Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Clamoring Over Clemente: New Possible Foe Surfaces Against Coalition Senator Sanchez, Plus: ABQ Council Candidate Rejects Negative Bait  

Pam Cordova
The effort to break the powerful conservative state senate coalition appears to be getting more serious with word that Pam Cordova, president of the NM Federation Democratic Women, is contemplating a primary challenge against Dem State Senator Clemente Sanchez who is embroiled in a feud with the progressive wing of the party and who is a key member of the coalition.

Cordova, 62, is widely known in Dem circles and has a political pedigree. Her mother, Kandy Cordova, was a six year state representative (2001-'07) from Valencia County. Pam Cordova is registered to vote in Rio Communities near Belen. She is retired from a 26 year teaching career at Belen and Los Lunas public schools.

Sanchez is seeking his third term in Senate District 30 next year but must get past the June primary where in the past he narrowly survived a challenge. The district is made up of parts of McKinley, Cibola, Valencia and Socorro counties.

The coalition busters think that a Hispanic woman may have the best shot of wining a primary against Sanchez as well as Senator John Arthur Smith of Deming, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the leader of the coalition that counts as its members all 16 GOP state senators and a handful of conservative Senate Dems. Together they can form a majority in the 42 member body and vote to thwart progressive legislation or stifle it at the committee level.

One proposal that has raised the ire of the anti-coalition D's is the repeated defeat of the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow a portion of the $18 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to be tapped for early childhood education. It is backed by Gov. Lujan Grisham but she was frustrated by the coalition at this year's legislative session. The measure passed the House but failed to get traction in the Senate in the face of coalition opposition.


Sen. Sanchez
The Governor's fingerprints are not showing up in the early stages of the Senate primary races but no one has more at stake in the outcome. The coalition has accumulated major power in the past ten years and has pushed aside two Senate Majority Leaders in doing so. And now this Governor who unlike her predecessor does not always share their ideology.

Sanchez and John Arthur Smith are top targets of the anti-coalition D's but even northern Dem Senators like Pete Campos and Carlos Cisneros, who are not usually aligned with the coalition, are preparing for primary challenges because of their conservative stances on social issues such as abortion. Pro-choice groups could come with major league money in their primaries and others.

Pam Cordova has not made an official announcement about challenging Sanchez. Political insiders in Valencia are saying they think she is a go but do not expect a formal announcement until after summer. She did not respond to an inquiry for this report.


One of the major candidates in the race for the ABQ city council seat held by Ike Benton isn't taking the bait. Joseph Griego of the North Valley says he won't conduct negative campaigning based on that embarrassing video of Benton phoning into a city council meeting attacking city firefighters that was featured on the Monday blog. Says Griego:

Today’s politics are filled with too many candidates playing the game of gotcha. The fact of the matter is that Councilor Benton has apologized to ABQ Fire Chief Dow for his colorful remarks and it seems the Chief has accepted. That’s good enough for me. Many political talking heads have made statements about whether or not myself or my fellow candidates will be making hay of this in our campaigns. I am committed to running a clean campaign, a campaign that talks about the issues that are affecting our communities. Not the gaffe’s of another candidate. I am further committed to not allowing any independent expenditure or outside committee to attack any of my opponents on issues like this. . . 

Well, Griego may be committed to "not allowing" independent committees from nuking Benton over his attack on city firefighters but that can't stop them. As for Benton, let's take a year off his recently listed age. He just turned 68--not 69. Griego is 29. Benton opponent Zack Quintero is 28.

Hey, it takes at least two Millenials to bring down a Boomer.

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