Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Now The Money Chase; Di's Purse Play & Susana's Low Hurdle, Plus: Losers Vow To Win; Won't Get Out, And: The Cargo Book: One Pick And One Pan 

Talk about contrasts. Following their triumphs at their weekend preprimary conventions, Democrat Diane Denish and Republican Susana Martinez start up on the critical fund-raising circuit. Denish hit the mailboxes with an event invitation priced at $1,000 a pop while Martinez was pleading for $25 donations on Facebook. Not that Martinez isn't going for bigger money, but this example does bring to the fore the financial advantage the Dems still have, despite the excitement the GOP primary is generating in political circles.

Denish has been running unopposed for the Dem nomination since 2007 and has amassed a war chest of $2.1 million. But Republicans have had a five way primary scrap and major GOP donors are seen as holding back until the smoke clears. Even with her big Saturday preprimary win, Martinez may find that the big GOP money will find it safe to stay on the sidelines. The race is still too unpredictable.

Another issue is the economy. It is simply more difficult for all the candidates--including Denish--to raise large individual contributions when business continues to get hammered and unemployment soars.

From a PR standpoint, Martinez's $25 solicitation may look good, but over at the Allen Weh camp they may smell weakness. Weh's major decision--and perhaps the deciding one of the 2010 GOP cycle--will be how large a personal check he will write to close out his campaign. One of our Republican Alligators, close to the action, said he believes Weh will need about $500,000 to wage an effective closing effort.

Weh is not releasing regular money reports, but we do know he has already tapped his personal funds for $300,000.


More on Di's latest $1,000 bash. It's an all ladies affair called "The Power of the Purse." Among those listed as hostesses are Clara Apodaca, former NM first lady and President of the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation, ABQ high-end real estate agent Susan Feil and businesswoman Maria Griego-Raby. ABQ Republican attorney Deborah Peacock is also listed as a hostess. Didn't she hear about Susana?

Ladies, we don't know what kind of purse you need to carry to the Di event, but we helpfully provide this link to Nordstrom's. Or maybe you do Buffalo Exchange in this economy.


We've repeated it ad nausem: no candidate who has failed to get 20 percent at a preprimary convention has ever gone on to win the June primary. But the candidates don't seem to care. Just about every hopeful who failed to get the 20 percent for the various statewide offices at the preprimaries was sending a news release Monday saying they are not getting out. They will submit additional petition signatures to get on the June ballot. That includes Dem Light Guv candidate Joe Campos who took a hit when he fell just a couple of votes short of the magic 20 percent mark.

(New Dem party chairman Javier Gonzales was still embroiled in a backroom controversy Monday over how the votes for Light Guv were counted at the Saturday preprimary, but the party announced Campos fell short).

It's going to take a whole lot of money to overcome history. And that's the problem. A poor showing at the preprimary usually dries up the money, so getting on the ballot via the petition route turns out to be a waste of time and money. We'll see June 1 if this is the year history's harsh verdict on lousy preprimary performances is overturned.


NM GOP state chairman Harvey Yates and his crew are taking hits from operatives in the GOP Guv campaigns. They say he and his staff have been biased toward Susana Martinez, but there's not much evidence offered. (A pollster who has done work for the state party is married to a Martinez consultant.) Yates came with this missive in the aftermath of Saturday's preprimary that is aimed at supporters of guv hopefuls Doug Turner and Janice Arnold-Jones:

Perhaps, this is the time for each contender who garnered less than 20% of the delegate support to pause and consider quietly whether his or her continuation in the race would enhance or diminish Republican chances in November. If a winning candidate represents well your beliefs, and would furnish to this party a respectable and viable nominee for the position you sought, you might do the party a service by throwing your support to that candidate.

Yates may be trying to spare the party more fracturing, but he isn't going to make Domenici, Turner or Arnold-Jones happy as they say they will submit additional petition signatures and stay in the race, despite not reaching the 20 percent mark.

