Friday, October 02, 2009

An Up In The Air Weekend For Final Week Of Election '09; Mayor's Race Captivates, Plus: Action On The Trail 

As we headed toward the final weekend of Campaign 2009 opinion was all over the place as to where we'll end up Tuesday night when the votes for mayor of ABQ are finally tallied. Democrats grew increasingly worried--or were trying to make fellow Dems worried--that somehow Republican RJ Berry will be able to break through and manage to get to 40 percent of the vote and take the top leadership position of the state's largest city without a runoff election. That probability may seem slim, given that Berry was polling at 31 percent Sept. 22-24, but the increasingly nasty battle between Democrats Richard Romero and Mayor Marty Chavez had Dems concerned that both of their candidates could be held back just enough to let Berry slip in. In addition, the R's are excited because they finally have a chance to win something after having had the door slammed in their faces the past two election cycles.

But R's had plenty to worry about as well. Berry is a newcomer who only caught fire late in the game and then mainly with R's. Can the R's turn out the vote to get him to that magic 40 percent? If R ardor is not passionate enough they fear their man won't move a whole lot above where he was in that ABQ Journal poll. They do not look forward to a runoff election in a Dem leaning city.


Romero continued to slam Chavez in the mail, releasing a piece that pinned a "for sale" sign on a photo of Marty and cited a seven year old reprimand the mayor received from the city board of ethics in the ABQPAC scandal. And Chavez continued to hit both Romero and Berry. He reminded Dems again of Romero's contributions to Republicans when Romero was a lobbyist. (Flyer posted here). And he hit Berry in a new radio ad that says Berry's claim that he was the victim of "random" crime is not quite on the mark. The ad also rehashes Berry's refusal to release his tax return and for failing to register his consulting biz with the city.

Democratic State Treasurer James Lewis, who ran for ABQ mayor in 2001, and Dem Secretary of State Mary Herrera, a former Bernalillo County Clerk, both cut automatic phone calls for the mayor, but some of his supporters were hoping for bigger things---like a call going out from someone like ex-President Clinton who Chavez chummed with during his first mayoral term in the mid-90's.

Chavez did get former national Dem chairman Howard Dean to hit the phone lines this week, but Romero's camp seemed to stop any bleeding that Dean caused among Romero's progressive supporters. Eric Griego, who ran for mayor as a progressive Dem in 2005, garnered 25 percent of the vote. It's hard to see Romero falling below that Election Night. How much he grows is, of course, among the big questions du jour.

Berry and the R's were working the turn out beat, with reports of GOP get-out-the-vote robo calls circulating. To further pump up his base, he announced the endorsement of his candidacy by Republican city councilors Brad Winter, Trudy Jones and Sally Mayer. R Councilor Don Harris was not on the list.


The mail bombs continue to fall in the Cadigan-Lewis contest. Yesterday we posted a Lewis hit piece. Here's one (click to enlarge) from Cadigan in which he strikes at Lewis for wanting to "waive impact fees so taxpayers bear the cost of new roads and parks." He also jabs Lewis for his voting record saying the Republican "did not bother to vote in the city bond election when Paseo and Unser were funded and has not voted in a city election since 2001."

Cadigan has been getting hammered by a committee backed by land developer SunCal and Wal-Mart. SunCal put up $10,000 to take out Cadigan who has opposed the company's TIDD plan.

Cadigan started the year running for mayor but was unable to get the required petitions and donations to qualify for the race. He is seeking a third term on the council. Lewis is making his first run for elective office.


We asked readers for some Alan Armijo mail after posting some from his opponent Ike Benton. Armijo, a Bernalillo County Commissioner who is term-limited, is trying to reclaim a seat on the council on which he once served for several terms. Benton, an architect and current council president, is seeking a second four year term. District Three includes downtown, Barelas and areas around the University of New Mexico.


Big Bill continues to up his national (and international) profile. Here he is writing for CNN about US Middle East policy. The Guv has been more noticeable on the foreign policy front since the feds decided not to indict him or his top aides in a pay-to-play probe.
We know the Guv is counting his lucky stars, but it seems he also needs to be counting closely the money coming in to state coffers--or not coming in. The projected shortfall for the current budget year could rise to an astounding $700 million, according to Senate leader Jennings. Just incredible. We will hit that big story harder as soon as we finish up with electing a new mayor.


Join me Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on KOB-TV when I sit down with veteran political reporter Stuart Dyson and Eyewitness News anchor Nicole Brady to cover all the angles of the 2009 mayoral election.

On Monday at 5 p.m. join me on KANW 89.1 FM for our traditional pre-game show. We'll run down the mayor and council races, as well as the charter amendments. Helping us do that will be John Wertheim, former chairman of the NM Democratic Party, GOP State Rep. Larry Larranaga, ABQ State Senator and 2005 mayoral candidate Eric Griego and maybe a straggler or two.

Then on Tuesday, Oct. 6 be sure to tune in for our wall-to-wall Election Night coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. on 89.1 FM and at www.kanw.com We'll have exclusive early results to give you an early indication of where the mayor and key council races are headed, plus candidate interviews and expert analysis. That's 6: 30 Election Night. Thanks to Coca-Cola, DW Turner, Ladera Golf and Serrano and Sons, Constructors for making the KANW program possible.

And thanks to you for being with us this week. Check back here over the weekend as we track any major, late-breaking developments in ABQ Election '09.

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