Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scary Mary? Hot SOS Race In Mail, Plus: Down-Ballot Races & History, Also: Susana's Transparency Problem, A Favorite Headline & Our Bottom Lines 

It's not only those trick or treaters getting scary looking right around now, the stuff in voters' mailboxes in the final hours of Campaign 2010 can be hair-raising, or at least those producing it hope it is.

Posted here is an example of a mail piece (Secretary of State candidate Dianna Duran who is battling to unseat incumbent Dem SOS Mary Herrera says it is not from her). It notes that Herrera is second in line to succeed the Governor, meaning when the Guv and lieutenant governor are out of town or otherwise not available, Herrera is acting Guv. It's happened a couple of times in the last four years and nothing much happened, but since then Herrera has been mired in ethics accusations from former staff members. We don't know if this piece that landed in our e-mail box has actually been sent, but it is representative of the hit mail circulating out there.

(As if Mary needed any more problems, a computer glitch delayed early voting in some parts of the state this week).


Republicans think we are about to see history made and have our first Republican secretary of state elected since 1928. It would be a biggie for them.

The secretary of state's office is an important cog in the once every decade redistricting of the state's legislative and congressional seats. With a Republican in charge and a Democratic legislature, that could get interesting.

With no independent polling, the SOS race is providing plenty of suspense for politics watchers. It will be in our sights when we take to the radio airwaves next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to give you all the latest results on KANW 89.1 FM. And don't forget our pre-game show Monday, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m.


The mind wanders in the closing hours of a major campaign, assessing it and comparing it with others that have passed your way through the decades. Perhaps this one is most similar to a year that was before our time.

In 1966, Republican Dave Cargo, like Susana Martinez today, campaigned on a reform and anti-corruption platform. That year Cargo also brought in with him a Republican state treasurer and state auditor--The first time that had happened since the 1928 election and before the advent of Roosevelt's New Deal in 1932 that turned the state Blue for good.

In 1986, we recall how a snowstorm hit the north, dampening Dem turnout and making possible the election of Republican Hal Stratton as attorney general, also the first R to take that post since 1928. We also got our first Republican land commissioner since 1928 that year. Republican Garrey Carruthers took the Governor's office in '86 after four years of Dem Guv Toney Anaya who ended his term extremely unpopular.

In 1994, Republican Gary Johnson won the governorship, but did not bring in with him any of the down ballot races.

So in the elections of '66 and '86 reform played a prominent role and we had R success at the top and down the ballot. Will history repeat in the reform election of 2010? If it does, the likeliest Dem victim is Secretary of State Herrera. But the rest of the down-ballot Dems will be holding their breath until the results settle the issue Election Night.

Janice Arnold-Jones
She would not be around to enjoy it, but outgoing ABQ GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones claims Republicans have a shot at picking up as many as 10 state House seats next Tuesday. Janice, who was defeated for the GOP Guv nod by Susana Martinez and now hosts a daily talk show on ABQ's KIVA-AM, says even usually safe Dem incumbents like Danice Picraux are feeling voter heat this cycle.

In Janice's perfect political world we would think incumbent Dem reps like Jeff Steinborn in Las Cruces and Nathan Cote in the SE would be ousted. She has a different list. In any event, a pick up of ten seats would mean the House--currently with 45 D's and 25 R's--would be evenly split between the two parties--35 to 35. Has that ever happened before? If it did, there would probably be co-chairs of the major committees and maybe even co-speakers of the House. Talk about wild.

Arnold-Jones is the most optimistic R prognosticator we've heard from, but even Dems expect to lose three or four House seats when all the counting is done.


We've heard the Guv candidates talk about the economy and jobs but not much on the social issues of abortion, domestic partnerships and medical marijuana.
Here's the deal.


The tsunami of cash coming into the state's two competitive congressional races is overwhelming. The WaPo has been tracking it and reports in the ABQ Heinrich-Barela battle:

Interest groups and political parties have reported spending $2,613,153 on independent campaigning in New Mexico's 1st congressional district this year, with $1,967,238 benefiting Republicans and $645,915 benefiting Democrats.

And in the southern US House contest featuring Republican Pearce and Dem Teague, the paper Democrats: informs:

Interest groups and political parties have reported spending $2,294,524 on independent campaigning in New Mexico's 2nd congressional district this year, with $877,992 benefiting Republicans and $1,416,532 benefiting Democrats.


