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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Clippings From Our Newsroom Floor On The Election Week That Was 

On the radio (Bralley) And so it begins. Here's Republican Dan Lewis the day after the city election that put him in a mayoral run-off with Dem Tim Keller:

Let me say this, Tim Keller is not a bad person, but we disagree on how we should reform and renew our city. I am tough on crime, he’s voted for carve-outs for sex predators. I will create a system where you know when judges release career criminals back on to our streets, so you can vote them out. My opponent will protect their identities and their weak-on-crime records. . . If you believe that it’s time to declare war on criminals and restore safety; that it’s time for a champion for entrepreneurs, innovators and job creators; that it’s time to reform and renew ABQ - I ask for your vote. . . 

Front-runner Keller will try to stay above the fray as long as possible and on Wednesday he did just that:

Together, we built a winning coalition that is uniting our city from every corner. Our effort was truly block-by-block, bringing together broad and diverse groups, of every political stripe, in support of a common goal. What is clear is that our message of leadership and urgency is resonating, especially our plans to attack the unacceptable crime crisis and bring immediate relief to our families on day one as mayor. This was also a win against special interest money and a strong statement of support for the idea that how we elect our next mayor matters.

The run-off is not until November 14 so everyone has time to catch their breath before the pace gets breathless again.

TURNOUT TALE

Early Wednesday (and we mean early) we had the mayoral turnout on the blog and Facebook at 98,000. It was actually about 97,000 with a turnout of about 29 percent of the registered. It was the highest turnout since the 2001 city election.

Also in that first draft, we forgot to mention that ABQ Dem City Councilor Klarissa Pena was re-elected to the council in a landslide win. And we also did not mention that all the bond issues--totaling $125 million--were approved by voters.

One thing seems certain: The run-off election, lacking the sick leave ordinance and other circumstances, will not approach 97,000 voters. How low it goes from there is anyone's guess.

MORE NUMBERS

One of our longtime readers comes with some interesting play on the Election Night numbers:

So working off of a vote total of 96,971 voters who cast ballots in the mayoral race. . . For the bond questions 2,264 people voted only in the mayor’s race and didn’t go any further on the ballot. But of real interest:  The sick leave question drew only 91,384 voters so 5,587 voters did not turn their ballot over.

You had to turn your ballot over to vote on the convoluted sick leave ordinance, another reason it failed Election Night.

ALLIGATOR ANALYSIS

The election cries out for more analysis from the spare-no one-Gators. Here they come:

--The election was a big time embarrassment for Attorney General Hector Balderas who endorsed his buddy Brian Colón with TV ads but could not get him over the finish line.

--It was an embarrassment for the ABQ Journal and its owners, the Lang family, who clearly have little influence anymore. Witness their endorsement and performance of Brian Colón who they wrongly labeled a "Progressive Democrat."

--It was an embarrassment for Gov. Martinez political consultant Jay McCleskey who couldn’t get his guy Robert Aragon over 50% to win in city council District 5 on the westside. If he can’t win a city council seat currently held by a Republican then it might not bode well for Monty Newman who is seeking the Republican nomination for the southern congressional seat and who has enlisted Jay's help.

That District 5 council seat ended as tight as a too wet swimsuit, with Dem Cynthia Borrego closing within one point of Aragon. They will face each other in the run-off election Nov. 14. McCleskey is consulting Aragon. Scott Forrester is consulting Borrego. Start your engines, boys.

FREE FOLDING

The ABQ Free Press--the alternative newspaper that raised hell for several years over the condition of the city and did a good job of it--folded its website just days before the election and apparently won't be around for the mayoral run-off. Why it could not hang on a month or two longer after all that spade work is perplexing. Months ago it halted its print edition due to a lack of advertising but the website was relatively inexpensive to run. If you want to change the world, fellas, you gotta be in it.

MORE EARLY, PLEASE

Early voting was a winner and a loser. We had good turnout, but former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones is among those saying it's high time the city followed the county and includes Saturday early voting and also keeps the early polls open until 7 p.m. instead of closing at 6.

