Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Republican Closing Days Mantra: "Don't Wake The Dems" Plus: Analysis Of All The Latest Money Race Reports And A Lot More On Your Wednesday Blog 

"Let sleeping Donkeys lie." That could be a rallying cry of New Mexico Republicans as they close in on their singular goal of electing Republican Susana Martinez as the next Governor.

We say "singular" because we're not seeing the R's taking too seriously the down-ballot races. And why is that? Maybe because if they start unloading nuclear bombs on down-ballot Dems they risk awakening the dozing Democratic donkey. If projected Dem turnout rises that could hurt Martinez and, as you know, for the R's, it's all Susana all the time.

Take, for example, the negative ad launched by GOP attorney general candidate Matt Chandler. He's 20 points back and he doesn't even mention opponent Gary King by name? Remember, Matt's media consultant is Jay McCleskey--the chief media strategist for Martinez.

Another reason for Matt's mildness may be that he sees the race as out of reach but wants to lay the groundwork for a future in politics. If so, no reason to let the guns blaze and make unnecessary enemies. (Update on AG money race is here.)


While we expect negative TV to come against Democratic Secretary of State Mary Herrera in the coming days, if you were bound and determined to throw her out wouldn't you have found money and be up with TV ads for GOP hopeful Dianna Duran? All kinds of R's came with over $500,000 for Vickie Perea in '06 who ended up losing to Herrera.

The Governorship is the gateway to redistricting the legislative and congressional seats as well as getting a strong GOP showing in the 2012 NM presidential race. Setting off a down-ballot feeding frenzy that roused sleeping D's could put all that in jeopardy. That's why we get the sense that the Martinez camp wants to keep everyone on a leash.

What the GOP most needs now is to harvest as many early votes as possible in the current atmosphere which is so favorable to them. Their best bet may be on a low turnout that sweeps in other GOP candidates along with Susana. They appear to be taking that bet.


Duran had $84,000 in cash on hand when the money reports were filed in Santa Fe this week. She can expect some more, but right now it appears her TV buy will not exceed $75,000 or thereabouts. That will get you some attention, but not all you need. Let's see if she raises another $75,000.

Herrera has been up on radio all month, but no TV yet. Her vulnerability shows in the latest finance reports as Duran out raised her the past month. The GOP state senator took in $54,000 to Herrera's $9,400. However, Herrera did not lag too much in the cash on hand category, having $51,000 banked and we should note that $25,000 of Duran's money came from the state GOP.

Insider polling is described as showing a tied race between the two, but the undecided voters are mostly Dems, boding well for Herrera who is now out on the campaign trail fighting back against scandal headlines. She also has history on her side as no GOP secretary of state candidate has won since the 20's. Still, a race that should be ranked likely Dem is instead lean Dem--at least until we see what Duran comes with in the crucial hours ahead. One other note...

Our reliable Alligators are reporting that efforts by GOP Guv primary candidates Allen Weh and Doug Turner to get money into Duran's campaign have run into turbulence in the form of Roswell State Senator "Lightning" Rod Adair. He is Duran's campaign manager.


We are not seeing big oil and gas money coming in for GOP land commission candidate Matt Rush. That's good news for Dem Ray Powell Jr. because Rush out raised him in September by nearly 3 to one. He banked $94,000 to Powell's $34,000. However, in cash on hand the two are more competitive, Rush has $63,000 to finish the race and Powell has $48,000.

Rush has put up a TV buy, but it is not broad and deep. Powell has done radio but no TV. The race remains likely Dem as do the contests for treasurer, auditor and attorney general.


She's behind in the polls and now she's behind in the money race. The Republican Governors Association moved to seal the deal for Martinez and came with another huge donation for her in September--$500,000. That's on top of $750,000 the RGA earlier gave. That left Martinez with $1.3 million in the bank as of October 4. Denish received some $100,000 contributions, but her $951,000 cash on hand was below Susana's. Both candidates spent about a million each in September.

