Friday, March 31, 2017

Lujan Grisham Snags Early Endorsement From Ex-Senator Bingaman As StateAwaits Balderas Decision, Plus: Very Healthy In Los Alamos, And:Retiring In Cruces 

Sen. Bingaman
An important early endorsement in the 2018 race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination had the eyebrows raised in La Politica as the week ended. Former US Senator Jeff Bingaman gave his blessing to the candidacy of US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the only officially announced candidate, and he did it a full 14 months before the Democratic primary:

In my 30 years in the United Stated Senate, I saw some excellent leadership. It was clear who was in politics for personal gain and who was really there for their constituents. So I can tell you with certainty: Michelle Lujan Grisham is a true leader who fights tooth and nail for New Mexicans in Washington. That is why I proudly support her for Governor. New Mexicans know how important it is to have a Governor who will work with New Mexico legislators to move our state forward. Michelle will be that kind of Governor. She is a fierce advocate for women, kids, working families, underrepresented communities – anybody and everybody who needs a voice.

Quite the development as we await word from Attorney General Hector Balderas, the heavyweight waiting in the wings, on whether he will get in the contest. But the Bingaman endorsement may signal that Hector is going to sit this one out. Dem Senator Martin Heinrich will lead the 2018 ticket when he seeks re-election and one has to think he was consulted and comfortable with Bingaman's move. If Hector gets in now the party will find itself deeply divided.

Bingaman is a former state attorney general who might have been expected to hold his fire if Balderas was seriously weighing a bid, but we'll see soon enough.

The endorsement is sure to help Grisham with her fund-raising and attracting older establishment Dems who have been loyal to Bingaman, 73, for decades. She reacted by saying:

Sen. Bingaman’s endorsement, especially this early in the campaign, means the world to me because he is so respected as a statesman who spent a career putting New Mexico families first.  The Senator is a role model who exemplifies everything I was taught about public service and fighting relentlessly for the people who put their trust in you to be a leader.

Bingaman's endorsement is not going to clear the field. Businessman Jeff Apodaca and State Senator Joe Cervantes say they have decided to take the plunge, but it puts the field on notice that a sitting congresswoman starts this campaign with a strong and perhaps an upper hand.


Northern Congressman Ben Ray Lujan comes with this clip:

Los Alamos County ranks healthiest in New Mexico, according to the 2017 County Health Rankings, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Do you suppose the immense government spending at Los Alamos National Labs has something to do with all those healthy scientists jogging around up there to their hearts' content--and benefit. The answer is "Duh?" In 2015, Los Alamos was the fifth wealthiest county in the nation:

The median household income was $112,115. Around half the county’s population of 18,000 is employed by the National Laboratory. With the laboratory having an annual budget of $2.2 billion it is not difficult to see why the area is so affluent.

Affluent and healthy. Now if we could just get the rest of the state to catch  up.

Down in Dona Ana County, maybe it will be retirees who add to the affluence. A reader writes from there:

In Las Cruces, the retiree migration appears to be building. This last week I met a retiree from Chicago, loves it here, just made this his home. Biggest draws for him are the weather and bike friendly roads and trails. I randomly met two different retired couples, from Chicago and San Antonio. They are visiting southern New Mexico and Tucson to make a choice. Weather, small city and outdoor activities are the attraction for them. Wasn't there a suggestion on your blog about making NM more retiree friendly?
Bankrate has NM rated at #30, with healthcare and crime rate dragging the state lower.
Looks like a win-win situation to me, increase healthcare education/jobs and more law enforcement.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

We'll see you Tuesday as we begin our Spring/Summer blogging schedule.

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