Monday, September 08, 2014

The September Fizzle: King Still Cash Starved; Goes Dark On TV As Martinez Continues Hits, Plus Readers On The Tesla Tease, And: The Golfing President 

Gary King remains cash starved. He is expected to report today that at the end of August he had a cash balance hovering around $150,000--not nearly enough to get up on the airwaves in a sustained manner and sending message that his is a serious candidacy. (King reported Monday he had $157,000 in cash on hand.)

At the end of June King reported having only $116,000 in cash. Gov. Martinez reported having $4 million. She's expected today to report a similar end of August number.

The campaign is shaping up as one of the most financially mismatched contests in state gubernatorial history, rivaling the 2006 contest when Gov. Richardson trounced Republican John Dendahl.

Today's fund-raising report could turn out to be the major story of this campaign. It means it is possible that King will not be on TV in any significant way for the entire month of September. King has been dark since a brief ad run in August.

Absentee balloting begins in early October with early in-person voting starting October 18. As much as half the electorate can be expected to cast votes before the official Nov. 4 Election Day. That makes King's situation more urgent than it might have been in the days of minimal early voting.

King spent $500,000 of his own money in winning the Democratic Guv nod in June. He has since grown reticent about digging into his own wallet and fund-raising has not made up the slack. The race has always been tough for the Dems with Martinez seen as having a significant chance of re-election. That has hurt King's fund-raising. But a recent ABQ Journal poll that put Martinez at 50% and King at 41% gave Dems hope that some money would start to flow to King. It hasn't happened.

It was widely expected that King would gear up following the Labor Day holiday but in addition to being dark on TV he has not made much of a dent in the free media. He did get a break when the campaign conversation finally shifted to jobs--a key issue in the state--when Tesla rejected NM and chose Nevada for its giant battery factory. But Martinez--who is up on the air with two new ads--one positive about her and one negative on King--can easily switch the conversation back to where she wants by simply tapping her ample campaign coffers.

Politics can be fast moving in this modern era and never discount the possibility of an "October surprise" but with King tapped out this Governors race is in the midst of a "September Fizzle."


Reader reaction continues to come in over the Great Tesla Tease. Jason Fejer writes:

We are at the bottom of nearly every list and every measurable category. New Mexico has lagged behind every other state in job growth and qualified workers are seeking opportunities in expanding markets in other states. This has much more to do with the deep seated social problems and lack of leadership than organized labor. . An educated and qualified work force is a much higher priority to attracting Tesla than "right to work" laws. So Tesla might consider unions a risk factor but there are much higher priorities that need to be addressed. By focusing on a smoke screen, wedge issue like organized labor, the real issues get ignored.

From Santa Fe, Gretchen writes:

What is of concern is how ineffective any administration has been in improving the economy and general welfare of the state. It seems like most in a position of power are more interested in preening their feathers and pacifying the pockets that got them to where they are rather than addressing the long-standing problems. And there are many who seem content to just ride it out at the bottom and say “that’s just the way things work in NM.” 

Territorial Governor Lew Wallace’s observation about what works elsewhere not working in NM is still so painfully true even after over 130 years, and I have to wonder if there are those that would rather perpetuate that idea instead of changing it. Being insular is almost an honorable way for some. That is a huge root of our problems here in NM.

Well said, readers. . . .


A federal jury last week found former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty of public corruption. They await sentencing in January. The case brought out NM private investigator Michael Corwin who for a time ran the Independent Source PAC which was highly critical of Governor Martinez and her administration's controversial handling of a lucrative racino lease for the Downs at ABQ. It's a lease that has has drawn the attention of FBI investigators. Here's Corwin:

For almost three years the New Mexico US Attorney's office has been aware of issues surrounding the  racino lease for the Downs at Albuquerque. Unlike in Virginia, Susana Martinez and her administration engaged in dozens of "official acts" whose sole purpose was to ensure that the Downs was awarded the contract. Internal communications came to light showing a member of the Downs bidding team violating the RFP by communicating directly with members of state government in a way that defines collusion. Members of the Downs bidding team also gave large amounts of money to Martinez, more so than was involved in the Virginia corruption, and intentionally concealed their identity thereby making it difficult to trace the source of the funds given to Martinez

Seemingly, that is where the parallels end. Word of the FBI conducting an investigation trickled out, but no subpoenas, search warrants, or grand jury summonses seem to have been issued by the New Mexico US Attorney's office--an office previously known for convening grand juries to investigate Martinez's predecessor. So does the prosecution and conviction of Governor McDonnell create a new dynamic? After all, the federal government is supposed to treat all public corruption the same. 


A Senior Alligator who purports to have a keen sense of humor comes with this on President Obama. You be the judge:

Who says the President has no strategy for ISIS?  “Joe, on the 8th hole at Congressional Country Club—the Blue Course (of course)—the President will tee off with the 3 wood rather than the driver. It’s a short 354 yard hole so he is hoping to hit his 3 wood 200 yards or so which will leave him with a smooth 8 iron shot of about 150 yards. That should give him every opportunity to go for the birdie putt if the hole location is back and left.” There’s the strategy laid out for the American people.

Hmm. We're only going to give that one a five out of ten on our rib tickler scale. Maybe because it reminds us of how our own golf game has gone down hill. . . .

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