Friday, October 15, 2010

Barela Gets Social Security Ball But Has Trouble Holding It, Plus: Heather Comeback? And: Blog Exclusive: 100 Years Of The Family Of Susana Martinez 

Jon Barela recovered Martin Heinrich's fumble but did not appear to gain any yardage. That's the Alligator take in the aftermath of a critical turning point in the campaign for the ABQ congressional seat.

Dem US Rep. Heinrich put up an emotionally powerful, but misleading TV spot accusing Barela of favoring privatization of Social Security. This gave Barela a chance to focus in on Heinrich's character and get this race into play, but the response spot he came with doesn't get the job done. It digresses into yet more attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Also, Barela does not appear on camera to directly take on Heinrich.

Barela also may have hurt himself when given the chance to completely close the door on privatization. ABQ Journal DC correspondent Michael Coleman asked Barela if he would favor putting even a small portion of Social Security in the stock market. Barela said he would not, at least not "at this point."

Wrong answer, Jon.

That gives Heinrich breathing room as he can now say while he is ruling out any privatization Barela is not and that his potent TV ad is justified.

Once again the Dems show the superior hand they have in playing the Social Security card, even when they play it deceptively. For Barela, a golden opportunity passes. He may not get another.


Alligators are commenting on the brief surfacing this week of former ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson, She got in on the campaign action when she phoned into KKOB-AM radio host Jim Villanucci and chided her successor Rep. Heinrich on his Social Security ad.

Since leaving office at the end of '08 Heather has had a bout with cancer but reports treatment has been successful. Now about to turn 50, she finished a ten year political run by losing the '08 GOP US senate nomination to Steve Pearce who in turn lost to Democrat Tom Udall. Will she take another run at the US Senate in 2012 and become the R to take on Democratic US Senator Jeff Bingaman? She is still a heavyweight name and if the political climate stays dour for the Dems, you never know. Meantime, expect the politico to keep her toe dangling in the water.

Oh, one other thing. Looks like Susana is going to be the new Mama Grizzly in town, Heather. As long as you realize that, you'll be fine.


Bill Clinton may be the most popular president in New Mexico in the modern era. He has an affinity for our little state that has translated into many visits and a well-known and genuine friendship with the late and legendary Governor Bruce King. Voters here rewarded him with two large wins in '92 and '96. And who could forget that exhilarating stop he made at an ABQ airport hangar in the wee hours of election morning 1992?

Thursday in EspaƱola 90 miles north of ABQ Clinton was back before some of his biggest fans (about 3,500 of them came although the AP says 5,000 tickets were handed out), trying to translate some of his personal popularity over to underdog Dem Guv candidate Diane Denish. It wasn't easy.

The Hobbs native has not caught fire in the Spanish North and GOP Guv contender Susana Martinez threatens to gather better than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote statewide in what would be a landmark performance.

The President is slower and older now, but ever familiar, biting his lower lip after delivering his one liners and zingers--this time with Susana in his sights. He praised Susan's prosecutor background, but said we need a Governor who can put people in jobs, not jail.

Why Clinton stayed with the "Martinez is a Texan" theme when it has imploded on Denish and running mate Colon speaks more to the intellectual exhaustion of New Mexican Democrats than Clinton's political judgment. He delivers the lines the locals want.

The Clinton years were filled with plenty of money and historians who happily declared the end of history and a future Eden here on Earth.

But the dancing stopped a couple of years after Bill left office. America is much changed. The 3,500 on EspaƱola's sun-drenched plaza Thursday pretended for an hour that it hadn't.


We were saddened to receive word Thursday of the death of former State Representative Fred Luna. The Democrat represented Valencia County in the House for 35 years, winning his first election in 1970 and retiring as dean of the House in 2006. Luna, about 79, was chairman of the House Business and Industry Committee and was known as a centrist Dem.


A live TV debate featuring ABQ Congressman Martin Heinrich and his Republican challenger Jon Barela airs tonight at 7 on KNME-TV. Sunday at 6 p.m. on KOAT-TV we get the first live televised debate between Guv hopefuls Diane Denish and Susana Martinez.

