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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Politicos Kicking Up '18 Campaign Trail Dust; What Will John Do? Plus: Readers Pull Us Back To ABQ's Crowded Crime Beat 

Here's the dust from the the '18 campaign trail we're tracking for you. . .

Lt. Governor John Sanchez is burnishing his foreign policy credentials ahead of what is expected to be a run for the US Senate or a congressional seat. He's heading up a local delegation that is visiting China to promote trade. Sanchez has been openly criticizing Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich at public events and looks to be preparing to join ABQ businessman Mick Rich in seeking the GOP nomination to take on Heinrich who is seeking his second, six year term.

However, if Sanchez gets nervous over a senate bid (and he might be) he could make a play for the GOP nomination for the ABQ congressional seat being vacated by Dem Rep. Lujan Grisham who is running for Governor. Then there is a bit of strange talk about Sanchez running for the southern congressional seat if Rep. Pearce vacates the seat and runs for Governor. But Sanchez doesn't even live in the district. He lives in ABQ. Oh well, after seven years with Susana, you can forgive John if he seems beside himself on what to do with his political future--if he has one.

LAND OFFICE CLASH 

A possible Sanchez challenge isn't making Heinrich shy. As we blogged recently he is a big supporter of Dem land commissioner candidate Garret VeneKlasen and was expected to advocate for him. But Heinrich has taken it a step further and publicly endorsed VeneKlasen who is locked in a primary battle with former Dem Land Commissioner Ray Powell, Jr. Says Heinrich:

There is no one I would trust more to be the steward of our state trust lands and to make smart and sustainable contributions to New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund. Most importantly, at this critical time for our state, Garrett knows that investing in early childhood education is not a luxury, but rather a necessity. This is why I am endorsing Garrett VeneKlasen for Commissioner of Public Lands. I trust Garrett to do the right thing for our land, our kids and our future.

Powell recently told us he is switching his position on the proposed constitutional amendment to fund very early childhood education. He has previously been skeptical of the proposal to tap the $16 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education but is now in favor. Sen. Heinrich and VeneKlasen are longtime backers of the amendment which if approved by the Legislature would be put to the voters.

The Heinrich endorsement is going to mean cash for VeneKlasen's campaign coffers and will vault him from being an unknown to a known quantity in Dem circles. With Heinrich putting his nose under the tent, the VeneKlasen-Powell face-off is going to be a race to watch.

WHAT IF?

So if Rep. Steve Pearce decides not to run for the '18 GOP Guv nod, who will? That's the question keeping the GOP up at night. Party insiders are now floating the name of Steve McKee, the ABQ advertising executive who last year toyed with the idea of running for mayor but took a pass. They're now saying McKee could be a possible if Pearce declines. The others on the party radar for a Guv run include PRC Commissioner Pat Lyons and Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn. Lujan Grisham and Jeff Apodaca are the two announced Dem hopefuls.

THE CRIME BEAT

We're always pleased to strike a chord or two when we blog, and so it was the case with Tuesday's entry about the ABQ crime epidemic and our city's newly infamous title of "Stolen Car Capital of America." Reader Mike Santullo writes:

Your blog was succinct, introspective and right to the point. You hit on all cylinders and made the most salient points you could possibly make. Glad to see you spared no one. It's about time we hear some outrage! Everyone in power in this town is asleep at the switch and more concerned with preserving their so-called legacies and political agendas, not the welfare and safety of the people. It is embarrassing, humiliating and totally unacceptable and must stop immediately. The Albuquerque Journal needs to take the bull by the horns and start naming names and stop being the house organ for the entrenched GOP in this state. Enough of the pussy footing. It needs to start writing strong editorials condemning the lack of leadership and action in this city. Enough is enough.

Reader Ron Nelson came with this:

Outstanding, Joe, way to drive the nail home. I took an upper level criminology class my senior year in 1975. We talked about the local crime and car thefts, as they dominated the scenario back in those days also. Your reader has hit the nail on the head--there is organized crime driving these issues. A profound point from my professor was, if law enforcement can’t seem to put a dent in the statistics, perhaps they are part of the problem?

The crime wave is personal and painful for thousands of city residents. We hear them, as in this missive from a Huning-Highland resident who has suffered repeated financial and emotional loss. She writes of having a trailer stolen from her front drive:

My husband and I have lived in our home for 30 years and never before have I been afraid in my own home as I have been the past couple of years. There are so many reasons Albuquerque has such high crime statistics and in my opinion almost all of them can be attributed to Mayor Berry and his administration. His "hands off" way of running or not running our city has caused Albuquerque to become a place I am not familiar with anymore.

You cannot run a city if you're not in touch with what's really going on. I have a great deal of respect for the police, but they can only do so much with what they have to work with. I really miss the Albuquerque I fell in love with.

By the way, this is the 3rd vehicle stolen from us this year. We have a business that requires delivering product and we have always thought is was safer to park them at our home in our safe neighborhood!

"I really miss the Albuquerque I fell in love with." What more needs to be said? Or can be said?

VINTAGE ABQ

Don't forget Vintage ABQ this year. The annual fine food and wine event raises funds for arts education in the ABQ schools and is always a big hit. It features the best in epicurean delights from the city's top restaurants and wineries.  Click on the ad for more info on the many events available for your enjoyment. And join us here tomorrow when we give you the chance to win tickets to the Vintage ABQ Grand Tasting. Hey, we're here to serve. . .

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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