Arnold-Jones' campaign says she will not file for her state House seat today, choosing to bet her political future on what will now be a quixotic bid for the GOP nomination.


And how about this one? Pete Domenici Jr. says on his Web site the 2010 preprimary convention was a "great success." Say what, Pete? He came in last in a field of five, garnering less than five percent of the delegate vote. But Domenici says his claim of success is based on his collecting "thousands of signatures" so he can be on the June 1 primary ballot.

But the preprimary has nothing to do with collecting signatures. It had to do with winning the votes of some 400 delegates. That means grassroots organizing and messaging, not getting John Does on a piece of paper.

Domenici's campaign sniffed at the GOP preprimary, calling it a "straw poll" and pointing out that his candidacy was late-starting and that he did not expect a strong performance. But now they're touting a performance that has caused major bleeding to their man, and probably to the reputation of Daddy Domenici, the once powerful US Senator. Great convention success? That's not in the spin zone; that's in the ozone.


Joe, I read your piece on the state House seats targeted by the Republicans. With regard to the District 7 state Representative Andrew Barreras race, please keep in mind that Republican candidate Tim Lardner ran against Representative Barreras in the last election and experienced a significant loss...


We have two takes for you today on the new autobiography from former NM Governor Dave Cargo (1967-70) who was dubbed "Lonesome Dave" for his independent streak. The first is from author and longtime NM Republican Kurt Lohbeck who finds much to like in the book. The second is from an anonymous reader who pans the new volume. First up is Kurt:

I first met Dave Cargo in 1962 when he decided to run for the New Mexico Legislature from Bernalillo County. As a Republican! I was chairman of the College Republicans.

Most Albuquerque campaigns in those days were run out of the coffee shop at the downtown Hilton, and the bars at the Alvarado and Franciscan hotels. Dave was familiar with those locales, but he also did something weird. He campaigned door to door, and primarily in the South Valley. Then something stranger happened. He won!

Dave moved to New Mexico from Michigan, that hotbed of Republican liberals. Nobody of any political acumen gave him a prayer to win an election in this state. Not only did he win a state House seat, in 1962, with strong Valley support, but was re-elected. And he began to drag this Western state into the 20th Century despite the hemming and hawing from those in control.

His next Don Quixote adventure was to run for governor. In 1966, he campaigned in the northern counties like no Republican ever had. He beat the Republican establishment in the primary and the Democratic powers in the general election. He had no entourage, no staff, just himself and a beat-up old car worth about $200. A newspaper reporter started calling him, “Lonesome Dave.” That moniker has been with him ever since.

This book is a valuable history of that age. Names of everybody from around this Land of Enchantment. Who did what to or for whom? It should be read in New Mexico history classes. It wouldn’t hurt for our current crop of politicos to read it as well.


And now a take from our anonymous critic:

I finished Lonesome Dave the other night--or rather gave up at page 197--what a mess!

...I can find so trace of any real editor ever getting his or her hands on it. The result is a confused and repetitive mess of a memoir. Some of it is just basic lack of storytelling.

We learn all about Dave's schooling & youthful employment & immersion in politics--his arrival in NM in his '49 Chevy, his law practice, name dropping, more about legislative apportionment than anyone ever wanted to know, more name dropping and campaigning lonesome style. Then suddenly he's being sworn in as Governor with his child bride and kids at his side.

Wait a minute! Who's Ida Jo? How did they meet? The first encounter with her family? The romance, etc. etc.? See what's missing here? I think Dave was very poorly served here. Oh well, the old boy deserved better...

We'll give the final word to Cargo and an excerpt that resonated with us. From the prologue of "Lonesome Dave:"

I ran for other offices after my two gubernatorial terms. I mostly fell short. But, over the years I've come to realize that being governor was the job for me; the one I loved and the one that could have done forever and ever.

Nothing does last forever, though, except perhaps our memories and dreams. I know that in my mind, though--and I hope in yours as well--that I will always be--Governor Dave Cargo.

Cargo is now 80. He lives in ABQ and remains engaged in national and local politics. His book is available here.

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