Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rocky's Soft Punch of Pearce; Too Soft? Plus: The '14 Dems: "Every Man For Himself" Also: Selling Out O'Keeffe 

Pearce & Lara
The Alligators will give Rocky Lara the benefit of the doubt, but not for long. The southern congressional Democratic hopeful comes with her first TV spot that gently jibes GOP Congressman Steve Pearce. That it draws no blood is the immediate complaint from the Gators. But  you might ask if any New Mexico Democrat has drawn blood from the R's lately? 

The Lara ad scores Pearce for voting for congressional "perks" like free health care and first class air travel. You're going to throw an incumbent congressman out of office for that? Well, the benefit of the doubt part is that Lara will start soft and hit harder later. But from the beginning the campaign has had the aura of a set-up for '16 when a higher Dem turnout could give Lara a better shot.

In the ad that she narrates she rolls the "r" in Lara signaling to those who may not have known that she is a Hispanic candidate. Pearce comes with an ad anticipating the ethnic play and showcases Hispanic constituents touting his attentiveness to them--if not his very conservative voting record that may be starting to wear just a wee bit thin.

It's the soft-center nature of the Lara spot that falls flat in an environment where the electorate is looking for some spunk. She has a million bucks in the bank. Why didn't they first come with a bio spot of Lara and then get heavy on the negative in the second wave? Because it does not appear they are going for the gold this year. But if Rocky ever wants to go to Congress she can't avoid putting on the boxing gloves of her famous movie namesake.

The Pearce seat remains ranked likely R.


A low projected turnout that will tilt the electorate more conservative and the general disgust with the performance of Congress seems to be preventing Senator Tom Udall from running away with his re-election bid. He remains in reasonably solid shape, polling at 51% to Republican Alen Weh's 38%. But long gone are the days when NM US Senators commanded 60% approval. You might say 50% is the new 60%. That's how far in esteem the DC crowd has fallen as well as the faith the public places in the political process.

Udall has slipped with independents, according to the Journal survey, and that has him down from his 53% polling level in mid-August. We would expect Udall's TV message--all softball up to this point--to get edgier in order to maintain his lead.

Weh--independently wealthy--is running a pretty good campaign and keeping Udall on high alert, but his profile (older Anglo male) holds him back. Weh is now demanding TV debates with Udall. No TV debates have been scheduled that we are aware of.

The Martinez machine decided to give Udall a free ride because it did not want to arouse the Democratic base and increase Dem turnout to save Udall. But the race has turned from cakewalk into a fast stroll and that could get the Udall forces spending more and working harder--just what the machine was hoping to avoid when it gave Udall a pass.

The Udall seat remains ranked likely Dem.


The gnashing of teeth and painful bellowing continues over the Dem state of affairs in the '14 Guv race. Here's a Senior Alligator commenting on the ABQ Journal survey showing King falling further behind Martinez--54% to 38%--and arguing that we are in the middle of a systemic failure of the party: 

This poll is a yet another wake up call for the Democratic Party, its elected officials and affiliated interest groups: Martinez is on the verge of running up the scoreboard enough to move her machine's focus towards the Dems in statewide races and the vulnerable Dems in the state House. Everything is running as planned for Martinez and King is completely laying down.

Dems need not look farther than Pete Dinelli versus Richard Berry in the '13 ABQ mayoral race to know where this election is headed. (Republican Berry won with 68% of the vote). Democrats will concede the major race and declare victory when they hold on to the minor races.

My Lord, someone needs to shake some sense into King and (Dem Party Chairman Sam) Bregman--whether it's Rep. Lujan Grisham, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, Sen. Martin Heinrich, House Speaker Ken Martinez or someone. One of those younger, up-and-comer politicians can fill a void here, show some leadership and take the reins of the party. Perhaps they can help King and the ticket make a respectable showing. But Lujan Grisham was holding her 1st annual a ping-pong tournament last week and Heinrich was on an island in the south seas holding his own kind of competition. 

This election and the last Albuquerque mayoral election says a lot about the Democratic Party. It's run by a small group of central committee members that have no idea how to get people elected and the politicians don't care about the Party until they need it to win an election. It's every man/woman for 


2014 O'Keeffe Musuem 
Off the political beat for a moment and to Greg Lennes in Las Cruces who calls out the keepers of the flame for Georgia O'Keeffe, the most important artist in state history, for selling off some of her most significant works:

This is not politics, but I am mad. The financially stable Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is irresponsibly selling three iconic paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe to supposedly benefit its acquisition fund. These paintings should remain in the museum with the other O'Keeffe artwork. Museums are entrusted to be guardians of our cultural patrimony. Selling off parts of that legacy should be done only in extraordinary situations. It should not be used for a crap shoot to buy more paintings. The paintings will probably will end up in private hands, where the public will not benefit from it.

New Mexicans should be outraged by this sale. The shortsighted Board of Directors should reconsider their actions in this matter to sell the three O'Keeffe works to the highest bidder. 

With or without the three paintings, the museum in Santa Fe is well worth a visit.


NPR tackles the question: Who Determines Whether Someone Has A 'Latino Heart'?

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