Wednesday, November 09, 2022

MLG: "The Forecast Is Four More Years" Blows Off Weatherman Ronchetti To Take Second Guv Term; Dem Night Across the Board; Vasquez Defeats Herrell; Stansbury And Fernandez Prevail; GOP House Stalwart Suffers Defeat; Early Childhood Amendment Wins In Landslide 

(Roberto Rosales, Journal)
The red scare met the blue wall Tuesday night. 

Not only did Democrats successfully defend the governorship with Michelle Lujan Grisham defeating Republican Mark Ronchetti, they appeared to have defeated southern US Rep. Yvette Herrell, may have added a seat to their already overwhelming state House majority and ran the table on all the statewide executive and judicial offices. 

All of that after a persistent red scare that permeated the media that maintained Republicans were on the verge of widespread wins. The opposite happened and sent the state's minority party reeling and without a clear path out of the wilderness. It was an utter and painful defeat.

MLG posted a comfortable if not a blow out victory, holding a lead early this morning of 51.83 percent to Ronchetti's 45.7 and Libertarian Karen Bedonie's 2.45 percent. 

She padded her lead with a 40,000 vote win in big Bernalillo county and 35,000 in Santa Fe county. Ronchetti had a landslide in Little Texas in the southeast. In Lea county he took 82 percent; 77 in Eddy and 72 in Chaves. But that could not dent her big city wins.  

All election results here.

It was as if Ronchetti had been peddling in place since being defeated in 2020 for a US Senate seat by Dem Ben Ray Lujan. He lost that contest by 6.10 percent. This time he is losing by 6.13 percent. And that was after raising $9 million to the Governor's $12 million, plus even more more in outside money. 

On our KANW Election Night coverage ABQ Dem state Rep. Day Hochman-Vigil laid the forlorn performance of the GOP at the feet of the MAGA disciples: 

This was a backlash to the MAGA movement and the danger it represents.

Turnout backed that up with over 703,000 New Mexicans casting ballots, beating the 2018 record for midterm turnout of 701,000. Anger and big policy differences have become driving forces on both sides and is driving the high turnouts. 

In her victory speech, MLG also referenced the dangers facing democratic government and dubbed Ronchetti's campaign part of "the movement that that has fueled anger and division."


The brutal nature of the campaign was still in evidence as the now two term Governor took the stage at the downtown ABQ Clyde Hotel. She taunted her opponent by declaring she had the latest weather forecast and that it read, "Four more years!" She also decried what she deemed his attacks on New Mexican culture and values coming from "an outsider." 

There was no concealing that she took the attacks on her character made by Ronchetti and his hyperbolic political consulant Jay McCleskey personally and there would be no soothing words from her. Instead there was public condemnation and a shunning.

At the Hotel ABQ Ronchetti lamented how the returns showed a continued divide between conservative and rural New Mexico and the cities of ABQ, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, saying they need to be brought together. 

The campaign was his chance to bring about that unity but his run exacerbated the division by loudly campaigning outside of the urban areas for the final ten days of the campaign, mangling his stance on abortion and accepting an endorsement from Trump.


US Rep-elect Vasquez
In the southern congressional battle, the forecast was for a narrow win by GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell over Dem Gabe Vasquez but it was Vasquez who pulled that off--ever so narrowly. 

He barely led election night but his lead grew to over 1,200 votes. He declared victory Wednesday and Herrell conceded.  

 Vasquez fulfills the Dems dream of a state DC delegation of five Dems. 

Herrell, a MAGA adherent, was caught in the storm over that as Vasquez took advantage of new Dem areas in ABQ to run up his total and added a healthy win in his hometown of Las Cruces. 

Meanwhile, ABQ Rep. Melanie Stansbury won her first full two year term going away, defeating Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes 56 to 44 percent. 

Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez was none to happy with the redistricting of her northern district but she walked away happy last night, besting Republican Alexis Martinez Johnson 58 to 42. 


