Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Primary Election Day 2016 Arrives; Complete Results Tonight At 6:30 On KANW 89.1 FM And KANW.COM; Our Big Election Day Blog; Turnout Analysis, Trump Trouble For Berry, More On Torrez And Soros And APD Chief Stung Over Reverse Stings 


Last night the AP declared Hillary Clinton has enough delegate support to be called the 2016 presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Couldn't they have waited for us? It could have been a rare time--very rare--when today's New Mexico presidential primary would have mattered at least some.

While Hillary has it and Trump clinched weeks ago, there will still be plenty of races to watch on tonight's card when we convene our traditional roundtable for wall-to-wall Election Night coverage at 6:30 on KANW 89.1 FM in ABQ and Santa Fe as well as KANW.COM. We have an all star panel lined up to cover all the contests so be sure to join us.

Thanks to BWD Global, offering compelling communications strategies, and Gallagher and Kennedy Government Affairs for sponsoring public radio election coverage, the 28th consecutive year we have anchored it for you.

The late deciding presidential contests this cycle helped draw Sanders, Trump and Bill Clinton to the state and the resulting buzz could boost turnout, at least in Bernalillo County where all three appeared. 

As of Monday in big BernCo 48,106 voters had cast early ballots--71 percent of them Dems and 29 percent R's. Of the 8,911 who cast absentee ballots, 59 percent were Dems and 41 percent R's. Independents can't vote in the state's closed primary system.

GOP pollster Bruce Donisthorpe says an even bigger percent of the vote in BernCo (and around the state) will be cast early this time.

In the 2012 primary 46% of the total BernCo vote was cast early. This year look for that number to breach 50%, says Donisthorpe.

He thinks total turnout among the 332,094 eligible voters in the county could get into the the low 30's percent range which would be a big boost over the 23% who voted in BernCo in the 2012 primary. Forty-five percent of the voters in BernCo are Dems and 30 percent R.

Donisthorpe expects BernCo to have a heavier turnout than most of the state, with Las Cruces also experiencing a rise in the number of voters because of the presidential campaigns. His recent polling showed Clinton leading Sanders. He predicts she will win the state tonight.


The toxicity of Trump grows by the day in heavily Hispanic New Mexico. Predictably,  it has trapped ABQ GOP Mayor Berry who is refusing to say who he voted for in the state's presidential primary today (he cast an absentee ballot).

But a lot of Trump supporters will be back at the polls to decide the '18 GOP gubernatorial nominee. Berry has his eyes on that and his reticence over Trump could be an issue. Ditto for Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, another possible Guv hopeful, who also has stayed on the bench when it comes to Trump. (Is southern GOP Congressman Steve Pearce who sorta, kinda endorsed Donald watching these guys?)

Trump's latest comments are causing an uproar. He says that a lawsuit against Trump University can't get a fair hearing because the federal judge overseeing it is of Mexican heritage. That makes it all the more difficult for Berry and Martinez to save face, if and when they have to cough up even a tepid endorsement of Trump.

And what about GOP ABQ City Councilor Dan Lewis who was proudly touting Trump at the billionaire's ABQ rally? Maybe Lewis isn't running for mayor next year but if he is his embrace of Trump may darken his hopes.


Meanwhile, after six years of mostly ignoring the stagnant state economy, Gov. Martinez is now trying to show interest by doing some traveling to try to lure jobs here:

Gov. Martinez is in Chicago this week for a three-day trip focused on trying to pitch New Mexico to out-of-state business leaders. (She) left New Mexico Sunday evening, and will remain in the Chicago area through Wednesday. . . She is being joined on the trip by her chief of staff Keith Gardner, Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela and several Albuquerque-area economic development executives.

You mean she won't be around to comment on Trump's Tuesday night primary victory in New Mexico?

The Governor keeps saying she's concerned about how the "dysfunction" in Washington is impacting funding for the state's national labs and military bases. But what meetings about that has she taken in DC all these years? And why did the state never replace the DC lobbyist the administration forced out?

And what does she think about Trump's comment to the New Mexican that the state's bases and military are going to "be totally protected" if he should take the White House?

She has repeatedly said she was awaiting for a statement from him on that very issue before she decided whether to endorse. Well, the statement is out there and apparently Martinez has read it:

Governor Martinez is encouraged by Mr. Trump’s commitment to protect New Mexico’s labs and bases, which are not only important to our state but also our national defense,” Martinez’s press secretary told the Latin Post.

Now that the general election is right around the corner and the GOP's "all crime all the time" agenda seems anemic in light of the ongoing economic decline, the Governor is touring other cities to drum up biz here. You might say better late than never but this is more of a case of the horse (the economy) already leaving the barn. It's going to take more than  a few jet airplane trips to get it back in.


Strictly rumor but coming from a solid source:

Joe, Governor Martinez removed Phelps Anderson as Chair of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, effective immediately. Rumor has it that the reason is Anderson’s relationship with Harvey Yates, who at the recent state Republican convention defeated Martinez ally Pat Rogers for the position of GOP national committeeman.

