Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Moderate" Susana Puts On Conservative Wardrobe And Does Some Union Bashing, Plus: Sandra Jeff Watch; Uncertainty Over Candidacy Of Renegade State Rep, And: Pueblos Vs. Navajos; An Old Rivalry Surfaces In La Politica 

Hey, where did "moderate Susana" go? All of a sudden she flipped the switch and started with the union bashing.

Martinez watchers checking in made several points. Among them: Taking on the unions is a great way to shore up Republican strength in a low turnout off year election and you can raise campaign cash from it from conservatives locally and nationally. Martinez hit with a fund-raising letter right after she lowered the hammer on the unions:

Did you see the news? I oppose forcing the state to collect union dues for big labor. I believe the union--not taxpayers--should be the ones collecting dues for union activities. My support of this common-sense reform was called a "declaration of war" by a union boss. The union bosses have made it clear they will spend big money here to defeat me and stop our progress. 

The Dem Guv candidates are on the playing field now and one of them--Lawrence Rael--retorted this way:

...She has a horrible record as a job creator. This is about the politics of distraction and division. Rather than fighting to get New Mexico back to work, she is fighting New Mexico’s workers.

As for her Republican strength, Martinez's may not be as deep as she would like. In fact, insider polling we've seen puts the Guv's Bernalillo County GOP approval at around 80 percent, when it should be running more like 90. And in heavy Republican Lincoln County there was also polling for Susana to fret about. She was garnering 70 percent approval from GOP voters.

Now Fifth Floor Jay can push back against those numbers, but he's the one starting with out-of-the-blue union bashing in the middle of a campaign.

Martinez's insistence on labeling herself as moderate is a bit of a tightrope act and the dominant conservative wing of the GOP could be getting restless that she has thrown them little red meat during her term. Also, the biter split in the NM GOP over the controlling role of the Fifth Floor (aka Jay and the gang) may also be taking a toll.

Martinez's latest public approval was put at 55 percent in a December poll conducted for a public interest group. That was among registered voters. The Martinez push back was that she is higher among "likely voters." Well, the most "likely" voters in off year elections--like the one this November--are usually Republicans. By bashing the pro-Dem unions Martinez is working to ensure that it stays that way....


We could be on the verge of a major development in the 2014 battle for control of the state Legislature. We are getting word out of Gallup that renegade Dem State Rep. Sandra Jeff could possibly be giving up her bid for re-election. We stress possibly, but our sources say Jeff may have not submitted enough valid petition signatures in order to stay on the ballot.

If this pans out it is very good news for the Dems in the House. Jeff has joined with the Republicans and been a key swing vote on a number of issues. Most alarming to the Dems is that the House could be so narrowly divided after the November election that Jeff could caucus with the R's and be the sole vote that swings the speakership away from Speaker Ken Martinez and to the R's.

Jeff has drawn two primary opponents. Whoever wins the nomination will take the seat in this heavy Dem seat. And, we presume, they will support a Democrat for Speaker of the House. Stay tuned....


Conservative radio talker KKOB-AM in ABQ has been taking some major ratings hits of late. Nielsen Audio reports the station slipped to a 5.9 percent share in Dec. and January--its lowest in memory. That was down from a 6.1 and way down from the over 8 and 9 shares the 50,000 watt station commanded before it was taken over by Cumulus.

The ratings descent began last year with the departure of local talker Jim Villanucci who headed to Oregon. Rush Limbaugh remains on the station as the main ratings draw, but the station recently lost national talker Sean Hannity.

The #2 station in the ABQ market, according to Nielsen, was country KRST-FM with a 5.0 share.


Some rare good news for downtown ABQ:

The Anasazi Downtown highrise at 524 Central Ave. SW should see its first residents move in this spring. Lynette Manzanares, who has the listing for the Anasazi’s 45 condominiums, said four units are under contract now and should close by the end of April, with move-ins to follow soon after.

The Anasazi had been vacant for years, in part because of a real estate scam.


Business lobbyist and former Dem state Senator Roman Maes is among our readers searching for ways to spark the state economy. He writes:

This is the reason our economy is not growing--banks have all the money! Notable Numbers:

Excess bank reserves---That is the amounts held at the regional Federal Reserve banks by commercial banks instead of lending the money. It totaled $2.52 trillion as of 3/05/14 (source: Federal Reserve).

Complaints continue in the state that the banks are too tight-fisted since the real estate crash and that without looser capital we can't encourage business development and expansion.

Terry Brunner of USDA Rural Development in NM says his agency is a bank of sorts and has been trying to stimulate downtrodden rural NM:

During the last five fiscal years, USDA Rural Development invested $1.2 billion in New Mexico. Rural New Mexico consistently faces tremendous challenges with infrastructure, economic development, health care, poverty and many other issues. 

Include in those "many other issues" the long-term drought. It is slamming our cattle growers.


Debra Haaland
Debra Haaland of Laguna Pueblo is the unopposed Dem candidate for lieutenant governor and the party is hoping her candidacy will boost its strength with Native Americans in November. She will be the first Native American in state history to be on the ticket of a major party. But insiders wonder if the recent controversy over the approval of s gaming compact for the Navajo Nation in New Mexico might slow Haaland down.

Haaland is from Laguna Peublo and works as an administrator at San Felipe Pueblo. Both have casinos and have signed compacts with the state. There has been jostling between the pueblos and the Navajos over how the Navajo compacts would impact pueblo casinos. The compacts failed to advance at the recent legislative session and sensitive negotiations continue. That could mean Haaland will have to tread carefully as she tries to build Native support for the ticket. And you already knew of the historical rivalry between the pueblos and the Navajos

Lieutenant governor candidates are quickly forgotten once the general election starts, but because Haaland is the first in her political category there is some thinking that she could do what Light Guv candidates normally don't do--actually cause some folks to vote for the Dems because of who is second banana on the ticket.

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