Democrats romped in the statewide offices with Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver scoring a 54 percent win and Attorney General contender Raul Torrez winning with 55. Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard also achieved 55 percent in securing a second term. Laura and Harry Montoya battled over the Treasurer's post. She won it 53 to 47 and Auditor candidate Joseph Maestas beat a Libertarian opponent 62-38. It was another Dem statewide sweep of the executive offices as it was in '18. 

In the judicial contests the Dems took two state Supreme Court seats and two seats on the Court of Appeals. The high court continues with five Dem justices. 


It was a runaway for the constitutional amendment that will allow increased funding from the Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education and public schools. Voters gave it a thumbs up with 70 percent approving the proposal. It took ten years to get the amendment though the legislature. But once it did and made the ballot, there was no organized opposition. According to polling even a majority of Republicans were in favor. 


Rep-elect Jaramillo
House Speaker Brian Egolf cited the investments the Dem majority has made in education and other pet programs as the reason the electorate rejected Republican entreaties into areas they thought they had a chance. Egolf says the voters know the seeds of future success have been planted and believe there will be results. 

As of Wednesday night it was still unclear whether the Dems would lose a seat from their 45 seat majority or stay at that level. 

Our analysts said that redistricting played a big role in the defeat of GOP Reps Jane Powdrell Culbert in a Corrales based district. Powdrell Culbert was defeated by Kathleen Cates. 

Socorro's Tara Jaramillo claimed a Dem victory and pickup for the party in the territory formerly represented by Rebecca Dow. 

ABQ Democrat Cynthia Borrego, Reps. Pamela Herndon, Joy Garratt and Natalie Figueroa all survived attacks on crime leveled by their GOP opponents. The Herndon win was especially sweet for the Dems. The appointed Herndon now becomes the first Black woman elected to a legislative seat from the ABQ NE Heights, besting her foe 52 to 48 percent. 

The GOP would like to score a rare House win with attorney Robert Moss pulling ahead of Dem Charlotte Little in an ABQ NW area seat by a mere 12 votes. That one goes to a recount. (Little pulled slightly ahead Wednesday and the race appears headed to a recount. 

In Las Cruces prominent Dem state Rep. Nathan Small withstood a well-financed challenger to win another term, 52 to 48.  

A first blog draft based on info from State Rep. Moe Maestas had Rep. Jason Harper losing his seat. He did not. We apologize for the error. 


The bottom lines are to thank all of those who helped with our KANW radio coverage last night and with this blog during the long and often discordant campaign. It was not always fun but we got through it with support of fellow political junkies who fight off such matters with a healthy dose of black humor. 

Finally, congratulations to the winners and the losers. It takes a lot to subject yourself to the meat grinder that is today's politics. In the end it is a noble service to our democratic way of life. 

And that, gentle readers, is a wrap from ABQ, NM at 3:07 a.m the morning after. Thanks for the company. 

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Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Election 2022 Heads For The History Books; Record Turnout Appears Elusive; Dems Not Fretting Over It; GOP Works To Get Their Flock Out Today, Plus: Election Night Coverage Begins At 6:30 P.M. On KANW 89.1 FM And KANW.COM 

Election Night coverage starts at 6:30 p.m on 
KANW 89.1 FM and KANW.COM. Join us!

Unless there is a surge in Election Day voting today, the state will not break the turnout record for a mid-term election that was set in 2018 when 701,654 cast ballots. 

That was the year Dem Xochitl Torres Small and interest groups supporting her bid for the southern congressional seat went all out in their field effort and drove turnout through the roof.

The early vote this election was 439,248, according to the SOS. That's on track with 2018, but the issue is how many people will vote today? Election day voting keeps going down. In 2018 it reached nearly 37 percent of the total vote or 259,000 votes. We need 262,000 to do that this time and may be lucky to get 200,000. If we do we would have a total vote of 639,000 or about 47 percent of today's registered. 

If we get the 262,000 we hit 51.5% of the registered and our bet that turnout falls below the record would be in danger. 