We await confirmation. . .


It's true that Dem BernCo district attorney candidate Raúl Torrez has no control over what billionaire progressive activist George Soros does with his money. He has no power to stop a Soros super PAC from coming with $107,000 to support his candidacy. It's a distinction we did not make clear Monday when we blogged about the huge and controversial Soros cash infusion made on behalf of Torrez.

Thanks to a US Supreme Court ruling the campaign finance system is a wild west adventure, with super PACS free to raise and spend unlimited money. Still there is a "but" here. . .

What Torrez could have done is issue a statement saying he was not especially pleased that an out of state billionaire was trying to wield so much influence in the race for district attorney and perhaps in the office itself, if Torrez becomes district attorney. That's a distinction as important to note as stating that the law provides no path for Torrez to influence how Soros spends his money.

ABQ Dem City Councilor Pat Davis, who runs the liberal advocacy group ProgressNow NM which receives out of state funding comes with this:

. . . The disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision allows persons and groups to spend unlimited funds in support or in opposition to a candidate - provided that they do not coordinate with the candidates.

It's called "independent expenditures" and they differ greatly from the leadership PACs and coordinated PACs parties and candidates create to help themselves and their friends with contributions directly to candidates.

Your readers will be forgiven, of course, for missing the difference if they just looked at the way those "independent" groups on the conservative side (like Advance NM Now, Reform NM Now, Susana PAC) operate in New Mexico by using the same media consultants like Jay McCleskey, fundraisers and data vendors as candidates.

Of course, vendors who work both sides have to pinky-swear that they aren't using the same info or data to coordinate their ads. And it will stay that way until New Mexico passes a real campaign ethics law that prohibits this. . . 

It is a mess and it just got messier with huge dollars disproportionate to the power and influence of the DA's office coming into play. And if the campaign cash is distorting a lower ballot DA's race think of what might happen next year in the ABQ mayoral race.


A reader writes that the effort to reform the mayoral campaign finance system to make it more competitive with candidates that privately finance their mayoral campaigns just got blown up:

Joe, it's expected that this November the city council will place on the ballot an amendment to the City Charter that, if voters approve, would greatly increase the amount of public financing available to a qualified mayoral candidate from the current $362,000 to $630,000. But if outside super PACS like the one affiliated with Soros is now spending $107,000 for a district attorney's race, imagine what might be coming in a more high profile race like mayor? There's no way public financed candidates could keep up. The system is essentially broken.

And even though the super PAC's are by law not permitted to coordinate their efforts with the official campaigns of the candidates, it is really a fig leaf. Who is going to enforce the provision as the money floods in?

Of course, the super PACS are already running amok in the NM legislative, gubernatorial and federal races. In that context, the Soros interference in the DA's contest is to be expected. (What's next? A million dollar race for Harding County clerk?)

The Soros agenda on the left and that of the Koch brothers on the right may be in line with the thoughts of many local voters, but it's important to remember their interests do not reflect a local agenda--one specifically tailored to the needs of our New Mexico communities. In the end, the octopus-like grip these billionaires are getting over  campaign finance gives then more leverage with local elected officials and diminishes the power of local voters.


The monster Election Day blog rolls on and heads towards the never dull APD beat. Now comes Chief Eden pushing back against both Republican and Democratic city councilors who have condemned his "reverse sting" policy in which street addicts and the homeless are sold drugs by undercover APD officers and then arrested for the "crime."

Sorry, Chief, but with that policy so disgraced, you are about to become the victim of an Alligator strike. First your old friend and retired APD Seargent Dan Klein:

Chief Eden just flipped off the entire city. Telling the city council, district attorney and community leaders that he doesn't care what they think or want, he is going to continue putting APD officers (and citizens) at risk for $5 drug stings. Eden apparently has amnesia as he doesn't remember the blue on blue shooting in January 2015 that left an APD detective clinging to life, all for $60 worth of meth. Our fearful Mayor Berry hides and does nothing. “I would expect the chief would listen to the concerns of the council,” City Councilor Dan Lewis said. “Obviously, there is better use of your, of our time, there is better use of our money.” Well, Councilors Dan Lewis and Pat Davis, Chief Eden just gave you and the council the finger, what are you going to do about it?

You've got a thick skin, Chief. But that Gator strike has to hurt.


The blog spellchecker must have been thinking of that Costco brand name "Kirkland" when it came across "Kirkland" Air Force Base. We didn't catch the new name for the 75 year old local institution but several sharp-eyed readers did. reader Jim Cooke put the needle in this way:

Joe...has Costco taken over operation of our Air Base? Does this mean larger quantities for less at the PX? More or fewer deafeningly low-altitude Osprey flights? Better quality olive oil for the enlisted personnel? Ks and Ts can be so confusing.

Nothing like a joke at our expense (grumble, grumble).

See you tonight on the radio.

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