Sunday, October 02, 2005

Mayor Marty Poised For Unprecedented 3rd Term; He's Above Magic 40% In Final Poll; Policy Trumps Personality As City Prepares To Vote; A Sunday Blog 

ABQ Mayor Chavez
There are probably a number of people you work with who bug you. Guys or gals who just rub you the wrong way. Maybe they're a little too pushy, too aggressive, too in your face. Or they seem to know more than you and aren't shy about letting you know it. But is that grounds for firing them? No. And that's where the 2005 race for Albuquerque mayor stands in its final 48 hours.

53 year old Martin Chavez is poised for an unprecedented third term (the first to win two in a row) as mayor of the state's largest city not because of his personality, but because of his policies. Try as they might, his foes efforts to personalize this race--think "Smarty Marty" commercials, have been a failure by any definition.

The final ABQ Journal poll released today shows Chavez garnering 42.6% of the vote, up from 40% in the first poll last month and securely over the 40% required to avoid a run-off. Second place is a tie with City Councilors Eric Griego and Brad Winter each coming in with 18.8% and unknown David Steele at 2.6%. Undecided is a high 17.6%. Margin of error is plus or minus 4.4%. The poll was conducted Thursday and Friday.

It's possible, but unlikely, that the Mayor Marty train could be derailed at the last minute. The electorate has heard it all; the Chavez ethics problems, the Chavez arrogance, the Chavez personal problems, and they are not buying. What they are shopping for is demonstrated competence in running a city and its 6,000 employees. Only one candidate has run a campaign addressing that critcial issue and he is far in the lead.


Chavez also remains above 40% because his personality has been indicted, not the job he is doing or the policies he is pursuing. And that's what matters. You have to show you can do a better job than the other guy. That's not easy going up against Mayor Marty. After all, by this stage in his career he is more than capable of administering the office of mayor, In fact, he is behind schedule in a political career that many expect more from.

Not that the opponents haven't had their moments. But who really saw them? Griego did his best to get a limited broadcast TV buy up, but Republican Winter flailed away with attack radio commercials, hardly the way to capture the imagination of the masses.

Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff told me late Saturday night that Marty is pulling well over over 40% of the GOP vote, way too high for a Dem and the reason he is likely to prevail Tuesday night.

Like successful politicians through the ages, Mayor Marty has been blessed by weak opponents. Don't pop the champagne yet Mayor, but do put it on ice.


The Journal poll also shows all three propositions, including the one that would raise the minimum wage to $7.50 an hour, likely to win voter approval. That also includes the public financing of city election campaigns. Sanderoff said the recent state Treasurer scandal appears to be moving voters toward that measure.

I am back here tomorrow with you and my 2005 all-star Mayor team and their take on the mayor and council races. And don't forget Monday at 5 p.m, as we continue our election coverage with a pre-game show on KANW 89.1 FM radio. And then, starting at 6:30 p.m. Election Night, we kick-off year 18 of covering every major New Mexico and Albuquerque election for KANW. It's heard throughout much of the state, so be sure to join us for exclusive early results and he best analysis.

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