heap of history.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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