Thursday, May 27, 2021

Congress Poll Also Has Juicy Tidbit On Guv Race; We Analyze, Plus: R's Pick Up A Tad In Early Congress Vote, And: Our Expert Team Is Ready For KANW 89.1 FM Election Night Coverage 

That one and only public poll of the ABQ congressional race that we broke to the state this week and that showed Dem Melanie Stansbury beating Republican Mark Moores 49% to 33% also had a juicy tidbit for gubernatorial watchers.

The RRH/Elections Daily survey staged a rematch between Gov. MLG and Republican Steve Pearce who she beat in 2018. In the poll of the ABQ congressional district she bested Pearce 52% to 37%. Not an overwhelming number but in safe territory and hardly encouraging for R's contemplating a challenge.

MLG won statewide 57% to 43% in '18. She has come under sharp criticism for her strict pandemic policies, settlement of a sexual misconduct case with a former campaign aide, obtaining fine jewelry from a store that was supposed to be closed for the pandemic, giving big pay hikes to personal staff and for ordering high-end foods for the Governor's Mansion.

But she has earned high marks for getting the state near the top of the list for vaccinations, for working with Indian Country to prevent an even worse virus disaster there and for shaping a significant and successful '21 legislative session that, among other things, is priming the state economy. 

This has not been the transformational governorship many progressives and others were hoping for. The state continues to languish in many important categories with no big picture solutions being offered from the Fourth Floor, but the ball has been advanced in fundamental ways. Among the successes: early childhood education, a more liberal fiscal policy, a balanced energy agenda and the absence (so far) of any major corruption scandals that can be deadly for an incumbent governor.

Against that backdrop, the 52 percent showing against Pearce in the ABQ area looks more like a base vote that she can build on rather than a mark she is going to recede from.


The percentage of votes being cast by Dems in the special congressional election finally fell below 60 percent this week. Not a lot--from 60% to 59%. But it was finally a sign that the GOP vote is becoming more prevalent as we approach Election Day when the R's are expected to outvote the Dems. 

Still, the party is only matching its registration in the early turnout. It was at 28.5 percent at mid-week, just above the 28 percent of voters registered as R's. The Dem registration is 47 percent of the electorate so their 59 percent share of the voting electorate remains quite strong. 

The husband of VP Kamala Harris, known as the second gentleman, will be in ABQ today to give Stansbury a final push. Dough Emhoff will take part in a get out the vote event and of course garner important media coverage with Saturday the final day of early voting. Moores and the R's are also working to spark a more vigorous turnout. They will hold a Unity Rally Saturday at party headquarters.

Independent Aubrey Dunn has faded in the final stretch and Libertarian Chris Manning never did make much of a showing, except for the TV debates.


Rep. Maestas
We've put together a team of veteran political experts for our Election Night coverage on KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com that begins at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. 

Attorney and Dem State Rep. Moe Maestas is 52 and serving his eighth, two year term in the NM House. If he doesn't know what he's talking about by now, he never will. But he does and then some. No Election Night surprises will get past this ABQ westside favorite.

Longtime Dem consultant Sisto Abeyta is back and with a warning. If Stansbury doesn't get a double digit win DC Republicans, he says, will try to make a big deal of that and get some aid from the national media who are on the Biden strength watch. Sisto will crunch the numbers carefully. 

Republican attorney Nina Martinez has toiled for former GOP US Sen. Jack Schmitt, ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and in one of Ronald Reagan's presidential campaigns. She is also a former vice chair of the NM GOP and onetime chair of the Santa Fe County GOP. That's over 30 years of experience. Just the way our listeners like it. 

Republican Janice Arnold-Jones, a former ABQ state representative, city councilor and a longtime thought leader in the GOP has run her share of races. She'll be back to analyze the whys and hows of this special election. Janice ran for the ABQ seat in 2018 when Deb Haaland took the prize. In other words she knows the lay of the land like few others.

