Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Game Of "What If" In The Race For Guv; Plus: The Martinez Lineage, And: Looking Back: Johnson's No Negative Campaigns 

How about a quick game of "What If" as we wait for the next chapter of the 2010 Guv's race to unfold?

What if the longest of long shots happened and Governor Big Bill did get a job offer from the Obama administration, vacated the Guv's chair and Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish became Guv?

The rumors of Richardson's "imminent" departure have been floating ever since he had to withdraw as Obama's commerce secretary nominee in the beginning of 2009. None of the various jobs he has been mentioned for have panned out, but wouldn't it be something if one did--now? The prospect has to send chills down Republican spines as Denish would become the incumbent Guv and no doubt pop up in the polls.

But there's some prospective spine chilling speculation for the Dems as well. What if the late June or early July polls continue to show Denish lagging Republican nominee Susana Martinez? Falling behind newcomer Martinez after her big wave of primary election publicity is one thing, but being behind in a Democratic state after a month of the campaign? That would be most worrisome.

Or what if Martinez fades in those same polls? Does that mean the campaign money we presume will soon be flowing her way would dry up?

The game of "What If" promises to be a most entertaining summer pastime for the inhabitants of La Politica.


Insiders inform that GOP Guv candidate Susana Martinez dropped in on heavyweight R's in Washington last week as she prepares for the expensive stretch of campaign real estate ahead. Martinez is hoping for major league money from the Republican Governors Association as well as other national R's.


Meantime, Martinez comes with a Spanish language TV ad, and lo and behold, it's not negative. The Dona Ana County DA is a fluent Spanish speaker, and that's not going to hurt her with Hispanic Dems. The ad speaks to her successful prosecution of the parents and uncle in the heavily publicized and horrific 2002 abuse and murder of Baby Brianna.


At least one blog we spotted recently claimed the parents of Martinez immigrated to El Paso from Mexico. But a spokesman for the campaign says Martinez's mother and father are natives of El Paso. Martinez was also born there. He said one of her grandparents "may" have been from Mexico. That lineage is sure to be explored further in the newspaper profiles to come.

The "birther" movement, questioning the birthplace of President Obama, has made the birthplaces of all major candidates an item of curiosity these days.

If Martinez's parents were born in Mexico would that make a difference in how she was viewed?

Governor Big Bill's mother is a Mexican citizen who married a Boston banker. The couple made sure Bill was born on US soil, in Pasadena, so he would be a US citizen.

As an El Paso native, Martinez is not close to northern NM Hispanics who trace their families back four centuries, but neither was Richardson who throughout his career was derided as a "carpetbagger" but managed some of the biggest political wins in state history.


Speaking of the south, northern GOP congressional candidate Tom Mullins stepped on a land mine when he suggested that land mines be placed on the US-Mexico border to control illegal crossings. Mullins of Farmington is now saying it was a suggestion he heard, not something he advocates, but you can bet Dem Congressman Ben Ray Lujan is not going to let Mullins off the hook.


Native American support will be highly sought in the Guv's race. Di says she has picked up some:

I am honored to receive the support from the Eastern Navajo Agency Council and
Ohkay Owingeh. Both communities are very different with different cultures...

Ohkay Owingeh, formerly known as San Juan Pueblo, is located around 30 miles north of Santa Fe. New Mexico Indians have traditionally delivered big margin for state Dems.

Did you know? The Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo was the location of the first Spanish capital in New Mexico. In 1598, Don Juan OƱate led the first expedition party from Mexico on what would later become the Camino Real (the Royal Road) and kept going until they reached Ohkay Owingeh...


One thing that can move the polling numbers quickly is an effective negative campaign ad. we blogged recently how unusual it was for Gary Johnson, in the 1990's, to forego using any negative campaign ads against his opponent, He won both times. But reader Reb Wayne points out there was some negative ads up against Gary's foes in 1998--but they weren't on TV:

In your point about Gary Johnson never running a negative ad, the NM GOP was ripping Marty Chavez' guts out on radio all summer. It was a good cop bad cop thing and Johnson is either being disingenuous or a bit of a Pollyanna if he expects anyone to buy that. He just let the state GOP do his dirty work for him.

We can't agree with you, Reb. Johnson did not run negative TV ads, nor do we recall negative TV on Johnson's behalf from any third party groups. When we talk about negative campaigns we are talking about TV--the medium that moves the numbers. Yes, there was negative radio, but as you point out, Johnson did not authorize it.

Johnson gets kudos in the history books for running upbeat campaigns. His problem is the controversy over how he ran the government during his eight years in power.


The recession/depression is long and deep in New Mexico's Four Corners, with Farmington laying off nearly eight percent of its city work force. The Daily Times goes long and deep on the mind-bending news of another small town government shedding good paying jobs that are unlikely to come back.

It's the kind of news that is reshaping the economic, political and social landscape of this state--and the kind you hear about on this blog.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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