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Monday, February 26, 2018

GOP Preprimary Meet: Herrell Trounces Newman In First Round As GOP Southern Congress Race Takes Shape, New GOP Guv Ticket Makes Rounds And: How WhistlePig Whiskey Could Keep Carl Trujillo In His Roundhouse Chair  

Rep. Herrell
Southern GOP Congressional hopeful Monty Newman was knocked to the canvas at this weekend's GOP pre-primary convention. He's now up and about but he's staggering as he reels from the blow delivered to him by Alamogordo State Rep. Yvette Herrell, his chief rival for the June 5 nomination.

Delegates voting to decide which candidates will be placed on the June primary ballot gave Herrell 58% of their votes, an impressive win in a five way race. Newman, a former Mayor of Hobbs, secured only 26 percent support. The other three candidates lagged. It took 20% to get ballot designation. The candidates that failed to reach that mark can file extra petition signatures to get on the ballot, but the delegates essentially narrowed this to a Herrell-Newman contest, and it should be a good one.

Newman's forces knew they had a tough task at the pre-primary but the scope of the defeat was not anticipated. Newman could only say after the debacle that he was focused on voters outside the convention hall and not a "symbolic victory among insiders."

But hold on. Newman is one of the biggest insiders of them all, having been a former chairman of the NM Republican Party. And his drubbing was due in large part to his decision to associate with another insider--the controversial Jay McCleskey, the longtime adviser and political enforcer for Gov. Martinez who Newman has hired to run his effort.

The large anti-Martinez/McCleskey faction in the GOP was having none of it and smacked Newman down hard. An insider sympathetic to Herrell said It could be a turning point for her:

With activists so solidly and decisively behind her she's going to be hard to beat. Financially, I expect her to do better than Monty in this reporting period. His numbers have been inflated by donors giving him both primary and general election contributions. If you take the general election money out, Yvette is already bringing in more, plus she has a vast majority of support from the GOP legislative caucus.

Those are fighting words for McCleskey (what words aren't?) who can be expected to bring out the slash and burn tactics against Herrell that he is noted for but which also got him in so much trouble with his own party.

The money will indeed be key. That's been Newman's boast from the start--that he is far outraising her and the nomination is his. But if the Herrell pre-primary win changes the psychology and the cash starts flowing, she, not Newman will be in line to replace Rep. Steve Pearce in the seat.

We say replace Pearce because while the Dems have fielded a number of candidates the district has yet to be targeted by the national Dems and is sympathetic to President Trump. While not tantamount to getting elected the June GOP primary is close to it. That's why Herrell's resounding victory is important. Newman could not keep her off her horse. She's out of the corral now and riding hard. More as it develops.

THAT'S THE TICKET

Here they are--your 2018 New Mexico Republican gubernatorial ticket. Steve Pearce and his running mate Michelle Garcia Holmes made the rounds at Saturday's ABQ pre-primary and were greeted warmly. They are both running unopposed. This may be shaping up to be a Democratic year but Republicans could have done worse by going with a sacrificial lamb. Pearce is not that, not by a long shot.

Garcia Holmes has recently switched from independent to Republican. She picked up valuable campaign experience when she ran for ABQ mayor last year and she works well for the R's in the optics department. She's a relatively youthful Hispanic woman who will contrast well with the Dems, especially if Rep. Michelle  Lujan Grisham is the nominee.

The Guv race looks good for the D's but Pearce is going to put on a show and if he can force some fumbles, who knows what might happen. The Democrats have their pre-primary convention March 10.

SO BUSTED

Andrea Romero, who is challenging Santa Fe State Rep. Carl Trujillo in the June primary, you are so busted. There's no other way to say it. Look:

. . . Officials from Northern New Mexico traveled recently to the nation’s capital on a trip sponsored by the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, a public agency that has largely operated under the radar. . . On the first night. . . the group, including Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales. . . gathered for dinner at Casa Luca, an upscale Italian eatery (near) the White House. . .The three-course meal for 16. . . came out to $1,850. The alcohol alone totaled $380 and included two $70 bottles of Valdipiatta wine, four Birra Moretti beers that cost $8 each and a $28 glass of WhistlePig whiskey. Though the coalition’s travel policies expressly prohibit alcohol as an allowable expense, Executive Director Andrea Romero submitted the $1,850 invoice to Los Alamos County, which serves as the agency’s fiscal agent, and was reimbursed. . . The reimbursement for alcohol and other payments issued in violation of the coalition’s travel policies have created a big headache for Romero, who is now under the gun for allowing taxpayer-funded excesses as she seeks a seat in the state Legislature. Romero said that politics are at play.

No kidding politics are at play, Andrea. This looks like a nicely executed Trujillo Movida and there's much more material in that news report, enough to fill a large mailbox with Trujillo campaign flyers.

Imagine the flyer with the the bottle of WhistlePig Rye Whiskey on the cover. That ought to get their attention. Not to mention that Romero is getting paid $140,000 a year for a job with minimal duties. That ought to go over well with humble Norteños.

That pretty much spells out Romero's chances of upsetting Trujillo in the primary. For November, the district is all D the time. No R's need apply.

But we still don't know who the official was who ordered the $28 shot of WhistlePig. That can't be you, Javier. You have enough trouble already. In any event, Andrea, Cheers! Or something. . . .

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2018
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