Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Long And Painful Goodbye; Martinez Approval Rating Plumbs New Lows, Plus: Our Continuing ABQ Mayoral Coverage And Some Wednesday Bottom Lines  

It's a long and painful political goodbye for Governor Susana Martinez. Public polling is now catching up with the private data circulating and shows her approval rating has tumbled to a fresh low of 37 percent.

With a disapproval rating of 52 percent, only a handful of other governors in the nation are worse, according to the online Morning Consult survey conducted from July thru September and that carries an MOE of 3 percent.

Martinez's long descent can be blamed in part on the state's ongoing economic malaise which has the state's unemployment rate the second highest in the nation and overall economic growth sputtering. Another cause political observers see is her ill-advised veto earlier this year of the entire higher education budget which drew wrath from across the political spectrum,

There's another reason for her lengthy, grinding decline. It stems from December 2015, following her irregular and widely criticized behavior at a holiday staff pizza party at which bottles were thrown from the hotel balcony where it was taking place.

We said at the time that it would be the beginning of the end of her popularity because the behavior revealed was so at odds with the carefully constructed personality that until then she and her handlers had put forth. That prediction, although scoffed at by some, proved correct and Martinez has been slowly marginalized ever since. Our lead from then:

The New Mexican governorship was irrevocably redefined for the final three years of Governor Susana Martinez's second term as a cheerful holiday staff party she threw at Santa Fe's elegant Eldorado Hotel descended into a political nightmare of the highest order.

And so it has. And it may not be over for the troubled chief executive. She has 13 months to go during which time the candidates fighting to succeed her will be attacking her record and giving cause to make her even more unpopular.

Like Martinez, Bill Richardson, who preceded her as Governor, flew high in his first term only to crash and burn in his second and ended with a dismal 33 percent approval rating, Martinez rode those numbers to the Governor's Mansion in 2010.

Ironically, before she is done, her numbers stand a good chance of falling even lower than Richardson's--if they haven't already.


The ABQ Journal will not come with a poll on the ABQ mayoral race until November 12, the Sunday before the election, according to campaign staffers.

The only public poll so far was done for KOB-TV immediately after the October 3 election and it had Tim Keller leading Dan Lewis in the November 14 run-off 49 to 36.

We may get one more poll from the TV station before the balloting, says a station source. Insider polling now has Keller polling above the 50 percent mark.


Lewis & Berry
For the first time in the long campaign the name of Mayor Berry is actually said aloud in a paid media ad. The political committee supporting Tim Keller came with a mild attack ad against Dan Lewis in which a narrator says: "Councilman Dan Lewis voted for and supports the failed policies of Mayor Berry."

Mayor Berry's approval rating was at a low 34 percent in a recent Journal poll.

Meanwhile, the state GOP has come with two ads for social media. One goes after Keller for an ethics complaint filed agains him. The other attacks Dem city council candidate Cynthia Borrego who is in a run-off election in council District 5 with Republican Robert Aragon. The ad calls her "Shady Cynthia Borrego" and says she is backed by "extreme progressives like Tim Keller" and asks: "How radical is she?"

Well, we wouldn't call Borrego "radical" but the ads against here sure are.


Some push back from the Keller camp on the Tuesday blog where it was noted that Dem City Councilor Klarissa Pena was the only Democratic City Councilor who did not sign on as a "co-host" for a fund-raiser being staged by the political committee that is backing Keller. The Kellerites note that Pena is expected to give a formal endorsement of Keller's candidacy this week.

The endorsement to come of Keller by Pena is duly noted but so again is her disagreement with Keller on the controversial Santolina planned community for the far westside. She is favorable towards it and Keller is not.

The bottom line is this: If Keller becomes mayor his relationship with Councilor Pena will be one to watch. Don't say we didn't tell you.


Endorsements of candidates are usually filled with run-of-the-mill political rhetoric but this one for Keller from House Speaker Brian Egolf actually deals with the reality ABQ is facing:

Over the last eight years, crime rates have risen dramatically. Many are struggling to find a good job, put food on the table, or pay the mortgage. The city's economy is stagnant, and Albuquerque's young people are leaving to find opportunities elsewhere. It's tragic...especially because it shouldn't be this way. Albuquerque has all the ingredients to be an amazing, world-class city: a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, perfect climate, and--most of all--creative, resilient people who deserve smart and innovative leadership to move their city forward. Tim Keller is that leader. . .

And in case you missed it, here's some equal time on the endorsement beat for Lewis. He finally secured the backing of Wayne Johnson, his  Republican rival in the October 3 election who finished fourth in the eight person field:

As a County Commissioner I understand the challenges our city and county face. It’s critical that our next mayor already have a working knowledge of those challenges and how the city can face them. Dan Lewis’ experience in business and on the city council make him the best choice for mayor on November 14th.


Reader Larry Gioannini in Las Cruces wants more coverage of Dem Guv candidate Peter DeBenedittis and comes with this:

Peter kicked off the southern part of his campaign for the Democratic governor nomination last Thursday in Las Cruces. He started with a very well attended "meet and greet" followed by an appearance at the Progressive Voter Alliance monthly meeting; a necessity for any Democrat on the ballot in Dona Ana County. His platform resonates with progressives. That and the fact he isn't accepting corporate money. He laid out a viable path to the nomination in a 4-way race and he exposed some of the inconsistencies in the other candidates' positions was well-received.

Freelance journalist Daniel Libit, author of the NM Fishbowl site that watchdogs UNM athletics, comes with this:

If you’ll indulge the abject cravenness of my self-promotion here, I wanted to alert you to the New York Times’ very nice profile of NMFishbowl.com.

No problem, Daniel. Running a blog on New Mexico politics makes "abject cravenness" right in our wheelhouse.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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