Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Will GOP Play Corruption Card In State House Takeover Effort? A Hint Emerges  

Rep. Archuleta
State House Democrats have got to be getting the message--all their sweet talk about bipartisanship isn't going to stop the GOP attack machine from making an all out effort to take control of the House next year. In fact, some of our Alligators see the outline of their strategy emerging in the very early going.

They point to a front-pager in the newspaper that slammed Dona Ana County Dem State Rep. Phil Archuleta for paying only $50 a month in rent for official office space from AFSCME. The issue being whether Archuleta is underpaying the union. Not exactly earth shaking stuff, but enough for our Gator detectives to make the case that the GOP may be prepping to play the corruption card against all House Dems as the incentive for voters to turn the D's out.

Joe--After reading the ABQ Journal article on Rep. Archuleta,  I couldn't help but feel the ominous presence of Governor Martinez's shadow--Jay McCleskey. Is this this start of a gradual roll-out of McClesky's plans to take over the state House.? Is it the beginning of the roll-out of all the opposition research they've accumulated on vulnerable Democratic state reps? I would imagine it is.  This is why Democratic state reps fear Martinez--because McCleskey will take any politician's little fault and put it on the front page of the Journal. This is what we have to look forward to for the next ten months. House Speaker Ken Martinez better get his response team ready.

A front page article about a low-level player like Archuleta supposedly paying less than he should for rent tells you how eager they are to pursue a narrative that Dems in the Legislature are corrupt. It harkens back to the days of former GOP Chairman John Dendahl and the statewide campaign against Dem legislative leaders Manny Aragon and Raymond Sanchez. Back then, the  statewide campaign against the legislature helped the GOP pick up the gains in the Legislature they enjoy today.

Martinez is an intrepid prosecutor at heart and the corruption issue carried her into office against Big Bill in 2010. Her using it to try to reshape the state House would seem solid speculation.

Archuleta will be challenged next year by former state Rep. Andy Nunez, a longtime Dem who turned R.


The Democratic legislative hierarchy has been trying to fend Martinez off by boasting of their "bipartisan" efforts to please her. But the hit on Archuleta over $50 bucks a month makes it clear that Martinez and the Fifth Floor will not be pacified.

Dems have had opportunities of their own to play the corruption card against Martinez but have hesitated. There's the questionable racino lease awarded by the administration to the Downs at ABQ. Then there's the allegation made by a former Martinez fund-raiser that that McCleskey is behind the formation of the dark money group NM Competes and thus illegally coordinating its activity with that of the Guv's re-election campaign which he runs (McCleskey says there is no relationship between the two groups).

Then there's the AP lawsuit against the Governor for not releasing what news groups assert are public records. And there's that National Journal piece that basically ripped the lid off of state government and showed a shadow government at play.

That's a lot more meat than $50 a month office rent, but the Dems have few friends in the media to push a corruption narrative of their own. They are going to have to do it on their own, if they do it all. Right now, it's mostly all defense from the Dems as the R's work to build an early lead.


Santa Fe and ABQ have long been plagued by a stubborn home burglary problem, largely because of drug addiction. Is this a solution?:

A program designed to assist low-level drug offenders by offering them the opportunity to. . . divert into a comprehensive treatment program instead of jail is one step closer in Santa Fe. Three members from Santa Fe Police Department’s Property Crimes Unit were in Seattle, taking a look at that city’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. Santa Fe will be the second city in the nation to launch LEAD. The goal is to identify nonviolent, opiate (pills and heroin) offenders who would most likely benefit from drug treatment services instead of incarceration. Statistics show a majority of the city’s property crimes are perpetrated by drug users, because they are trying fund their drug habits. 


We ran this quote on the Friday blog from the Legislatve Finance Committe:

New Mexico lawmakers in the last 10 years have increased spending on public schools by three-quarters of a billion dollars, or more than 42 percent. Even during the deep recession, public education was made a priority....

Economist Gerry Bradley of NM Voices for Children responds:

K-12 spending went up between 2003 and 2009--then down. The statement that you referred to--that spending went up 40+ % from 2003 to 2012 is misleading, to say the least. We are down in public school employment and in per pupil spending as well.


Two state Dem Party staffers--Scott Tillman and Angie Poss--have left the party to go into political consulting. They have signed Lt. Governor candidate Debera Haaland....

We don't know if we have had a better New Mexican meal in recent years than the one we had recently at Teofilo's in Los Lunas. The best natillas anywhere? A nice trip for your holiday visitors....

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