This is our 33rd year of anchoring election coverage for KANW but it's the 47th year on duty for station manager Michael Brasher. That's 80 years of experience between us. What can go wrong? Well, let's not go there. Join us Tuesday night. It's going to be special.  

Enjoy the holiday, New Mexico.

Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

This is the home of New Mexico politics. 

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Herrell Broadens Pitch As Far Right Trouble Continues; Plot To Redistrict Her Gets Specifics, Plus: On The Biz Beat; Home Buying Frenzy Hits Home In NM  

Southern GOP Congresswoman Yvette Herrell is happy go lucky as she engages with controversial colleague Marjorie Taylor Greene on Capitol Hill recently.

Herrell hasn't publicly embraced (or rejected) the problematic views of the Georgia lawmaker, but Democrats could press the matter as they prepare for the special legislative redistricting session later this year when Herrell's future will be on the line.

Herrell has been pitching issues lately that have broad appeal and are her first steps to establish a more independent identity. 

Those issues include pausing the federal gas tax, expanding broadband and immigration legislation. While she does that, she still has to dodge the shrapnel that flies when Greene does stuff like this

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is facing calls to boot Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) out of the GOP conference for her remarks comparing COVID-19 mask and vaccine rules to the genocide of 6 million Jews during World War II. “Just stop. This is demented and dangerous. There is no comparison,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) tweeted at Greene Tuesday after she doubled down on her Holocaust comparison.

No incumbent NM congressional rep in memory has been taken out by a primary challenge. That gives Herrell room to distance herself from the far right and do what she can to stop a Dem incursion into her district brought about by redistricting. 

Our Senior Alligators report there are already two options under discussion to redistrict Herrell out of the seat she captured last November from Dem Rep. Xochitl Torres Small. 

One would have Dem heavy BernCo South Valley precincts packed into her GOP leaning district. The other would pull a sizable chunk of McKinley County into the southern district, a chunk that would include precincts that are dominated by Native Americans who reliably vote Democratic.  


News broke Wednesday that the congressional race will get a dab of national attention in the final days with second gentleman Doug Emhoff making a Thursday get out the vote ABQ appearance here for Dem Melanie Stansbury. 

Will Yvette get along with Melanie Stansbury as well as she seems to with Rep. Greene? That question will probably not be hypothetical after next Tuesday when Stansbury is widely expected to defeat Republican Mark Moores and take the congressional seat vacated by Deb Haaland who was named Sec. of Interior. 

Stansbury's final TV ad--"Future"--positions her as a Biden Democrat, not the "radical" that Moores has insisted she is and even features a photo of her with first lady Jill Biden. 

The ad is narrated by a Spanish accented speaker. Ethnicity is a background issue in the district. Moores has repeatedly noted that his mother is a Hispanic northern New Mexican. 

Election Night coverage of the June 1 special congressional election begins at 6:45 p.m. on KANW 89.1 FM ABQ/Santa Fe as well as kanw.com. Our expert analysts include ABQ Dem State Rep. Moe Maestas. 


Let's head over to the Biz Beat as a mini-mania in home buying continues here and around the nation. Sellers are the big winners of course, but developers are also making major coin. Among them is AMREP corporation which basically founded the city of Rio Rancho back in the early 70's. AMREP's stock price hit an eight year high this week, climbing over $15 a share. And why not? The backstory:

The company sells developed and undeveloped lots to homebuilders, commercial and industrial property developers, and others. As of July 1, 2020, it owned approximately 18,000 acres in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. . . AMREP (NYSE:AXR) reported net income of $2,093,000, or $0.29 per share, for its 2021 fiscal third quarter ended January 31, 2021 compared to net income of $338,000, or $0.04 per share, for the same period of the prior year. For the first nine months of 2021, AMREP had net income of $3,484,000, or $0.44 per share.

That's a lot of dream houses springing up. Go ahead and elaborate, Frank. . . 