There have been few news conferences, interviews or joint appearances by the two Guv hopefuls. This marks only the third time they have appeared together since the June primary. They will also take the stage together next Thursday at 7 p.m. when KOB-TV hosts the second and final debate between the pair. If you are out of the viewing area or unable to tune in, look for both the KNME and KOB face-offs to be posted on the stations' respective Web sites.


We've been entertained most of this election year by piecing together the background of the woman who would be the first female Hispanic governor in the history of the USA.

We haven't received much help from the Susana Martinez campaign or the mainstream press, but our intrepid readers have stayed on the case. Today we complete the circle of Susana's heritage with a blog reader and amateur genealogist. They prefer to remain anonymous but his information, developed with the help of ancestor.com, appears solid. If all of it isn't we'll post any needed correction. So without further ado we give you 100 years of the family of Susana Martinez.

Hi Joe,

First a disclaimer: Databases can be wrong and names can be mis-entered.

Susana's mother was named Paula Aguirre. It appears from the Social Security Death Index that she was born on 24 Oct 1934 and died 16 Dec 2006. The date of death coincides with Martinez's statemtn that her mother died four years ago...She was born to Encarnacion Lucero and Eligio Aguirre in El Paso. (Her first name is listed as Laura, not Paula).

From the 1930 census: Encarnacion Lucero, Susana's maternal grandmother, was born to Emilio Lucero and Eutemia Lucero in 1916. According to the census, Emilio Lucero, Susana's maternal grandfather, was born in Texas, as were both of his parents. Eutemia was born in New Mexico, and both of her parents were listed as being born in Mexico.

Eligio Aguirre was listed as a "nephew" to the head of household in the 1930 census, and listed as being born in Texas, as were both his parents.

This assumes that Paula Aguirre's real name was Laura, of course. It could be coincidental and Paula's entry may be missing from the database.

If all of the above is true, then Susana Martinez's maternal grandmother was a Texan. Her maternal great-grandmother was New Mexican, and her maternal great-grandfather was Texan.


Susana's father is Jacobo Martinez. He was born on 2 May 1932 in El Paso to Adolfo Martinez and Francisca Ortega.

There is an Adolfo Martinez with wife Francisca listed in the 1930 census. According to this, both were born in Mexico, and their immigration status was listed as Alien, without first papers taken.

Adolfo could speak English, but Francisca could not. Adolfo came to this country in 1910, Francisca in 1915. Adolfo was born around 1905 and Francisca in 1904, so they came over as children. Not sure the "Alien" part is true. Census workers often made up their own minds about that if there was a language barrier. I haven't found a naturalization record for either of them but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Those records are generally incomplete.

If the above is true, then Susana Martinez's paternal grandparents were Mexican.

As far as the "alien" designation for her paternal grandparents--assuming it's true, it doesn't mean they were here illegally or anything. The border was extremely porous at the time, no one was really looking for illegal immigration. By 1940 or so, you had to register as an alien under the Smith Act, which regularized a lot of people who never formally immigrated, and of course there was no requirement to formally take citizenship. Many people didn't.

That's very cool stuff. Thanks to our reader genealogist for filling in the blanks and giving us a fuller picture of the woman who appears to be closing in on the governorship.


We have a few more notes on this. From the
El Paso Times:

Susana Martinez is a descendant of a Mexican Revolution general, Toribio Ortega, her brother Jake Martinez Jr. said.

Ortega is credited with firing the first shots of the revolution on Nov. 14, 1910, before it officially began six days later, according to newspaper archives.

"He was from Cuchillo Parado, Chihuahua, and was one of Francisco (Pancho) Villa's generals," Jake Martinez said of their great-grandfather.

Her brother said he, Susana and a sister, Leticia, were born in El Paso...

And some more. The ABQ Journal's Bruce Daniels gets in on the fun and as usual he pegs us as "congenitally conspiratorial," a description that we must admit fully meets the standards of objective journalism.

adds this report to the mix as he explores Susana's "revolutionary" connection.

Now, as Paul Harvey was fond of saying, you know the rest of the story.....

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

Thanks for stopping in this week. Coming to you from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

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