Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sanchez Vs. Benavidez Council Contest Goes On The Watchlist, ABQ Takes Another Hit In Livability Rankings And: Is Eight Enough? Another Dem Joins ABQ Congress Chase 

Veteran Dem political analyst and ABQ attorney Greg Payne, who is monitoring city Election '17 for us, says put the Westside city council seat long held by Democrat Ken Sanchez on your watch list. He expects scrappy Dem activist Javier Benavidez to give the 12 year councilor a run for his money.

Payne believes a more populist message is what the electorate is looking for and they may find it in Benavidez. He also says the problematic state of the city makes all incumbents vulnerable--if they have strong challengers.

There are two other candidates in the race--Republican turned independent Johnny Luevano and Sandra Mills. That means it may be difficult for Sanchez to get to 50 percent to secure an outright win October 3. In that event a run-off election would be held November 7 featuring the two top vote-getters. In this case that is likely to be Sanchez and Benavidez.

Sanchez, who has been on the council since 2005 and runs an accounting services firm, prides himself on bringing projects to the district such as a new library and fire station. But Benavidez faults him for not being more adversarial over the policies of Republican Mayor Berry and for being a "corporate Democrat."

Benavidez recently left the SouthWest Organzing Project (SWOP) where he served as director to run for council. That group describes itself as "empowering disenfranchised communities of the Southwest, to realize racial and gender equality and social and economic justice."

Sanchez, Benavidez and Luevano have qualified for public financing and are each receiving $38,000 in city funds to run their campaigns. However, an independent committee financed by the folks behind the proposed Santolina development could form to fight Benavidez. And national progressive money could come in on his behalf.


Reader Bruce Shah writes:

Joe, You wrote: "Those expecting that the still-hidden ABQ mayoral campaign might revive the city's spirits and renew its hopes are still waiting."

Once again, look no further than our wonderful daily newspaper. Why does it not have a tracking column on the race? The campaign is invisible for the same reason Barry and Martinez were able to do so much mischief. No one is covering it.

The newspaper has been giving occasional coverage to the city election and can be expected to wade in deeper as the election draws near. But we hear you. Given the serious plight of ABQ, you would expect more and earlier coverage from both the paper and TV stations. As for who the newspaper will endorse, the smart money is on Republican Dan Lewis.

And as for the plight of the city, it's bad enough for us to be ranked among the 50 worst to live in:

44. Albuquerque, New Mexico
> Population: 559,131
> Median home value: $189,200
> Poverty rate: 20.0%
> Pct. with at least a bachelor’s degree: 32.6%

Albuquerque is one of most dangerous cities in the country. There were 966 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Albuquerque residents in 2015, far more than double the national rate of 373 incidents per 100,000 Americans and among the most of any city in the country. Albuquerque also has missed out on much of the job growth that most mid-size cities enjoyed over the past few years, and it continues to struggle with high poverty. While total employment in the U.S. grew by 4.0% from 2013 to 2015, the number of jobs in Albuquerque increased by just 0.1% over the same period. The city’s poverty rate of 20.0% is much higher than the nationwide poverty rate of 14.7%.

Circle the wagons or fight to make it better? How this election plays out may tell us what ABQ decides.


And then there were eight. So goes the jam packed race for the Dem nomination for the ABQ congressional seat. Annie Chavez, government relations officer for Sandia National Labs and a former aide to Dem US Senator Jeff Bingaman, will be the next and eighth contender to join the contest.

I'm a 48 year old native New Mexican. One of 8 kids, my dad was an Air Force mechanical engineer and my mom was a nurse at St. Joseph's hospital. I'm running because I want New Mexicans to see our state as a place with enormous potential to build a life and grow their families. For too long, I've watched family and friends forced to look for opportunities elsewhere. I believe that if we create an environment to provide our kids a great education we will be better able to address crime and help create economic opportunity for all New Mexicans. I will draw on my experiences as a teacher, a lawyer, working for Senator Bingaman, and my time at Sandia National Labs to help address these critical issues, It's also essential that we have a candidate who will stand up with progressive solutions to counter the president and Congressional leaders who encourage a dangerous anti-science agenda based on alternative facts.

Also competing for the GOP nomination in the 1st Congressional District is Michael Hendricks, a 34-year-old immigration lawyer.

The other seven contenders seeking the seat that Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham is giving up to seek the Dem nod for governor are: ABQ City Councilor Pat Davis; former Dem Party Chair Deb Haaland; physicist Dennis Dinge; Edgewood Town Councilor John Abrams; former Dem Party Chair Deb Haaland; lawyer Damian Lara; former NM US attorney Damon Martinez and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, former associate dean of the UNM law school.

On the Republican side former State Rep. Janice Arnold Jones and attorney Michael Hendricks are vying for the nomination.

We rank the seat "likely Democratic." The last Republican to win an election for the seat was in 2006.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.

website design by limwebdesign