Monday, April 05, 2010

On The Trail: GOP Guv Race Still The One To Watch: Update On The Action, Plus: Even More Monday New Mexico Politics 

Allen Weh has had a nice two week run on TV all to himself, but that should be ending soon. Insiders say GOP Guv contender Susana Martinez finished filming TV ads last week. She was spotted recording one of them at the Dona Ana County courthouse. Martinez is the county's district attorney. No word on when her ads will go up, but we don't expect her to let Weh have the airwaves all to himself much longer. But how much of a presence she makes will be key. A light TV buy won't do much to dilute the Weh presence which is not light.

Weh and Martinez were the only two of the five GOP candidates to secure backing form at least 20 percent of the delegates at the party's March pre-primary convention. No candidate has ever won the party's Guv nomination without that 20 percent support.


Weh has picked a new name for his new campaign bus (his first was destroyed in a fire) after inviting supporter suggestions, and it will probably bug presumptive Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish. The bus has been dubbed, "The Weh Forward." For the uninitiated, Weh is pronounced "way."Di's campaign slogan is "A New Way Forward." Looks like Allen is already putting the needle in Di.


And what of the other GOP Guv contenders? Pete Domenici, Jr. hit with a splash in January but has not caused any waves since. His campaign is saying it will air TV ads, but don't expect him to buy a lot. Domenici's camp argues he already has widespread name ID because he is the son of the retired senator. They plan on hitting the mailboxes heavy in the final two months of the primary. But a Dem operative sees problems for Pete's strategy:

That strategy would be surprising--given that Domenici Jr. has to overcome two key obstacles: (1) That he's more than just a famous name and (2) that he's a dynamic leader capable of governing the state in challenging times. Those are difficult messages to convey via mail--which is more effective for passing on information than truly connecting with voters.

Any statewide campaign that tells you they'd rather spend their money on mail than on TV is really telling you one thing--they can't raise the money needed for TV. If Weh has the airwaves to himself for all of April, it will be difficult for the others to catch up.

That operative may have a point about the money. Domenici reported Friday that his campaign has now raised a total of $302,000 which includes a $50,000 campaign contribution he gave himself and $25,000 from hotel developer Sundaram Prakash. That's not going to be enough to compete with Weh on the tube. His name ID may have to carry him.

Domenici did not disclose his cash on hand. Campaign finance reports from all the statewide candidates are due April 12th.


Former state House Minority Whip Dan Foley isn't getting any sympathy from his former hometown newspaper. The paper editorializes that it hopes a lawsuit Foley filed against Roswell cops is not settled in the ex-lawmaker's favor. Foley, now living in Rio Rancho, filed a lawsuit recently against Roswell police officers who arrested him in 2007 for interfering with his son's basketball game. The cops say Foley failed to obey police instructions and actually knocked an officer down. He was then restrained and taken into custody. From the RDR editorial:

We hope the city doesn’t enter into a settlement regarding this lawsuit as it would undermine the authority of Roswell’s police force. We’re not sure how much money it would take to get Foley to drop the suit, so the city might find itself being called on to spend more money fighting the case rather than settling.

We’d be surprised if Foley was awarded damages considering the details we have read in the police report. How can officers not react to someone who is disregarding their commands and has knocked down a fellow officer? It would be a travesty if the city hung its officers out to dry and diminished their standing in our community to save money.

Republican Foley served 10 years in the Legislature before going down to defeat in a GOP primary in 2008.


That hot GOP primary for Bernalillo County Sheriff continues to draw attention, with County Commissioner Michael Brasher announcing he is endorsing William Kurth over Dan Houston. Kurth, retired from the ABQ police department, earlier picked up the endorsement of the other GOP commissioner, Michael Wiener, who has had his hands full lately with matters other than politics.

The two R commissioners both supported Kurth over Dan Houston, who is retired from the sheriff's office.

This nomination continues to draw attention because Republicans have had luck holding on to the post in Democratic Bernalillo County. R Darren White was elected to two terms before leaving to become ABQ public safety director. The Dems have half a dozen candidates seeking the sheriff nomination in the June 1 primary.

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