But the way, the early and absentee vote accounted for 46 percent of the total turnout and fooled the crystal ball readers who thought it would go higher. It was 47% in 2013 and has grown in popularity sine then. But the surprise Election Day rush to the polls had the early vote failing to breach the 50 percent mark as many (including yours truly) had predicted.

And that is a wrap and a take for this most interesting of weeks. Thanks for coming along for the ride. We'll see you back here Monday. This is it. . .

The home of New Mexico politics.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Good For You, ABQ! Voter Turnout Soars; Nearly 100,000 Come Out As Apathy Takes A Bath; Keller Blows The Doors Off For 1st In Mayor Derby; Lewis Takes 2nd; Sick Leave Gets The Flu; Incumbent Councilors Fare Well 

Tim Keller (Rosales, Journal)
Wow! You don't hear that often from jaded observers of La Politica but we heard it in spades Tuesday night as the vote rolled in. . . and kept rolling in until we neared the nearly awe inspiring total of 100,000 city voters.

Unofficial results showed just about 97,000 voted in the mayoral contest. That came very close to beating the record set in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks.

That gladdened the hearts of those who have been fretting over a city that seemed to have accepted the historic crime wave, the ongoing economic stagnation and a political class that continually underestimated the city's woes or simply denied them.

But voting, if anything, is an exercise is hope. And hope was the new Duke City fad Tuesday. You could only hope that unlike the miniskirt or Rubik's cube, this fad was here to stay. It brought back fond memories of the city's slogan during the go-go years of the 90's--"Good for You, Albuquerque!"

But voting alone isn't going to turn around a deeply troubled ABQ. It will take strong and determined mayoral leadership and Tuesday voters decided that it would be either Democrat Tim Keller or Republican Dan Lewis who is up to the task, but Keller more so and by a margin of landslide proportions.

KELLER VS. LEWIS

Keller aced the pollsters and pundits and secured 38,156 votes or 39.35 percent, just a shade shy of the 40 percent mark that used to be good enough to avoid a run-off election. But the rules changed and now a candidate needs 50 percent so State Auditor Keller, 39, will now engage in what is expected to be a rough and tumble run-off election with City Councilor Lewis, 47, who placed second with 22,238 votes or 22.93 percent.

All results here.

Dan Lewis (Sorber, Journal)
That huge gap between the two was a point of focus for our team of experts on our KANW 89.1 FM broadcast as the returns arrived onto their computer screens. Said former city councilor, longtime political consultant and ABQ attorney Greg Payne:

Dan had to be hoping for a single digit separation between himself and Tim. This gap of close to 16 points makes it much more difficult for him to prevail in the run-off on November 14th. He will need something special to happen, if Keller is to be denied. 

That "something special" will likely take the form of an all out attack against Keller by Lewis. He told our radio audience that Keller is soft on crime, accusing him of having a program that he derisively labeled "hug a thug."

Keller, nursing a victory that everyone knew was coming but no one imagined would be as big as it turned out, was not taking the bait and chuckled at the blistering. But he did dig at Lewis by saying he wants the finger-pointing over the crime wave to stop and indirectly mocked Lewis for blaming the judges. He said politicians need "to own responsibility for our city."

It will have to be Lewis who plays the most offense as he tries to jar the ball loose from Keller's now firm grip. In a city where Dems heavily outnumber R's Keller starts with a decided advantage. For his part Lewis worked those numbers, telling us he has never been "a partisan figure" as he began the job of convincing D's to come to his aid.

COLON'S PLAY

Keller was now seen getting the public endorsement of former NM Dem Party Chairman Brian Colón who finished third with 15,844 or 16.38 percent of the vote. Colón spent over $800,000, by far the most of any of the eight mayoral candidates, only to see an engaged electorate seek the more forceful messages offered by Keller and Lewis.

While Colón can be expected to publicly raise his hand for Keller, it remained uncertain if the former chairman, a consummate deal maker, would play any footsie with Lewis who sorely needs Colón Democrats if he is to have a realistic shot.

