Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Today Is Primary Election Day 2010; Voters Decide Fates As State Waits; Our Live Coverage Starts At 6:30 p.m. On 89.1 FM & Web 

For a change, the state's political eyes are all focused on the south on a primary election day. The question at hand: Can Susana Martinez, a Hispanic Republican woman with a decidedly middle-class background, make history by capturing her party's nomination and then steer that party on a course to broaden its appeal and capture the New Mexican governorship?

We should have an answer to the first part of that query no later than 10 p.m. We'll be broadcasting the outcome live to you on KANW 89.1 FM as well as streamed live from the station's web site. We begin at 6:3o. CLICK HERE for the live coverage.

"Republican Hispanic woman." It sure sounds like an oxymoron. This is a Republican Party composed primarily of well-off and elderly Anglos. We were stunned to learn recently that over 80 percent of the R's in Bernalillo County are over the age of 55.

As for their recent win-loss record, it's something similar to the UNM Lobos 1 and 11
football record this past season. Republican land commissioner Pat Lyons is the only prominent statewide R, with all other key offices held by the Dems.

If ever there was a party in need of a new image and new personalities, this is it. And with pre-election polls heavily favoring Martinez, 50, over Alpha Anglo male Allen Weh, New Mexico's R's seem to agree.
If Martinez does don the crown this evening, she will embark on a steep learning curve. The three term Dona Ana County DA has never battled on the statewide and national stage. But she may have something extra going for her in this unusual election year--so many voters burn for change that they may set the bar lower for the newcomer. They want a debate as this state faces unprecedented challenges.

A summer honeymoon for the plucky DA would be just what the political doctor ordered, but there's still trouble to reckon with in her own backyard. Martinez waged a bruising negative TV campaign with Allen Weh. That, says pollster Brian Sanderoff, could slow down the DA when she heads out of the starting gate for the main event.

"(The negative ads) play both ways. All of a sudden they are slamming each other. That's going to affect the favorability of both of them"

Here's the AP wrap on today's statewide ballot action.


You know the old line, "what if they gave a party and no one came?" Well, that's precisely the situation facing the state GOP tonight as they gather at ABQ's Marriott Pyramid hotel. It seems only one of the five GOP Guv candidates will be there--Pete Domenici Jr.

Is this a sign of a party fractured from a primary fight that turned bitter in the closing days? Perhaps it is when it comes to Allen Weh's candidacy. He feels betrayed by GOP chairman Harvey Yates who criticized Weh's major attack ad against Martinez and demanded that Weh pull it down. Weh will be at his own campaign headquarters tonight.

By the way, we've obtained the behind-the-scenes back and forth memos between the Yates and Weh camps over that advertising blow-up in which Yates accused former chairman Weh of "dishonesty." You can read them here.

And the Huffington Post came with a late blast over the weekend of Weh, owner of a charter aviation company, over the key issue of illegal immigration. The money lines:

On any given day, CSI Aviation has six planes in the air transporting illegal immigrants for ICE as well as for the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS) operated by the U.S. Marshall's Service. It also arranges deportation flights around the world, mostly to Central America. The federal government's contracts with CSI Aviation have helped make its owner a wealthy man.

Doug Turner and Janice Arnold-Jones will also be holed up at their headquarters' to watch the returns with supporters.

As for Martinez, the expected nominee is going to be in Las Cruces this evening, at the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces, choosing to fire up her home county supporters rather than travel to the state's media center in ABQ.

It should work out as all the ABQ TV stations will do remotes from the hotel. She could also get good El Paso TV by staying in Cruces. Besides, tonight's TV coverage will be cursory. There won't be a lot of media opportunities outside of the victory or concession speech.

Some might say that Martinez is also being kept out of the ABQ media spotlight to manage risk.
Her handlers tried to keep her away from the press when Sarah Palin endorsed her in ABQ. A faux pax on her part tonight could mar the opening days of her candidacy. A mistake in far away Las Cruces would receive much less of the spotlight than here where the lights burn much brighter.

But the main reason Susana will shun the metro is her fall strategy--bolster turnout in the south and rural areas where conservatives dominate. That's similar to what President Bush did, in 2004, when he carried the state over John Kerry.

Don't worry about Diane Denish getting her share of exposure tonight. Her team will ensure the Light Guv takes to the podium or gives interviews timed for the critical 10 p.m. news celebrating her nomination as the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial standard-bearer.

The Dems will be gathered at ABQ's downtown Doubletree Hotel.

We're on the beat
Join us tonight for all the results on KANW 89.1 FM beginning at 6:30 p.m. This is our 22nd year on the public radio station and we're looking forward to a fun night. We'll have early results from key precincts and lots of analysis and interviews. You can listen to the live broadcast here.

Joining us this year are ABQ GOP state Rep. Larry Larranaga and former GOP state Rep. Greg Payne. Ex-NM Dem Party chairman John Wertheim will join with fellow Dem Lenton Malry. Our other election veterans include Republican Bruce Donisthorpe and Steve Cabiedes who will help coordinate the returns.

The early and absentee vote from Bernalillo County should come in shortly after the polls close at 7 which should give us major clues on the course the evening will take.

Public radio coverage of Primary 2010 is made possible this year by ABQ Economic Development, The Garrity Group, Serrano and Sons, Constructors, Cordova Public Relations and PNM.


How come ABQ Mayor RJ Berry can balance his city's budget without resorting to a tax increase while in Rio Rancho Mayor Tom Swisstack, city manager James Jimenez and the city council have already resorted to a quarter cent hike in the gross receipts tax? Berry and the ABQ council opted for pay cuts that amounted to 1.5 percent across the board and unpaid holidays for the budget year that starts July 1. In Rio Rancho, they are cutting salaries by one per cent and also adopting some unpaid holidays, but still taxes are going up.

The Rio Rancho tax hike will bring in $700,000 next fiscal year. The city also raised traffic fines and is going to install the controversial red-light cameras to raise another half-million a year.

Jimenez said tough times call for tough decisions. But these seem to be decisions that pass the buck to the taxpayer and spare the government class. Rio Rancho's gross receipts tax will now approach 7.5% on January 1st. That is a tax that hits the lowest paid the most and is also not good for business development.

Maybe ABQ will need a tax increase as this recession rolls on, but before it goes there the mayor and council are first looking to trim the scope of government to fit a new era. Rio Rancho might want to pay attention.


Here's a good Election Day deal from one of our sponsors. Amici restaurant at 4243 Montgomery NE is offering a 20 percent discount on their menu selections all day Tuesday, June 1--Primary Day. Just mention that you heard about the discount on this blog or drop the name of Dan Silva, the former state representative who co-owns the popular Italian eatery.

Dan adds that in addition to the discount, Amici will also provide free delivery on June 1 to candidates' campaign headquarters or your own Election Night party. So make your plans today (884-9900).

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