Dem consultants, who tend to worry about lower turnout, say this time is different, that even though there are fewer Dems voting, their ideological profiles are more liberal and that means little crossover voting and more than enough for statewide wins. (But it makes the state House races trickier.)

GOP consultants say momentum is on their side and as a result look for tighter races than expected. Today is the big voting day for Republicans and they hope to bolster their turnout enough to win the southern congressional district and cause problems for Dems in close state House races even as their statewide ticket still struggles. 

Constant negativity on the airwaves could be a reason for any voter decline along with a less competitive southern congressional race than 2018. 

We'll see if we get any turnout surprises to the upside in just a few hours when we broadcast Election Night results on KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com.


The traditional Election Night parties are back following a respite because of Covid. The Dems, including MLG, will gather for their celebration at the Clyde Hotel beginning at 7 p.m. in downtown ABQ. 

Republican Mark Ronchetti will be at the Alvarado Ballroom of the Hotel ABQ in Old Town. Doors open at 6 p.m. Other Republican candidates will presumably join him there because there is no official party celebration.

Our insiders tell us to look for former Guv candidate Greg Zanetti to make a play for GOP chair, if Ronchetti loses. If he wins, attorney Robert Aragon could be in play. It's unknown whether Steve Pearce will seek another term.

In the hot southern congressional race both candidates will be in Las Cruces tonight. GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell will be at the Picacho Hills Country Club. As of last night her Dem challenger, Gabe Vasquez, did not publicly release where in Cruces he will be. 

As pictured here, former ABQ Dem state Rep. Idalia Lechuga-Tena has started the party early. Win or lose, that's never a bad idea. 

Good luck to all the candidates and we'll see you on KANW at 6:30 p.m. 

This is the home of New Mexico Politics. 

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

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Monday, November 07, 2022

Election Eve In New Mexico; Predictors Take A Stab At Reading the Future; Guv Race, Herrell Battle, House Contests And Statewide Offices Weighed As Final Votes Are Set To Be Cast Tuesday 

What would an Election Eve be without predictions? Well, it would look like Christmas Eve with no gifts under the tree. So in that spirit we take a look at consensus opinion on what to expect tomorrow night as the long campaign finally concludes with Election Day voting. 

Remember, these are only educated guesses. 

Governor--There isn't much deviation here. The vast majority of pundits and predictors believe Governor Lujan Grisham will be re-elected tomorrow night. Attorney and former state legislator Greg Payne, an independent who was elected as a Republican, has been analyzing the races for us since the beginning. Here's his final take:

I see the race ending with MLG getting 53%, Mark Ronchetti 45 and Libertarian Karen Bedonie 2 percent. I sense Bernallio County coming home to the Democratic governor, with the help of President Biden. Ronchetti has simply not persuaded enough Democrats to hop on his bandwagon and that is essential in a state where Dems are 44 percent of the state's registered voters. The energy in the election is with the Dems, but not nationally where I see the House and Senate going to the GOP.

In the Oct. 20-27 ABQ Journal poll Ronchetti received 9 percent support from Democrats.

Republicans make up 31 percent of the state's registered voters and independents 22 percent. 

Others see Payne's prediction for MLG as too high, saying the Guv is not getting the turnout bump she needs and see her finishing as low as 49. 

The prediction site 538 has MLG winning the race in 84 out of 100 simulations.


Michelle Garcia Holmes
In the newly drawn southern congressional district Payne believes the Dems will have to wait until 2024 to oust Republican US Rep Yvette Herrell:

I have never thought she was very vulnerable and as the campaign wraps it's clear she is the frontrunner. The race will be relatively close but not in recount territory with Herrell getting 53 percent and Democratic challenger Gabe Vasquez finishing with 47. 

