Wednesday, October 26, 2016

SOS Race Sliding Away From R's; BernCo Polling Shows Oliver Breezing Past Espinoza, Plus: Where Overall Campaign Stands From A Senior Alligator, Guv's Machine Lashes Out At Newsman Critical Of Sanchez Attack Ad And Some Bottom Lines  

It appears the GOP's six year grip on the traditionally Democratic Secretary of State's office is about to come to an end. Insider polling in BernCo done October 14 already showed Dem hopeful and Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver garnering 55 percent of the vote here. Combined with an expected win in the Democratic North, that leads to a very steep hill for Republican challenger and State Rep. Nora Espinoza.

Oliver hit the TV airwaves at the beginning of the month--well before Espinoza--and that seems to have helped her consolidate her vote in the state's largest county. Also, a more Democratic electorate in a presidential election year is key.  Republican Dianna Duran won two SOS elections in lower turnout nonpresidential elections.

In select polling in Bernalillo County conducted just this past Saturday via robocalls, Oliver and Clinton continue to hold on to healthy leads. In a statewide SurveyUSA poll conducted in early October, Maggie led Nora 54% to 34%.

When she ran against Duran and lost in 2014, Oliver was roundly critiqued for failing to effectively attack Duran on the airwaves. She reversed course this time and has been holding Espinoza's feet to the fire over Donald Trump. Oliver's campaign sent out a memo Tuesday saying Espinoza's long awaited attack TV is now up. That's Espinoza's last hope but it isn't much in this environment. Even the Republican-friendly editorial pages of the ABQ Journal have endorsed Democrat Oliver.

That same Oct. 14 polling showed Clinton getting 48 percent in big BernCo and Trump at 32. Johnson was at 12. The Trump campaign can't be surprised by those numbers. New Mexico lost its swing state status in the aftermath of the two big Obama NM wins. Donald has not campaigned here since before the June primary. The AP has the state in the "solid" column for Clinton.


We're coming down to the wire of another election. That  means no foolin' around--only Senior Alligator analysis at this point in the game from the top of the heap sources with decades of experience in New Mexican politics. No taking sides or spinning, just the real deal on where things stand that has made NM Politics with Joe Monahan the must-read political website in the heat of so many campaigns. Here we go:

Joe, Democrats are looking good in this election and seem to be gaining day by day as Donald Trump continues to stumble. Hillary is leading in key legislative races throughout the state where she is now leading in every district polled from a percent or two in some districts to as much as double digits in strong Democratic areas. Johnson seems to be stuck in low double digits - however these polls are land lines only and may understate Johnson's support. 

Maggie Toulouse Oliver is poised to lead the Democratic ticket; showing strong leads over Nora Espinoza across the state. Maggie is leading by double digits even in competitive districts and is leading here in Bernalillo County in excess of 20%. Early turnout, both by mail and early voting seems to be heavily Democratic. 

With the top of the ticket doing so well in New Mexico and the momentum seeming to be moving towards Democrats we may see some surprise Democratic victories on November 8th if this trend continues for the next two weeks.

It does seem to be a Democratic year. In 2014 we could see the bottom drop out for the Dems and our Alligators called it that way.  This year if you are looking for some "upset specials" it will likely be the R's taking the hit. In that category keep your eye on the Pacheco-Ely House race and take note of the ABQ Torraco-Tallman state Senate seat. R's Torraco and Pacheco are pretty polished and favored to win, but. . . .

And about that early turnout so far, the Secretary of State reports:

Dem: 64,275; GOP: 36,768; Other: 14,067; Returned Absentee; Dem: 11,129; GOP: 8,847; Other: 3,305


You know who
The Guv's political machine is showing some frustration. The New Mexican's Steve Terrell did a critical piece on the TV attack ad against Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. Then the Advance NM Now PAC, led by Gov. Martinez adviser Jay McCleskey and which produced the 60 second spot, took to Twitter to attack the reporter:

 ‏@AdvanceNM---@steveterrell is (a) joke. Please call moms liars and say senator who voted against Katie's Law, Brianna's Law, Child porn ban isn't cradling criminals.

