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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Notes From The Trail: SOS Oliver Dissed By Dark Money Groups But No Major Election Challenger Expected, Yet Another GOP Contender For Southern CD And A Dispiriting Display Of City Corruption Makes News 

Notes from the campaign trail. . . She's been plunged into a sea of controversy over her proposal broadening just what groups need to publicly report who gives them money, but that doesn't mean Dem Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is going to get stern GOP opposition. No GOP challenger has emerged for '18 and Republican insiders say don't expect one.

Oliver had no trouble last year when she crushed GOP foe Nora Espinoza 57% to 43% and was elected to fill out the final two years of the term of Republican SOS Dianna Duran. She resigned after a corruption scandal. Oliver will be seeking a four year term next year.

Here's the Oliver proposal that is causing the dark money groups such pain:

Under Toulouse Oliver’s proposed rules, a group that spent money on advertising or other communications to influence an election would have to file a report with the Secretary of State’s Office identifying itself. If it spent more than $3,000 on an election, the group also would have to identify some of its bigger donors. The revised proposal would raise the threshold for reporting spending intended to influence statewide campaigns to $7,500 from $3,000, differentiating between the race for governor, for example, and the race for a county commissioner’s seat.

Both the left and right are attacking Oliver's changes. Lefty state groups backed by dark money from the network of billionaire George Soros are sour on the idea as well as those getting cash from the conservative billionaire Koch Brothers network. Meanwhile, the general public is probably about 95 percent in favor of more transparency. It's about the only weapon they have against the avalanche of cash that the billionaire class uses to advance their own political agendas.

GETTING CROWDED

It's getting mighty crowded in one of the largest congressional districts in the USA. We blog of the race for the Republican nomination for the NM southern congressional seat. No sooner had we reported that former NM GOP Chairman and ex-Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman is seriously eyeing a bid when former Eddy County Commissioner and Carlsbad pharmacist Jack Volpato beat him to the punch.

Volpato pledges to fight for New Mexico job creation by promoting oil and gas production and exportation and an end to the damaging overregulation of the industry. He promises to support the district’s key industries, including potash and agriculture, by ensuring fair competition and advocating for necessary roads and infrastructure.

Volpato didn't mention the huge federal military presence in the district, protection of which is really job #1 for the southern congressional representative. Well, maybe even mentioning the word "federal" in the district carried by Trump is now verboten.

How we see it: State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, Jr. is the frontrunner for the nomination. If former Mayor Newman gets in he's probably second. Alamogordo Rep, Yvette Harrell is third, but has potential. And Volpato is in fourth, but not condemned to stay there if he can raise funds. As for the Dems, their candidate mix is making this one look increasingly like a long shot indeed.

DISPIRTING DISPLAY

Well, no matter who is elected ABQ's mayor this fall the change can't come soon enough. The latest dispiriting display of corruption is a heart breaker:

A Civilian Police Oversight Agency investigation has concluded that two Albuquerque Police Department spokespeople lied to the public about the department’s role in the Victoria Martens case before the girl was drugged, raped, murdered and dismembered.
The spokespeople, officer Fred Duran and civilian Celina Espinoza, lied when they told a reporter earlier this year that APD detectives had investigated a report that the boyfriend of Victoria’s mother had tried to kiss the 10-year-old girl several months before she was murdered in August of 2016. No APD personnel ever visited Victoria or her mother to investigate the allegations, the investigation said.

We've got four months more of this before the next mayor takes over December 1. Will that mayor have the intestinal fortitude to use a big broom and sweep City Hall and APD clean? Is it an overstatement to say the city's future literally depends on it?

Mayoral hopeful Michelle Garcia Holmes, who put in a lot of years with APD, reacted to that by again calling for APD Chief Eden to resign. Ya think? By the way, we referenced Garcia Holmes this week as a Dem candidate. She is a registered independent.

DAMN THE APATHY

Damn the apathy. People do care but they need leadership. For example:

The Neighborhood Alliance Against Crime will hold a “Downtown Crime Tour” for ABQ mayoral candidates on August 6th at 3:00pm. The event will draw attention to the rise in crime in the downtown area and also show mayoral candidates firsthand the problems residents face on a daily basis. All eight mayoral candidates have agreed to attend. “One of these eight candidates will be the next Mayor and we want them to head into office having seen for themselves the problems we have with crime downtown," said Terry Brunner, downtown resident and organizer of the event. 

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