Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We Just Don't Swing Like We Used To, Plus: Perils Of La Politica Claim Pair Of Candidates, And: A Letter From Cuba 

We just don't swing like we used to. In 2000, 2004 and 2008 New Mexico was the center of the political universe with presidential candidates becoming as familiar as hatch green chile as they wandered the state in search of our votes. Remember in '08 when Obama and McCain were in ABQ on the same day? Pretty heady stuff. But not more. As we've been blogging this year, our enchanted land is falling off the presidential radar as the state looks increasingly blue. The latest confirmation came from the WaPo's political team which listed their nine swing states in the upcoming prez battle and New Mexico was not even an afterthought.

Why? Well, a number of reasons, but chief among them is the growing Hispanic population here and Obama's popularity with that group. He continues to poll well with them and as long as that's the case Romney's chances here are about as good as as Mormon converting to Catholicism.

Besides those of us in the self-fashioned punditocracy, the folks who are going to suffer most from NM being downgraded a notch on the presidential belt are the owners o the TV stations as we discover as the Tuesday blog moves on...


There's not much bad news for NM TV stations in a presidential election year. They pull the coins in like a laundromat. But it may not be quite as lucrative this time around. New Mexico is still a battleground state for the presidential race, but Obama's early lead may be scaring off some of the early conservative TV money. For example, Karl Rove's new super PAC is bypassing the state with its
first big TV buy:

The Crossroads ads, which began airing in Colorado,  Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia and attack the incumbent for  his handling of gas prices, are the first of what is expected to be an  extended air assault on Obama by the conservative group.

Not that anyone is gettung the violins out for the TV stations. The presidential campaign and open US Senate seat in New Mexico will eventually mean millions in TV time from the campaigns and the outside interest groups.

You pass through the storied gates of La Politica at your own peril. Our latest examples of how the lure can lead good men astray are Gary Smith and Johnny Luevano. Smith got bitten by the political bug this year (for the first tiem in his 62 years) and promptly threw $125,000 of his own money into the political pot. It was gobbled up faster than an Alligator could slap his tail. His inexperience led to heartbreak as he scored a miserable three percent at the GOP preprimary convention. It all ended this week when Smith's efforts to stay on the June primary ballot were rejected by a judge who said he did not have enough valid petition signatures. Gary Smith--he grabbed at the brass ring and when he let go he was swallowed up in the Rio Grande Gorge.

Then there is the equally sad case of Johnny Leuvano. Oh, what could have been. but won't. A judge kicked him off the ballot for not having residence in the ABQ west side state House district he had hoped to represent. But apparently the retired Marine wants more pain--and La Politica will give it to him. Republican Johnny is now appealing his removal to the NM Supreme Court and even if he were somehow to get back on the ballot, he would lose the November election in a rout to incumbent Moe Maestas in the heavy Dem area. Pain, pain, pain.

Marines are taught to never give up. That's admirable, but in this game knowing when to hold them and when to fold them is the required skill-set. Johnny, it's back to basic training.


Fred Mondragon, former state economic development director, writes of his recent visit to the island nation:

I was in Cuba with the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce "people to people trip," along with 28 other "Burquenos."After getting an Internet connection in Havana, the first item of business was finding "New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan" and getting a daily dose of your insightful musings. It was a change from experiencing first-hand the art, architecture, food, music, and natural beauty of Cuba. Your blog must be habit forming, so perhaps you should register as a controlled medicine.

By the way, small business entrepreneurship is budding, and the hospitality, light construction and agricultural sectors are also being freed from state control. With a rising unemployment rate, leader Raul Castro decided to grant several thousand private business permits to allow small enterprises to help provide employment. What a concept! I think this trend will continue, and presents opportunities for New Mexico businesses bold enough to enter the future markets in that country. Keep up the good work.

Thanks, Fred. New Mexico and Cuba have much in common culturally, making productive business ties a natural for the future. Glad to see the Chamber getting us ready for that time.


When we blogged April 6 about Susana and her VP chances, we ran this photo that was taken in Carlsbad but did not identify the woman posing with the Guv. From Roswell, Jack Swickard writes:

Hi Joe, There's an interesting facet of the photo you may not know about:
The other person in the photo is Janet Ellis, who is running against Fifth Judicial District Attorney Janetta Hicks, Susana's former assistant district attorney when the Governor was district attorney in Las Cruces.

Janet Ellis has been president of the Battered Families Shelter in Carlsbad for the past nine years. Before the Governor visited the Shelter last, the staff had asked that board members be available to meet with Martinez.

Ellis told the Governor, before the photo was taken, that she was running in the GOP primary against incumbent Hicks. What's interesting, too, is Ellis and the Governor share the same views about looking after the interests of children who have been abused.

Here is Janet Ellis' blog.

Swickard adds that he is a campaign consultant for Ellis. Long ago he was an ace staffer for the ABQ Tribune.


Here's another political pic for this Tuesday. Democrat Eloise Gift getting the support of Dem NM Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks. And she needs it. The new District 68 on ABQ's west side is no gift for the Dems. Eloise, a real estate broker, is the lone Dem running while four R's are seeking their party's nomination in the June primary.

Marks is in the final year of his second four year term on the PRC. He is an attorney and says don't be surprised if his name surfaces for the 2014 race for attorney general.

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