Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Breaking: Late Term Abortion Ban Fails; More Will Vote In This One Than Mayor Contest; Abortion Battle Draws Healthy Early Voter Turnout, Plus: Are The Non Elected Now Fair Game For The Attack Machines? Our Analysis And Comment On The Danger Posed 

Late term abortion ban fails in ABQ tonight.

It's Election Day in Albuquerque and there's going to be at least one surprise when the polls close at 7 tonight: How many people will have voted?

 About 50,000 early and absentee votes have been cast in this special election over banning late term abortions. When ABQ went to the polls in October to elect a mayor, the total vote was only 70,500. We seem certain to pass that today, but by how much?

If we followed the pattern of the ABQ mayor race, we would be headed for a turnout of over 100,000. That's because the votes cast on Election Day were 53% percent of all votes cast. Early and absentee voting comprised 47%.

But several analysts we spoke with think today's Election Day vote will falter some because of the intense efforts by both sides to get their vote out early.

There are 364,000 registered voters in the city. For the mayoral and city council election, turnout was about 19.4% of the registered. If we get 85,000 voting in this special election today, that would be about 23.5% of the registered and would represent an increase in turnout from the mayor's race of about 21%.

Here are the voting locations for today's election. Polls open at 7 a.m.


The final scientific poll conducted for New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan on Nov. 14 showed the proposed ban on late term abortions being defeated 53% to 41%.

You can follow official Election Night results here. The polls close at 7 p.m.

We will provide analysis and insight on the blog tonight. We will also report via our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Links to them can be found at the conclusion of today's blog. Pollster Bruce Donisthorpe will join us.


Also on the ballot today is a run-off election for the District 7 ABQ city council seat. It features Democrat Diane Gibson and Republican Janice Arnold-Jones who Mayor Berry appointed to fill a vacancy in the district.

In the first round of balloting last month Arnold-Jones fell just shy of the necessary 50% mark and that forced today's run-off.

We had BWD Global's Bruce Donisthorpe poll the district on November 6. That survey found that Gibson was leading 47.7 percent to 42.3 percent over Arnold-Jones. 10.4 percent were undecided. The margin of error in the poll is 4.2 percent.

Turnout in District 7 is expected to be high because of the council run-off and the abortion measure.

The Mid Heights district is 46% Dem to 31% R so no one will be surprised if Gibson takes the seat back from the Republicans. If she does, control of the city council will flip to the Democrats who would hold a 5 to 4  majority. However, it takes six council votes to override a mayoral veto.


Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education President Marty Esquivel did indeed condemn those campaign style mail attacks on APS superintendent Winston Brooks that came from dark money group NM Competes. We said otherwise on the Monday blog before we made a correction.

In an Oct. 26 news story Esquivel called the attacks:

A sleazy, inflammatory political tactic, an attempt to turn a policy debate into political warfare by demonizing Mr. Brooks. We should be having a discussion – a thoughtful, truthful discussion on this policy issue for the betterment of our kids. Instead, we’ve sunk to the lowest point, and the debate has degenerated into tremendously irresponsible, trashy fliers.

One reason we brought up the subject of those attack fliers was because they seem to set a precedent of sorts--campaign style attacks on a non elected official from an advocacy group with close ties to a sitting Governor. It raises the question of "Who's next?" Also, who will present the other side of the story for non elected officials getting pummelled in paid media by dark money groups from either the right or left?

Will good people who want to be a school superintendent in New Mexico or the head of a similar government entity remain interested if they see they can be subjected to negative campaign style ads as if they were seeking elected office or already held it?

Will they demand some kind of protection from the state to protect themselves and their families from such attacks? Is there anything the state can do?

Is anyone who receives a taxpayer-funded salary but is not elected or a candidate for office now fair game for anonymously funded attack machines?


Blogging New Mexico 
Criticism of anyone with public authority is, of course, fair game. It usually comes in the public arena in the form of a media exchange. The official is taken to task and can respond. You read about it in the paper or see or hear about it in the media.

But if you are being attacked with hundreds of thousands of dollars in paid media and you don't even know who your attacker is, how is one to respond? How is one to protect or recover their reputation? Damage to their livelihood? If you are super-rich one supposes you can put out your own mailers. But what, for example, of a school superintendent not just in ABQ, but  in Santa Fe or Socorro? Or for that matter the chairman of the NM Spaceport Authority or other public agencies? What is their recourse if subjected to the anonymously funded attack machines?

What door has been opened here?

Someone needs to draw the line on what could balloon into a new form of McCarthyism. What about the Internal Revenue Service that grants nonprofit status to advocacy groups,  the United States Attorney, the state Attorney General, the Secretary of State?

For now, New Mexico's political and business leadership--on both sides of the aisle-- can join with Esquivel in condemning these attacks and attempts at demonizing a non elected official.  If the intimidation and bullying is not answered, the answer to the question of "Who's next?" could be "You."

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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  • (c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2013. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
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