THE MONEY RACE

The money race begins today along with the vote chase. Will the GOP and its associated groups shrug off the big margin between Keller and Lewis and still go all in with their contributions or will they hold back, fearing a Mayor Keller could call them to account?

And how will Keller's effort be financed? He opted for public financing and only gets $125,000 for the run-off. Lewis can raise as much as he wants. What third party groups will come to Keller's aid and will that create controversy? And will a third party financed campaign be as effective as Lewis's who can run his own show?

Another question: We had nearly 100,000 cast ballots in the first round. But that is sure to drop in the second round. How will that play out?

While Lewis will hammer Keller on crime, lurking in the background is Lewis's association with conservative church leader Reverend Smotherman as well as his endorsement from the National Rifle Association which suddenly looks much less valuable in the wake of the worst mass shooting in modern US history this week in Las Vegas.

TURNOUT TALE

(Rosales & Thompson, Journal)
Former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones let out a "Yipee" when former BernCo GOP Chairman Rick Abraham announced at KANW that the turnout had closed in on the 100,000 mark. It was that kind of night for Dems, Republicans, Independents and anyone else who cares deeply about the future of our city. They all agree that only a spirited and passionate debate about the city's future can pull us out of what some have likened to a death spiral.

So what was behind the unpredicted turnout surge?

Payne and I discussed it in detail and came up with these theories:

--Keller's campaign had put unprecedented energy into the "ground game" mobilizing some 400 volunteers to get out his vote--and they did.

--The controversial sick leave ordinance, which was narrowly defeated, energized both foes and supporters when the final polling showed the outcome too close to call.

--Then there was Las Vegas. Did that horrific crime hit home in ABQ where everyday folks are fed up with the constant barrage of thefts and violence? It very well may have, posited longtime Democratic activist and former NM Court of Appeals Judge Ira Robinson.

Whatever the reasons, it was a welcome reprieve from the long decline in voter participation in city elections. With about 336,000 registered voters the turnout amounted to about 29 percent, but it was the raw total of nearly six figures that really brought out the grins.

CITY COUNCIL ACTION

Incumbent Dem Councilor Ken Sanchez on the westside and Republican Don Harris on the east side coasted to easy re-election victories, crossing the 50 percent threshold to avoid a run-off. Ditto for NE Heights Dem incumbent Diane Gibson. Her race also ended in a rout, sending her back to the council for another four years. Klarissa Pena also coasted to an easy council re-election win in her valley council seat.

In District 5, the westside council seat Dan Lewis is giving up to run for mayor, an exciting run-off will be held between Republican Robert Aragon and Dem Cynthia  Borrego who finished just a point behind him. If Borrgeo pulls off the upset the  council would go from a 5 to 4 Dem majority to a 6 to 3 Dem majority. That would be a veto-proof council, if the next mayor were a Dem.

SICK LEAVE FAILS

The vote on the proposed ordinance to mandate sick leave for all city employees--both full-time and part-time--was narrowly defeated late Tuesday--50.39 to 49.61 percent.

Gerges Scott, who helped run the campaign against the measure from his perch at the Agenda PR firm, credited Dems who crossed over to vote against the ordinance.

Supporters of the proposal--financed mainly by out-of-town interests--spent well over $500,000 on the effort to pass it while the opponents never came close to that total. But the ordinance was so badly worded that even leading Dem supporters said they would work to change it if it passed. That kind of messaging sure didn't help.

THE BOTTOM LINES

A hearty thanks to my radio team, one of the best we've had in nearly 30 years of calling elections for public radio. We finished about midnight, late for a city election as we waited for the final sick leave count. I am writing to you at 2 a.m. and want to sign off by also thanking you for your continued interest and support. It makes it a whole lot of fun. Now let's get ready for that run-off election.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Election Day '17: Our Live Continuous Coverage Starts At 6:30 P.M. On KANW 89.1 FM and KANW.COM; Vegas Tragedy Casts Pall on E Day; Keller And Lewis In Dueling Beer Parties And Candidates Start Dropping Out For '18 

Our live, continuous wall-to-wall coverage of ABQ Election '17 kicks off at 6:30 this evening on KANW-FM 89.1 and you can also listen at kanw.com. Joining me to call all the action will be former ABQ City Councilors Greg Payne and Pete Dinelli; former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones; Dem strategist and consultant Sisto Abeyta; veteran attorney David Buchholtz and former BernCo GOP Chairman Rick Abraham. We look forward to having you with us and finding out together who will lead the races for mayor and city council. 