The ad in question features a pair of ABQ mothers who lost children to murder and who cry on camera when describing their tragic deaths. The ad then pivots to Sanchez and shows him amid headlines that accuse him of "being soft on crime" and "cradling" criminals. The mothers continue the narration, saying he has no empathy for them.  But there are problems with this ad as the newspaper pointed out:

The mothers aren’t specific about which criminals Sanchez supposedly is “cradling.” In the deaths of their children, prosecutors had filed murder charges even without the new laws for which the mothers lobbied. . . As for the enhanced “three-strikes” law the mothers support, it would not apply to the defendants charged in the death of their children. Neither Tony Torrez, the defendant in the Lilly Garcia case, and Dominic Conyers, who is awaiting trial in Chavez-Silver’s killing, had extensive felony records before being charged with murder. Another defendant in the Chavez-Silver case, Nicholas Gonzales, has pleaded guilty to shooting at an occupied dwelling resulting in death.

The ad hits home with with the sobbing mothers grieving the loss of their children but when it veers to Sanchez it goes off course and may lose the audience.

Conservative KKOB-AM talk radio host Scott Steigler may have made the point best, telling his radio audience Tuesday (and we paraphrase):

Michael Sanchez had no more to do with pulling the trigger in those murders than Gov. Martinez did in the murder of Victoria Martens. 

Blame for the notorious murder of 10 year old Victoria is being laid at the feet of Gov. Martinez in a TV ad produced by the progressive Center for Civic Action.

The Sanchez attack ad simply fails to show specifically how Sanchez had anything to do with the murders of Lily Garcia and Jaydon Chavez-Silver. And that's no joke, Jay.


Ortiz y Pino
ABQ Dem State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino adds his two cents on the incendiary Sanchez ad:

I realize that Governor Martinez would like to see Senator Sanchez defeated. It now seems clear, however, that her zeal to do this was the whole reason for her injection of several anti-crime and death penalty bills into the recent special session. She knew the legislature could not give adequate consideration to such complex issues in a two or three day session, but instead of waiting the three months until January and bringing the bills up at the regular session where they will get a full airing, she force-fed them into a totally inappropriate venue.

When the Senate (and it was the majority of the Senate, not just the majority leader) acted responsibly and dealt with the budget problems instead of playing her game, Governor Martinez responded by launching this misinformation campaign equating that decision with evidence that Sanchez is soft on crime and is able to dictate to the rest of the Senate. To do this she is putting the parents of crime victims on television.

Being a parent of a crime victim does not make a citizen an expert on crime prevention. Neither does it mean the legislature should drop everything else it's doing and do exactly what that parent requests. While they deserve to be heard and their tragedy ought to be considered in policy discussions, their opinions don't deserve special treatment any more than other viewpoints do. And when they go on television (paid for by the Governor) to insist that unless a Legislator does precisely what they want, then that Legislator must be defeated, vilified, punished, they cross the line from policy advocate to political opponent. That places them on treacherous footing, one that erases their main asset: their innocence and trustworthiness. If those parents want to change policy, they should focus on that, not allow themselves to be diverted into attempts at changing individual politicians.

By the way, Michael Sanchez is being challenged by GOP Belen attorney Greg Baca, but his real opponent is Gov. Martinez and the hundreds of thousands of dollars her machine is pumping into the contest in an effort to take him out--just as they tried in 2012.


Santa Fe's Alan Webber, who became to be known as the "thinking man's candidate" for the Dem guv nod in 2014, gets some recognition:

Linkage, a global leadership development research and consulting company, has awarded their 2016 Warren Bennis Award for Excellence in Leadership to Alan Webber, former Managing Editor of Harvard Business Review, co-founder of the technology magazine Fast Company, political policy advisor and candidate for political office. . . The Bennis Award honors a recipient who demonstrates courage, endurance, capability and success in his or her field and is an inspiration and role model for current and aspiring leaders.

Lt, Gov. John Sanchez is staying busy on the campaign trail as the hour of decision nears:

Sanchez visited San Juan County to rally support for the Republican party. Sanchez met with state Sen. William Sharer, and state Reps. James Strickler and Rod Montoya, all Farmington Republicans, and city councilor Sean Sharer as well as members of the public  in Farmington. Sanchez emphasized the importance of reaching out to minority voters, especially the Native American community. He rallied support for Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-Kirtland, during a visit to Shiprock.

And the Light Guv got off a pretty good campaign quip while in the Four Corners:

Donald Trump may be politically incorrect, but Hillary Clinton is politically corrupt. 

And so it goes. . .

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