Thursday, June 07, 2012

Election Leftovers: GOP Could Still Win Something If Michelle Takes Congress Seat, Plus: Balderas And The Expectations Game, And The "Worst" Campaign Sign? 

Could both the ABQ City Council and the Bernalillo County Commission soon fall under Republican control? It's much more of a possibility after Democratic Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham captured the Dem nomination for the ABQ congressional seat.

If she wins against Republican Janice Arnold-Jones in November, she will leave the five member commission and her term will be filled by an appointee named by Republican Governor Susana Martinez. That would tip the panel in favor of the R's by 3 to 2. The ABQ City Council went 5 to 4 Republican after the 2009 city election. If the county were to file suit, it might be the first time that both panels have been controlled at the same time by the state's minority party. One Dem wag says: "Look for this Democratic-controlled commission to plow through a lot of business if it looks like Michelle is going to win."

Martin Heinrich got by Hector Balderas in his successful quest for the Dem US Senate nomination and his lead has grown a point since earlier returns and he leads Balderas to 59% to 41%--up one point.  A lot of observers were wondering if Heinrich would go to 60%. When he didn't, we said Balderas beat expectations a bit. Here's another view:

Let's put some reality into the Balderas "beat expectations" claims. I think it's Martin that beat expectations when you consider he's the only Anglo to beat a Hispanic in a statewide Democratic primary in the last 25 or so years, save for Diane Denish's s squeaker over Stephanie Gonzales by a margin of 51-49 in the '98 Democratic lieutenant governor's race. Stephanie was outspent by Diane 5-1 and barely ran a race. What's pretty amazing here is how Hector underperformed. That ought to be the story along with a poorly run campaign.

Balderas did not do himself any overt damage, so expect to see him entertain runs in 2014 for attorney general or the Dem nod for Guv. How will he fare? Much of it depends on his competition.

Will Governor Martinez get more bold with state labor unions in the aftermath of the unsuccessful recall of Wisconsin Guv Scott Walker? The AP reports:

In New Mexico, Walker's victory could embolden Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's effort to limit that state's collective bargaining law. Through legal action, she has won control of a board that oversees public worker contract disputes.

One Election Night loser was Clovis area District Attorney Matt Chandler. He went all in for Angie Spears who lost to rancher Pat woods in the GOP State Senate primary there. Spears had the full force of Governor Martinez's political operation behind her in the intra-party fight. Chandler openly campaigned for Spears.

The race divided the GOP and could impact Chandler's political ambitions. He might run in 2014 for the GOP nomination for attorney general as he did in 2010, but sealing up the cracked eggs left from the bitter primary will be his first order of business.


Well, look at this. TV execs have been worried sick over the state losing its "swing state" status in the presidential derby. It could mean millions in lost advertising. But today they're thanking the American Crossroads PAC for reviving their hopes. The conservative group has bought over $250,000 in TV airtime in ABQ and El Paso to advertise for GOP Senate candidate Heather Wilson. This buy doesn't mean we are going to see the kind of full scale air war here as we have in past cycles, but just in case, make space under the bed so you can crawl under there to avoid watching the mayhem (Here's the ad).

One of the political consultants celebrating the election results this week is veteran Democrat Mark Fleisher. He says his Victory Group went five for five in the primary:

We had a good night. We won with Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg and State Senators Phil Griego and Richard Martinez. Also, State Rep. Sheryl Williams-Stapleton and Karen Montoya in the ABQ Public Regulation Commission race. It was a very good night.

It was that victory of Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya over longtime ABQ State Rep. Al Park that most political pros called the upset of the night. Park spent over $150,000 but Montoya, with strong last minute attacks funded by late arriving matching funds for her publicly-financed campaign, changed the dynamic and Park ended up in third place.

Montoya will face attorney Chris Ocksrider in November.


Why is the upcoming US Senate race between Dem Martin Heinrich and Republican Heather Wilson so important? Try this:

New Mexico could lose up to 8,216 jobs and $150 million a year in defense contracts if federal budget cuts scheduled for January take effect, according to a new study.

Some might say Dem US Senator Tom Udall can pick up the slack and protect the billions flowing in here. He can do his part, but he is not a pork barrel Senator by character. It will be Wilson or Heinrich who must pick up the torch carried by Senator Domenici who left the Senate in 2009.


One of the Valencia County Alligators sent this one in, calling it "the worst sign" of the 2012 primary because it only displays the candidate's first name.

So who is "Alonzo?" It's GOP State Rep. Alonzo Baldonado who was unopposed in his party primary Tuesday. He will face Democrat Frank Otero in November.

It's a bit offbeat for Alonzo not to include his last name on his sign. Maybe he didn't have room or felt any name with a "Z" in it is memorable...

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