The tragedy in Las Vegas casts a pall over City Election '17. Vegas is like a second home for many New Mexicans who vacation there often, taking a short flight on SW Airlines to enjoy the good life and nightlife for a couple of days. The tragedy hit home.

Depending on who you ask the carnage in Las Vegas will drive turnout lower for today's Mayoral election or because it highlights crime, ABQ's #1 problem, perhaps it drives people to the polls. Whatever the case, the election was made to look much smaller and even incidental when set against the backdrop of the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

Until the Vegas story broke, ABQ voters continued to get peppered relentlessly with a parade of bad news--all reasons for them to get out and vote--if they could be convinced it would make a difference,

On the heels of the city being proclaimed the worst city in the nation for auto theft came the report that NM is now #1 in the nation in property crime, led by ABQ. Then we were hammered by a WalletHub study that said we rank 450th out of 515 cities for economic growth. Talk about a full plate for the next mayor. The winner may eventually come to envy the losers.

BATTLE OF THE BREWS

You might say Democrat Tim Keller and Republican Dan Lewis, the favorites to advance to a November 14th mayoral run-off after tonight's votes are counted, aren't waiting to fire up the competition. For this evening's festivities they have both decided to throw parties at local breweries.

Keller's party will be at Red Door Brewing Company at 400 Gold Ave SW in downtown ABQ. Lewis will host supporters at the Flix Brewhouse on the westside at 3200 La Orilla Road.  Before the night is done maybe Tim and Dan will be yelling at each other, "tastes great!" "No, less filling!"

Dem Brian Colón is holding on to hope that he and not Lewis might squeeze into second place and make it into a run-off against front-runner Keller. He will stay at his NE Heights home with friends and well-wishers tonight. Republican Wayne Johnson, who has caused a stir by continuing to attack fellow Republican Lewis right up until the opening of the polls, will host a party tonight at Pelican's Restaurant at 9800 Montgomery NE.

LOST VOTERS

We've lost over 50,000 voters. That's right. Rick Abraham of Data Flux says the Bernalillo County Clerk confirms this year's purge of nonactive voters has resulted in the city regulation total of about 380,000 coming way down:

Per Carrie Fields at the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office, 52,042 voters have been purged since the last City election due mostly to voters moving or dying. There are currently 336,174 Albuquerque voters as of July 2017. There are 155,490 Democrats, 96,927 Republicans and 83,757 Independents and others. Democrats make up 46% of the voters, while Republicans are 29% and Independents are 25%. Districts 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 lean Democrat. Districts 8 and 9 lean Democrat. Districts 4 and 5 are swing districts. Districts 1 and 7 are very similar registrations, as well as Districts 3 and 8 and Districts 4 and 5. District 2 and 9 are strongholds for their respective parties.

There are elections for city council today in Districts 1,3,5,7, and 9. The council is currently controlled by the Democrats 5 to 4. Abraham has compiled a comprehensive report on the over 41,000 early voters. You can find that here.

LEWIS VS. JOHNSON

We've blogged of the deep rivalry between R's Wayne Johnson and Dan Lewis but Lewis supporter and Republican Doug Antoon says the item that Johnson and Lewis did not want to share election night headquarters was one-sided:

The incorrect item was about the two candidates refusing to even be around each other on election night or collaborating on a joint event. Dan was good with a GOP joint event and we were ready to help put it to together until Wayne refused to even be in the same room as Dan, and nothing and no one was going to change his mind.