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Only Public Poll In ABQ Congress Race Has Stansbury With Wide Lead; "GOP Leaning" Volunteer Group Conducted Survey; R's Need Low turnout For Upset 

The first and only public poll in the ABQ congressional special election comes from a group that says it analyzes elections from a "Republican perspective" but the poll's findings are a blow to the hopes of Republican candidate Mark Moores and a boost for Democrat Melanie Stansbury. 

The survey comes from RRH Elections, a site run by a team of ten volunteer hobbyists and whose polls are financed by reader donations. The poll was conducted May 18-21 using robo calls to landlines and internet surveys. But before we give you the numbers we need to report that the poll does not provide the party affiliations of the voters surveyed. 

An RRH spokesman tells us:

We've found that asking people their party is a surprisingly unreliable way to determine party support (i.e. there are plenty of people that may be registered with one party but support another, or call themselves Independents, which does not help us break out their partisanship). Thus, we think that presidential approval is more often a reliable, reproducible metric for two-way partisanship, and we focused on asking about that and breaking down our results by that metric.

The poll had Biden getting 58-39 approval in the district, close to his 60-37 victory here last November..

As for the poll, it has Stansbury leading Moores 49% to 33%. Independent Aubrey Dunn garnered 5% and Libertarian Chris Manning 3 percent. Nine percent were undecided.

The poll was taken among what RRH says are 555 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%. 

While the poll's methodology may raise questions, most pundits agree that the race is the Dems to lose considering the district's decade long history of D outperformance. 

There is a glimmer of hope for R's looking for some. Early voter turnout through the weekend was only 52,569 or about 11.5% of the 459,000 registered voters in the district. Moores needs a very low and unpredictable turnout to upset the polling models and get the race in play.  

Democrats have cast 31,540 early votes or 60 percent of the total. Their party registration is 47 percent. R's have cast 14,581. That's 28 percent of the early vote and matches their 28 percent registration. 

While the R's have been improving their early turnout numbers, the Dem dominance is notable. The R's will need a big Election Day turnout to catch up. 

A turnout of 25 percent of registered voters would be about 115,000 ballots cast. 

DC pundit Nathan Gonzales of Inside Elections ranks the race Solid Democrat.

Election Day is June 1. We'll have complete results and analysis on KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com beginning at 6:45 p.m. next Tuesday.


Stansbury has been increasingly leaning on her association with moderate President Biden to water down Moore's constant attack that she is a radical. Here's an example:

There is so much at stake in this election, from recovering from the pandemic and building up our economy to addressing systemic poverty and social justice issues. I will work with President Biden to get New Mexico back on track!

Moores has been endorsed by the ABQ police officers union and says he is the only candidate who "cares" about law enforcement. Stansbury has been endorsed by the teachers union NEA-NM.


Readers and employees have been asking about Sandia Resort and Casino, closed since last March because of the pandemic but remaining silent even as the state is widely vaccinated and competing Native American casinos in the ABQ area have been open for weeks. 

Rumors have been flying about the luxury resort's future.

We contacted the Sandia Pueblo Governor's office for comment but have not heard back. Meanwhile, a source connected with Isleta Pueblo tells us the word is that the resort may reopen in August. "They are taking their time and emphasizing safety. I make nothing of the rumors. They will open when they are ready." He said.

Sandia recently completed a major expansion and upgrade so when it does reopen the experience, as their promotions say, "should be far from ordinary." But don't try making hotel reservations quite yet. They are not available.

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Monday, May 24, 2021

Dems Pressure Moores On The Air And Ground As Last Full Week Of ABQ Congress Campaign Arrives, Plus: Keller Gets A Little Campaign Gift, More on That "McCamley Thing" And Big Bill Basks In Branson Turnaround  

If you're tired of the political ads for the ABQ special congressional election, you're probably a lot more tired of those from Dem nominee Melanie Stansbury than Republican Mark Moores. Stansbury has been outspending Moores on the critical airwaves by a two to one margin since the campaign started in early April--$367,000 to $185,000.

