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Monday, March 19, 2018

Apodaca Scrambles To Keep Candidacy Going But Big Money Looms Over Him, Also: Year Of The Woman Candidates Challenges APO and Cervantes, Plus: Susana Hits Trump And That's No Way To Get Work 

Jeff Apodaca continues to work feverishly to keep alive his underdog gubernatorial candidacy. According to FCC reports, he spent $40,000 on TV ads this past month, saying that New Mexico needs 'big ideas" to pull itself up. He scored a moral victory when the Dem pre-primary convention awarded him 21 percent of its delegates, one point more than required to win an official spot on the June 5 ballot. And coming out of that convention last Saturday Apodaca secured the endorsement of Guv rival Peter DeBenedettis who then folded his candidacy. Also, Dem Lt. Governor candidate Jeff Carr, who failed to reach the 20 percent threshold, quit that race and endorsed Apodaca for the Dem Guv nod.

These little bumps give Apodaca supporters hope that he can catch fire in the final weeks. But looming over the campaign is that $1.6 million in cash Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham reported last October. New money reports are due next month and that amount is expected to have grown. Apodaca loaned himself a hefty amount and reported $700,000 in cash last October. State Senator Joe Cervantes also loaned himself major dollars and reported $750,000 in cash.

Political insiders point out that besides being outspent another problem that Apodaca and Cervantes have is the party's embrace of women candidates and the energy being generated by them this cycle, prompted by the #metoo movement and the Trump presidency.

The trend is most recently seen with the two candidates to replace Dem Party Chair Richard Ellenberg who resigned after criticism that he did not treat sexual misconduct charges against some Dems seriously enough. Running for the slot are Marg Elliston, chair of the Sandoval Dem County Party and wife of legendary former US Senator Fred Harris. (Dem activist Sharla Parsons had been mentioned as a possible candidate but now says she does not think she will run.)

No men have entered the race.The new chair will be picked at a Dem Central Committee meeting next month.

Also, the two leading ABQ congressional candidates at the Dem pre-primary were both women--Deb Haaland and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez. And for the first time ever, a woman--State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard--led the pre-primary in the race for state land commissioner. Not to mention that the two Dem candidates for the southern congressional seat are both women--Xochitl Torres Small and Mad Hildebrandt.

Women are a majority in the state Democratic Party and while that may not have always shown itself in the past, it certainly is this time around. Apodaca and Cervantes will have to figure something out.

SECOND LOOK

With a possible Dem wave building the Alligators are taking a second look at that southern congressional seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Steve Pearce who is running for Governor. They point out that the last time Pearce left the seat, in 2008, he was replaced by Democrat Hearry Teague in the Obama wave election. Pearce came back in 2010 and took Teague out.

The Cook Political Report latest ranking of the sprawling district has it "lean Republican" which cracks the door open for the Dems, given that it does not win the safest ranking of "Solid R." (The ABQ and northern congressional districts are both ranked "Solid D."

SUSANA JOB WATCH

There has been speculation that despite their differences Trump could tap Gov. Martinez for some kind of job before she leaves office at the end of the year. But maybe she has already received word that that is not going to happen. Take a look:

Martinez received vigorous applause Thursday when she was critical of President Trump’s characterization of Mexican immigrants, saying that “everybody is sick and tired of the rhetoric” by the president. Martinez gave the keynote speech in Houston for the opening of the Annual Women’s Conference & Business Expo, an event organized by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Martinez told the audience that she had a back and forth with Trump “especially when he speaks about illegal immigrants…and making all those horrible comments about the type of people that come (into) the country.”

Okay. Susana, may be on the outs with the Prez, but we're still holding out hope for Lt. Governor John Sanchez and the rumor that he could get an ambassadorship from the White House. Keep hope alive, John.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Longtime and mostly behind-the-scenes ABQ TV news producer Johnny "On The Spot" Chandler, 38, is headed to the Mayor Keller administration. After 16 years in the stress bubble of TV he has left KOB-TV to become the new public information officer for the ABQ Municipal Development Department, report City Hall Alligators. His wife, Toni Balzano, got the jump on him when it comes to PR. She runs her own ABQ firm.

We labeled former NM Dem Party Chairman Richard Ellenberg a Bernie Sanders backer but several readers point out he drew support from both Sanders and Clinton supporters when he sought the chairmanship.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2018
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