Longtime blog critic and former GOP State Senator Rod Adair resurfaced on election eve to challenge our view (and that of innumerable Republicans) that the camp of Gov Martinez prefers Johnson over Lewis:

Monahan claims Martinez is supporting Wayne Johnson. Really? Best we can tell Martinez has not endorsed anyone, let alone Johnson. . . It appears she has not helped Johnson raise a single dime. . . Martinez’s consultants are not working for Johnson. All anyone has to do is look at the campaign finance reports. Johnson’s fundraiser is Anne Ekern, who used to work for Congresswoman Heather Wilson. Finance reports show that Johnson’s mail is being produced by Direct Edge, from Nashville. And Johnson himself is producing his own television ads.

DROP OUTS

Dunn
Two '18 candidates are calling it quits early. The biggie is State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn who has thrown in the towel on his bid for the GOP nomination for the southern congressional seat which Rep. Steve Pearce is vacating to run for Governor. Dunn is not saying exactly why he is getting out or whether he will now seek a second term at the land office. (We'd bet he will).

Dunn has made some bitter enemies in the powerful oil and gas industry because of his approach to certain energy-related issues. That's a key group when it comes to fund-raising and GOP votes down south,

That development would seem to be good news for Alamogordo GOP State Rep. Yvette Harrell who is also seeking the nomination and is getting positive early reviews. Also running are former Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman and Carlsbad pharmacist Jack Volpato.

There are a lot of Dems running but the national party is taking a pass on the race and the GOP nominee will probably have clear sailing.

And Annie Chavez, one of many of the contenders for the Dem nomination for the ABQ congressional seat which is being vacated by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham who, like Pearce, is running for her party's nomination for Governor, says she is calling it quits early. Chavez says her decision is due to unspecified "health reasons"

LUNCH WINNER

Maxwell Smart
The guessers jammed our email box with their answers to win the free lunch tickets to Wednesday's NM Foundation for Open Government (FOG) annual luncheon. Just about all of them guessed that the phrase "Cone of Silence"--meaning keeping information that should be public under wraps--originated with the popular 60's TV Series Get Smart and its secret agent Maxwell Smart. It's true the phrase was popularized there but as winner Paul Roybal correctly guessed:

The term "cone of silence" originated  in a TV series titled "Science Fiction Theater" on September 3rd, 1955 in the episode titled "Barrier of Silence".

Paul beat out reader Farley Vener by a mere two minutes who found this from Wikipedia on that episode and gets a consolation prize.

The story focused on finding a cure for Professor Richard Sheldon, who had been returned to the United States in a confused, altered state of mind after abduction by enemy agents while visiting Milan. Scientists discovered that placing Sheldon in an environment of total silence was the means of brainwashing, a precursor to later ideas of sensory deprivation, celebrated in such films as Altered States and sundry spy thriller.

Thanks to all the "Get Smart" aficionados who weighed in. Now go check out that episode of Science Fiction Theater.

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.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017

Monday, October 02, 2017

Election Eve '17: Mayoral Run-Off Looms Between Dem Keller And R Lewis; Final Polling Shows Colón Stalled; Johnson Still Nagging Lewis; Complete Coverage. Plus: Our Election Eve Special Starts At 5 p.m. Today On KANW 89.1 FM And KANW.COM, And: Your Chance To Win A Free Lunch From FOG 

Today's Election Eve Special on KANW 89.1 FM ABQ/Santa Fe and kanw.com begins at 5 p.m. with my panel of guest experts. We look forward to having you with us. More details on the program are in today's blog. 

The dust continues to settle on the ABQ mayoral race this election eve. When it clears tomorrow night it appears the city will be in for a partisan run-off to determine the ultimate winner.

The latest ABQ Journal poll released Sunday clarified the heated battle for second place and who will join front-runner and Democrat Tim Keller in the nearly certain run-off election that would be held November 14. We asked analyst and Dem attorney Greg Payne, a former ABQ city councilor, state representative and longtime political strategist, to sum up where the contest stands:

The Republicans are resolving their debate over Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson. Lewis has moved to 18 percent and Johnson is at 10 percent. That's a big divide and should  hasten the Republican drift toward Lewis making it possible for him to take second place and face Keller, who is the obvious first place finisher, in a run-off. 