Di continued to take a bite out of Susana for her campaign cash, citing this latest report:

While Denish has raised most of her campaign money from thousands of average New Mexicans, Susana Martinez has shown she is in the pocket of powerful out-of-state interests – raising 58% of her money from outside New Mexico. In total Martinez has raised almost 50% of her money from out of state. Over the course of this campaign Martinez has raised over $800,000 from Texas special interests.


Denish may have been jolted by that Rasmussen poll Monday that showed her trailing by nine, but she won't be laying down her arms. From her spin division:

Today Diane Denish will launch her Families First Tour--a three-week tour to meet with New Mexicans in their homes and small businesses to discuss her plans for turning New Mexico's economy around.

This election is about New Mexico's families and I'm going to go into their homes -- sit at their kitchen tables -- and talk about their everyday struggles...

That sounds good, Di, but what are you going to tell those families you would do to help them? We had some thoughts on that in a recent Alligator Manifesto outlining ways she might resurrect her candidacy, but nothing much has changed in Camp Denish so let's put it out there again just for kicks.

---Blue collar workers in constructing, mining, etc. have borne the brunt of this ghastly recession. Thousands remain jobless. Come with a good old fashioned jobs program aimed at repairing state roads and bridges. List the specific projects that would be tackled. That ought to wake up voters in the affected areas. And outline a way to finance the plan by using federal stimulus money and money backed by permanent fund cash.

--If taxes have to be raised--and you hope they don't have to--but if they do--you will tax the rich. You can say it, Di. It's not a swear word and if you do you are going to awaken a broad segment of this electorate. Are you aware that Republicans are calling into conservative KKOB-AM radio complaining about the rich who complain about their tax rates? Populism is in the air. Embrace it and not the diluted advice of the Beltway Boys.

Denish can't even break 45% in the polls. Does her campaign seriously think her strategy of play it safe and mushy and trying to be something for everyone is going to do better than what we outlined above? At least this gives her a shot.

The stay with the failed strategy meme of the Democratic candidate's campaign reminds us of an old politics saying: "An expert in New Mexico is anyone from out of state."


Saturday marks the start of in-person early voting in the metro area when thousands of votes will be cast. That's why it is important to have your TV up and running and/or some of your mail dropped. The winning margin in a close race could be cast then.


There's no let-up on Jon Barela from the Martin Heinrich campaign. The Dem US Rep is now charging in a new TV spot that Barela would support privatizing Social Security and he does it with a 69 year old Social Security recipient.

This is highly-charged material sure to get Republican Barela's attention. We'll check back with what he has to say in response.

Barela did not get any attention from a high-profile name he was hoping would be here Tuesday to boost his candidacy. Barela says former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani had to cancel his planned ABQ visit because his transportation got fouled up. What? Did someone forget to pay Rudy's plane fare?


A New Mexico visit by former President Clinton always get the political juices flowing and the crowds roaring. He stops in Espanola tomorrow afternoon for Denish. Ticks available at (505) 255-1282

We've talked about a possible second visit from president Obama who stopped here last month for Denish, but if her polling numbers don't improve there won't be much of a reason for him to deplane in New Mexico.


Two new radio spots take on Susana Martinez's record as Dona Ana County District Attorney. They are put together by a group calling itself "The Committee to Prevent the Abuse of Power." You can hear them here.


Dear Judge Bob Schwartz, If you have enough years to take retirement, please do so:

An Albuquerque judge is slapped with a $6000 fine after giving a public defender a book on orgasms during a date and not recusing himself quickly enough from cases she was working on.

During a hearing before the Supreme Court, District Judge Bob Schwartz was told he will receive a public reprimand and have to attend sexual harassment courses for misconduct while serving on the bench.

Schwartz, who is known to be a practical joker, sat stoically on Tuesday as Supreme Court justices questioned his defense.

Judge Bob is a colorful character and he was an effective Bernalillo County District Attorney, but it's how you leave the game that is often remembered, not how you played it over the years.

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