Dems are also pressing Moores hard on early voter turnout, far surpassing their registration numbers while the GOP lags. Election Day is June 1.

As for independent Aubrey Dunn, you can't be too tired of his ads. That because after an ad run several weeks ago Dunn is mostly dark. Libertarian Chris Manning isn't on broadcast TV.

In the overall money race, Moores reports raising $595,000 but $200K of that is a personal loan. He had $126,000 in cash as of May 12. Stansbury FEC report shows she has raised $1.348 million and had $525K in cash. Dunn reports raising $95,000 but $75,000 of that was in personal loans. 

Also on the money beat, Moores is firing volleys at Dem State Rep. Stansbury, saying she voted in Santa Fe for a $50,000 appropriation for one of her consulting clients. But this being a citizen legislature, the charge is hard to make stick. Moores will take it to the State Ethics Commission.

Moores is having problems of his own getting voters to buy into why he hasn't yet filed a required financial disclosure statement with the US House Clerk, asserting it's because he is still doing his taxes. Stansbury's forces argue the state senator and co-owner of a Roswell medical lab could come with at least a partial report before the June 1 election. 


Nicholas Bevins, the supremely progressive, self-billed autistic mayoral candidate has withdrawn from the mayoral race. That gives Dem Mayor Tim Keller a little break as he works to shore up his own progressive base. 

Bevins said on Facebook that he was getting out because he did not see a path to collecting the required 3,000 petition signatures to make the November ballot by the June 19 deadline.

Bevins left for the exits with no love to give Keller or his chief rival, Dem Sheriff Manny Gonzales. In leaving, he shined a light on a sore spot for not only progressives when he criticized Keller and Gonzales for advocating continued large increases in the city police budget while the crime problem goes pretty much unchecked. He refused to endorse either candidate and urged another progressive to get in the contest.

Mayoral candidates not attempting to get about $600,000 in public financing can begin circulating petitions to qualify for the ballot June 8 and have until August 10 to get the required 3,000. So far there are no announced takers. If none emerge it appears it will be Gonzales v. Keller alone on the November mayoral ballot.

The petition period for them is April 17 to June 19. The city has verified that Keller now has 91 percent of the needed signatures. Gonzales has 55 percent. The sheriff should get the rest, considering he's getting help from Republicans, as Keller's campaign is fond of pointing out, but he needs to step on the gas. 

As for the $5 donations needed to get the public financing, Keller has 67 percent of what he needs and Gonzales 46 percent. 


Senior Alligator analysis now on the odd departure of Workforce Solutions Cabinet Secretary Bill McCamley: 

Kind of interesting how this McCamley thing is going down. It  reveals how MLG operates--once you are out of the MLG club, you are banished forever. Another politician might use the McCamley thing to flag the problem with the coarseness of politics these days and deflect from the issues at Workforce Solutions. Or use it to show you are human. But she acts like he never existed and not one MLG person has chimed in on his emotional Facebook posts to show support. Every Secretary that has left gets the cold shoulder. There’s a lot of cold shoulders up on that 4th floor. 

Bill McCamley, bundle up those shoulders.


Richardson & Branson
New Mexicans have been jerked around so much by Virgin Atlantic and its billionaire leader Richard Branson for 15 years that when the company finally scored a coup Saturday and for the first time sent a manned test flight into space from New Mexico's Spaceport, many didn't know how to react. 

None other than former Governor Big Bill, who got Spaceport America near T or C and has since been ribbed tirelessly for starting a folly, was on the scene for the historic launch. If he's finally ready to celebrate, maybe there's something there:

It’s finally a great day after all of us taking a lot of heat — mainly me — over a period of time. But it’s happened. It’s successful.

Like many, we started out in 2004 as a big Spaceport booster but after years of disappointment joined the cynical side. Now after recently wondering if Virgin's space program should be merged with the one run by Amazon, Blue Origin, we are back to boosterism--at least until the next snafu. 

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