In a closing spot for his re-election, Dem US Rep. Heinrich takes note of the deluge of TV ads and how they irritate viewers, saying: "By now, we’ve all had enough of these commercials..."

If it's not a cliffhanger, we should be able to call the ABQ congressional race shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Bernalillo County Clerk should release the early vote totals shortly after 7. The county makes up about 90 percent of the 1st congressional district. Barela needs to make his move right away with that early vote. The ballots cast on the actual Election Day will favor the Democrats.

The Heinrich-Barela goes to the tube tonight. The dueling duo will meet in debate at 7 p.m. on KOB-TV.

The station will also do a thirty minute question and answer session with GOP southern congressional candidate Steve Pearce at 8 p.m. Dem US Rep. Harry Teague declined the debate invitation. Hey, we'll call this "Pearce's Place." R's will think it's about serious public policy and the Dems will think it's a sitcom.


One of the political consultants was upset with this piece sent out by ABQ Dem State Rep. Bill O'Neill who is getting a stiff challenge from Republican attorney Justin Horwitz. He wrote:

Is it just me or do I sense an anti-Semitic undertone (see the cartoon)? I found it very curious.

We hope not. The exaggeration of the nose on the cartoon character is what the consultant is getting at. This is dicey stuff and with an anything goes mentality when it comes to late mailers, we're sure there's other eyebrow raising stuff out there. When we go to the mailbox these days and blindly stick our hand in, we feel like we are about to put our fingers in a powerful mousetrap. How about you?


State Auditor Hector Balderas took no chances in this unpredictable election year. He has been up with a light TV buy for a couple of weeks and is going to finish it off with a fresh ad highlighting his newspaper endorsements. GOP auditor candidate Errol Chavez was stricken with a brain tumor this month and unable to campaign personally. He did no TV.

Other than a news article about his legal jousting with fellow Dem and Attorney General Gary King, Balderas has run under the radar--the way a lot of other Dem candidates wished they had it this cycle.

And, yes. We have noticed the pounding GOP attorney general candidate Matt Chandler is giving incumbent Dem AG Gary King over his support of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. That is going to chip into that big 20 point lead Gary had in the last Journal poll, but he is up with a response ad and that should keep the bleeding in check.


Why is Susana Martinez refusing to do endorsment interviews with the alternative newspapers the Santa Fe Reporter and ABQ's Alibi? Sure, the papers are of a liberal bent and have given their nods to Diane Denish. But Susana refused to even show up and do the interviews.

If Martinez is elected, is press access going to be subjected to an ideological test? Or is this a case of Martinez and her handlers being afraid that she would make a big mistake in the interviews and give Denish an opening?

Whatever the case, it is disappointing. Martinez has run almost exclusively on a platform of anti-corruption and transparency. Her GOP Guv nominee predecessors have entered the "liberal den." They do it because they want to get votes, but also because it places them in front of New Mexico's young people. The papers are mainly read by young adults. Isn't this election really about building a better state for them?

If Martinez is afraid, that makes you wonder about her competency to lead a state of two million. If she is refusing interviews because of her perception of a news outlet's ideology, that is equally worrisome for a chief executive who is elected to serve and communicate with all the people, not just those who agree with her.

Susana, some free advice from an old PR flack--you are being ill-served by this advice. You can try to make it up if you win, but as the old saying goes, "We heard you the first time."

And a memo to the boys and girls at the ABQ Journal: Are you watching this? Are you next?


This came across our desk last night and it's one of our favorite news release headlines of the long campaign:

Diane Denish to Campaign on the Great Navajo Nation on Thursday

They don't actually call it "Great." but it is indeed a great, sprawling historic land in our midst. The diversity of New Mexico is always in front of our noses, but sometimes you see something that reminds you of just how special a place we have here.

We received a call from one of the national news outlets asking for some analysis of the Navajo presidential contest between Ben Shelly and NM Dem State Senator Lynda Lovejoy which will take place next Tuesday along with our state election. We confessed that that one is above our pay grade and referred them elsewhere. Wonder if anyone has written a book on Rez elections?


Who will save our neighbor to the south?

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Gunmen opened fire on a car wash in western Mexico on Wednesday, killing at least 13 people, an official said. It was the third massacre in Mexico in less than a week. The gunmen drove up to the car wash in the city of Tepic and opened fire without provocation, said the official with the attorney general's office of Nayarit state, where the city is located.Aa


Jay Leno: "This Sunday, Halloween, the scariest day of the year, unless you're a Democrat. Then, that would be next Tuesday."

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