Monday, July 09, 2018

One Down And Four Months To Go In Guv Derby: How Are They Doing? Plus: At Your Service: Our Politicos And Military Service; Does It Make A Difference?  

It's one month down and four to go in the 2018 gubernatorial derby. Neither candidate tried for an early knockdown, unlike 2010 when then Dem Guv hopeful Diane Denish tried unsuccessfully to take out Republican Susana Martinez with a spate of negative TV ads only days after that year's June primary.

Both Dem nominee Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican hopeful Steve Pearce put up TV ads for the first month but they are positive bio spots that aim to build good feelings among the electorate before the heavy hitting starts after summer.

The major development in the first month since the June 5 primary was the release of two public polls that both showed Lujan Grisham over the critical 50 percent mark, with SurveyUSA calling it 51% to 38 for her and the Carroll PR landline survey showing similar results. That put Pearce on defense as his pollsters pushed back against the methodology of the polls. Still. . .

The greatest fear of Pearce is that the race will be put to bed early with a series of polls showing Lujan Grisham with a firm lead that will scare off his donors. That's why he pushed back hard against these first surveys, but tellingly his campaign has not released any fresh polling of its own. For what it's worth Dem insiders think Lujan Grisham has the lead but more on the order of eight points rather than the double digit lead she sports in these early surveys.

Because of her post-primary polling lead and the way she crushed her two Dem rivals in the June primary by garnering 66 percent of the vote, Lujan Grisham retains the title of front-runner going into the second month. Also, even though her cash on hand has gone below Pearce's because of money she spent in her contested primary, she did out raise him in the campaign's first month--$433,000 to $321,000--further cementing her front-runner status.

Lujan Grisham reported $873,000 cash on hand in the first report following the primary and filed last Thursday. Pearce reported $1.943 million in cash. Pearce had no primary challenge.

Going forward big picture trends demand Pearce's attention. No two term governorship has been followed by a governor of the same party. Can he successfully separate himself from unpopular GOP Governor Martinez or will she be hung around his neck? Also, how can he attract more women to his candidacy in a year when Democratic women are hitting it out of the park?

For Lujan Grisham the task for the next thirty days is the same as the last: Don't fritter away your lead by dropping the ball and giving Pearce an opening--and prepare for the guns of August.


Pearce's current TV ad highlights his military service in Vietnam which made us wonder just how many of the state's top politicos of the past 50 years or so served in the military. Actually, few of them is the somewhat surprising answer. Here's a look:

US SENATE--Democratic Senators Dennis Chavez, Clinton Anderson, Joe Montoya, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall did not serve in the military. Neither did Republican Senators Pete Domenici. Sen. Schmitt, an astronaut who walked on the moon, received Air Force jet pilot wings in 1965 and Navy helicopter wings in 1967. Senator Jeff Bingaman was a member of the US Army Reserve from 1968 to 1974.

GOVERNOR--None of the last three Governors---Martinez, Bill Richardson or Gary Johnson--served in the military, Former three term Governor Bruce King served in the Army in WWII. Former Governor Jerry Apodaca ('75-'79) served in the Marines.

ABQ CONGRESS--You find more military service with our US House reps. However the man who represented the ABQ district longer than anyone--Congressman Manuel Lujan-- ('69-89) did not serve. Republican Steve Schiff, who followed Lujan, was a reservist in the NM Air National Guard. Heather Wilson, who succeeded Schiff, was an Air Force officer for seven years and was the first female military veteran elected to a full term in Congress. Today she is Secretary of the Air Force.

SOUTHERN CONGRESS--Democrat Harold Runnels '71-80 served in the US Army Air Force Reserves in WWII; Republican Joe Skeen, who held the seat for over 20 years, served in the US Navy in WWII; Current Rep. Steve Pearce served as an Air Force pilot from '70-76. Dem Harry Teague, who held the seat for one term, had no military service.

NORTHERN CONGRESS---Bill Richardson and Tom Udall both had this seat and as mentioned earlier neither served in the military. Current Dem Rep. Ben Ray Lujan has no military service. However,  Republican Bill Redmond, who served one term in a fluke election in the heavy Dem Northern district, did serve in the US Army Reserve.

And there you have it. It seems military credentials might bolster a candidate but they are far from necessary to climb to the top of the ladder of La Poltica.


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