In the late going Lewis appears to have benefited from endorsements from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the ABQ Journal. He has been running conservatively in the final hours--appearing at gun shops to tout his NRA endorsement and airing a TV spot saying he will hold judges accountable for the city crime wave. That's the way the R's like their politics.

Veteran media buyer Chris Brown in Santa Fe says Lewis ended up spending about $50,000 on TV the final 8 days, below the initial $68,000 a political operative had it pegged, but still healthy.

BY THE NUMBERS

Keller, who has tapped into the Dem Progressive vote, pulled 29 percent in the final Journal survey taken Tuesday thru Thursday. That's down from 33 percent in the PPP poll taken last Sunday and Monday and released on your Thursday blog. And it's up from 25% in the first Journal survey in mid-September. Both polls have MOE's of about 4 percent.

La Politica old timers noted that in 1997 when another mayoral candidate billed himself as a "Democratic Progressive" in a seven way race he received 29 percent of the vote. That was Jim Baca and because there was no run-of provision at the time he was elected ABQ's mayor. This year a candidate must receive 50 percent of the vote to win outright, highly improbable given where the race stands. (In '17, we also now have 7 candidates as Ricardo Chaves dropped out and endorsed Lewis).

Here are the complete Journal numbers:

Keller 29%, Lewis 18; Colón 14; Johnson 10; Garcia Holmes 4; Pedrotty 4; Wheeler-Deichsel and Ricardo Chaves, who dropped out of the race Thursday and endorsed Lewis, were both at 1%. 18 percent of the voters were still undecided. 

For Keller, a Lewis victory is just what he's hoping for. A partisan face-off in a heavy Democratic city would bode well for his chances to win in November. His most feared threat is from former NM Democratic Party Chairman Brian Colón but Colón only managed 14 percent in the Journal poll, the same as he had in the paper's mid-September survey. The lackluster performance is a major disappointment for Colón who raised over $800,000 for this campaign, far more than anyone else.

If the Journal and PPP have it right, Colón would be that rare example of a candidate who spends the most money yet fails to take the prize or even the consolation prize of second place.

UPDATE: Working the beat over the weekend for you, we were informed of fresh polling conducted Sunday night by a business interest that confirmed the Keller-Lewis trend, with Keller breaching the 30 percent mark and Lewis going over 20 as more voters made up their minds with just hours before the polls opened. 

BRIAN AND HECTOR

Colón and Balderas
The apparent Colón fade is a body blow to the prestige of Attorney General Hector Balderas, the BFF of Colón who cut a TV spot for Colón that helped move the Hispanic numbers toward his friend but then the campaign hit the wall.

Colón is only garnering 25% support among Hispanics while Keller is right behind him at 21%. An insider close to Balderas told us: "He can't wait until this thing is over."

Balderas will seek re-election next year as attorney general and is heavily favored, but he has also made an early endorsement of Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham for the Dem nod for Governor. If that should go awry, the AG would really be in the political back seat.

JOHNSON'S JAM

Wayne Johnson ran tough but he was always facing a stiff wind as the GOP was embroiled in an internecine battle between the the forces of Gov. Martinez and those who opposed her and led by former GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, Jr. and Congressman Steve Pearce who is the likely '18 GOP Guv nominee.

Ryan Cangiolosi, a former employee of oilman Yates, is now the party chairman and a good friend of Lewis's. Johnson was embraced, although not publicly, by Martinez, her chief political adviser Jay McCleskey and former GOP National Committeeman Pat Rogers who was ousted from that post by Yates. But the books are slowly closing on the Martinez era and the Yates-Pearce faction is taking the party back.

Unfortunately for Lewis, who has called for GOP unity for this election, Johnson, according to insiders, is in no frame of mind to endorse Lewis if he makes the run-off. The bitterness and rancor between the two GOP factions runs deep.