Polling has shown a much tighter race--including Herrell's own polling--and some Dem consultants we talked with are sticking with their prediction that Vasquez will eke out a one point win. But GOP consultant Bob Cornelius says:

This is a nationally watched race but the Democrats never seemed to hit their stride. Vasquez was waylaid when his old social media accounts were discovered--accounts he tried to hide. And he's too liberal. The district may be more Dem friendly but it is still fundamentally conservative and moderate. Also, that district will pick up the national movement toward the Republicans as they take control of the House. 

Dem Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez could be the biggest percentage vote-getter in the three US House races, say our Alligators and insiders. She has run one of the better campaigns and her GOP opponent, Alexis Martinez Johnson, has not made the inroads that national R's had hoped for. 

Dem Rep. Melanie Stansbury is also expected to win re-election. It's her first time out since winning a special election for the ABQ area seat in 2021 so the GOP will be looking for any weakness as she competes with Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes. 


Pamelya Herndon
We blogged in September that we did not see much movement in the battle for the 70 member House but we took a second look when polling data and Dem hecklers insisted that the GOP was coming on strong. Well, it turns out they were right--but maybe for a week or two. 

Lobbyists, wall-leaners and assorted hangers-on now predict that the five major House races in the ABQ area will stay Democratic. The one where there is much suspense is District 28 where appointed Dem Rep Pamelya Herndon is facing a challenge from Republican Nicole Chavez.

If this consensus is correct it means Cynthia Borrego and Dem Rep. Joy Garratt will prevail on the ABQ westside; Charlotte Little will beat Robert Moss for a NW seat and Dem Rep. Natalie Figueroa will survive a challenge from Republican Kurstin Johnson. That only leaves the Herndon-Chavez contest and that is now lean Democratic but some pundits say watch the Little-Moss one as well.

The GOP outside of ABQ has a number of chances but instead of a big Republican night the election could end with a near status quo result with the 45-24 Dem reduced by just a handful or less. (There is one independent in the 70 member House).


Laura Montoya
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver could lead the Democratic ticket tomorrow night, say the soothsayers. She has put away Republican and election denier Audrey Trujillo with an aggressive attack campaign as well as plenty of positive messages.

The consensus in the political community is hat all the other statewide offices will also stay in Democratic hands, with interest in the state Treasurer's race where two Montoyas are facing off. Democrat Laura Montoya and Republican Harry Montoya are competing. Observers wonder if there will be confusion but believe Laura Montoya will take the win. No R has been elected treasurer since the 60's.


ABQ Mayor Tim Keller is being scorned by the ABQ electorate in recent polling that shows his approval rating sinking to 33 percent but some of his supporters think Dem attorney general candidate Raul Torrez, the BernCo district attorney, is getting off light. He is expected to defeat Republican challenger Jeremy Gay in the race for attorney general but it's true that Torrez presided over the ABQ crime wave along with Keller. But unlike Keller, Torrez has avoided getting tagged for it. Gay did not have enough money to make the case but the race did produce the only humorous ad of the campaign that said if you want to see violent crime continue to rise you "Better Call Raul," a spoof, of course, on the "Better Call Saul" TV series. 


Mark Ronchetti rallies the faithful at his final rally tonight at 6 p.m. at North Domingo Baca Park in ABQ's NE Heights. MLG finishes with a rally at the Carpenter's Hall at 3900 Pan American Freeway NE at 5:30 p.m. If you haven't gotten enough of these two after five months of nonstop TV ads, this is your last call. 


Joe Monahan 
We look forward to again bringing you live wall to wall Election Night coverage on KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com beginning at 6:30 p.m. 

Dem ABQ state Reps Moe Maestas and Day Hochman Vigil will be on hand along with Dem consultant Sisto Abeyta. Republicans Barry Bitzer and Bob Cornelius will be manning the GOP desk. Legal Beagle David Buchholtz is back with coverage of all things judicial and former Dem state Sen. Dede Feldman is stopping by. And there's much more. 

So be sure to join us on KANW for the most informed Election Night coverage. It should be a bunch of fun. 

This is the home of New Mexico Politics. 

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.  


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