EVEN MORE 

The blogs are monstrous in size as we continue to labor to be your #1 source for the inside workings of Campaign '17. So now more Alligator analysis that helps us get the job done:

Lewis is probably going to be helped by the competitive city council race in his district. Colón is stalled and nothing at this point will really change that. Interesting that the candidates supported by various political establishment operations are faltering — the McCleskey/Martinez candidate, Wayne Johnson, and the Balderas candidate, Brian Colón. Can the establishment figures in Santa Fe like Balderas or the Martinez folks win the big races anymore? Shows people want a change from the normal political operators. Lewis should just get over 20% and Keller should just get over 30% and they’ll be in the runoff.

POLL DEBATE

For those who don't believe in polls and point to Trump's win as evidence that they are useless, remember they are more accurate when detecting a trend that is clear and bold such as the Keller lead. And in this last Journal survey (and PPP's) there's something else to keep in mind--not a few of those surveyed had already actually cast ballots by early voting. That increases the accuracy of the surveys.

FREE FOG LUNCH


So what's FOG? It's the NM Foundation for Open Government (FOG). The two lunch tickets we are giving away today are to the annual FOG lunch at noon tomorrow at the Embassy Suites Hotel. The event celebrates government transparency. Individuals who have contributed greatly to that movement will be honored as transparency "Superheroes." The lunch tickets are $60 each but free to a lucky blog reader who can answer this question conjured up by FOG executive director Peter St. Cyr:

Today the "cone of silence” isn’t a Hollywood stage prop. It’s more of a slang phrase when governing bodies collectively refuse to release public information. On what TV episode did the Cone of Silence first appear?

You got us stumped, Peter. Let's see if one of our readers know. Email your guesses. First correct answer wins the lunch tickets and the chance to help celebrate transparency in New Mexico.

TURNOUT TAKE 

About that early vote, we ended with about 42,000 being cast. In the 2013 mayoral race, according to pollster Sanderoff, 47 percent of the vote was cast early. Since then early voting has gained in popularity so the political pros are saying that this year it will represent between 55 and 60 percent of the total vote.

If the number is 55 percent, that would mean about 33, 000 or so votes will be cast tomorrow, giving us a total turnout in the vicinity of 75,000. That' still low, but it beats the 70,000 turnout in 2013 which was the lowest raw vote total for a mayoral race since the 1970's.

SICK LEAVE UNCERTAIN

The final Journal survey had the proposed sick leave ordinance declining in popularity from 53% in its mid-Sept. survey to 48% in the final polling last week. 44 percent were  opposed. 8 percent remained undecided. Note that the undecided of 8 percent contrasts with the high 18 percent undecided in the mayoral race. Strong views have developed on the controversial proposal as debate intensified. The mayor's race has generated less passion.

Michael Horanberg, the political director for the NM GOP which opposes the measure, says they are increasingly confident that they can eke out a victory against the measure which would mandate sick leave for all city workers. "A lower turnout environment favors our side," he argued.

Analyst Payne said he was surprised that 23 percent of the Democrats survey opposed the sick leave ordinance but agreed that a low turnout dominated by an older electorate means a more conservative turnout. Along with stepped up negative campaigning against the proposal, that could be a key reason why it's run into trouble in the final days.

ELECTION EVE SPECIAL 

Buffett
There's plenty to talk about on this day before the final voting in the city election and we'll do just that on our traditional Election Eve special which kicks off today at 5 p.m. on KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com.

Joining me for an in-depth look at the mayoral race, the sick leave ordinance and the bond issues on the ballot will be former GOP City Councilor and State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, veteran Dem strategist and consultant Sisto Abeyta, former BernCo GOP chairman Rick Abraham, ABQ attorney David Buchholtz and longtime Dem activist Sandy Buffett.

Tuesday night--Election Night--our wall-to-wall coverage on KANW begins at 6:30.

We look forward to having you with us once again and appreciate your continued interest and support.

VOTING TOMORROW?

If you are planning to cast your vote tomorrow check out the League of Women Voters Central NM Guide for the 2017 city election. It discusses all the candidates and issues on the ballot. The ABQ Journal election guide is here. And there are mayoral candidate interviews posted on the sites of KOAT, KOB and KRQE. Voting locations for the city election are here.

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.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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