Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Progressives Romp In Primary '24; Ivey-Soto Crushed In Landslide; Three Conservative House Dems Also Fall, Plus: BernCo DA Bregman Prevails, Biden Sent Message On Israel And Republican Legislative Leadership Rebuked  

Berghmans On E Nite (Austria, Journal)
Statewide results here. Bernalillo county results here.

The progressive aren't done yet. 

Tuesday night in the Democratic primary they flexed their muscle again by soundly defeating their arch-enemy, state Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto, and ousting conservative House Democrats Ambrose Castellano, Willie Madrid and Harry Garcia, all while bolstering turnout among women voters.

The signs of their domination came early and impressively when absentee and early voting results were posted by Bernalillo county soon after the polls closed and showed Ivey-Soto losing to progressive Heather Berghmans by an astounding 80 to 20 percent. 

What was even more astounding was at the end of the evening when Berghmans, whose PAC advocates ceaselessly attacked Ivey-Soto over charges of sex harassment, was still ahead 80 to 20 percent.

It was one of the worst drubbings in state history of a sitting state senator--if not the worst. 

Voters in the ABQ NE Heights District 15 sent a resounding message that they not only believed the legally unresolved allegations against the senator but were extremely dissatisfied with his failure to offer a credible explanation. After three terms he was done and Berghmans, a newcomer with little political experience, was a giant killer. 

Dem political consultant Sisto Abeyta noted on our KANW broadcast that the state's voting data revealed female participation in both the Democratic and Republican primary elections was much higher than that of men.

Ivey-Soto's fall was accompanied by female progressive wins over two other male Hispanic opponents, Ambrose Castellano, who was defeated 55-45 by MLG-endorsed Anita Gonzales in District 70 in the Las Vegas area, and in House District 69 where incumbent Harry Garcia fell in a three way way race to Michelle Abeyta, a lawyer and Navajo nation member.

Rep. Willie Madrid of House District 53 near Las Cruces was also defeated by a progressive--Dr. Jon Hill, a lifelong educator. 

The 70 member state House already has a female majority and now that appears set to grow.

ABQ Dem state reps Day Hochman-Vigil and Joy Garratt told our radio audience they saw reproductive rights below the surface in the results that defeated Dem incumbents, all who have pro-life records. To paraphrase the reps: 

Abortion is still drawing women to the polls. It is still top of mind with so many states still threatening their liberty. The defeat in the House by the conservative Democrats of the paid family and medical leave bill, which was messaged heavily against the losing incumbents, was an issue but the boost in women going to the polls appears to be motivated largely by abortion.

A reader/listener pushed back against that argument:

The votes in the North are being decided based on family and relationships. There is no consciousness of the "progressives" vs. moderates narrative whatsoever. 

In far NE Heights District 27 in ABQ Dem Rep. Marian Matthews came under attack from progressive Greg Seeley for voting against the family medical leave act but attorney Matthews defended her vote and defended the seat by defeating Seeley with 56 percent of the vote. Her supporters pointed out that she represents a conservative leaning district but sticks with with her party on most votes. They questioned the progressive move against her and she chastised the progressives in her victory statement.


House Speaker Javier Martinez and ABQ Mayor Keller told our audience that they did not expect any major ideological changes in the House as a result of Tuesday's balloting but the progressive agenda was reinforced.

Martinez supported all of his Dem House incumbents, refusing to side with progressives or conservatives. That decision seems sound looking in the rear view mirror as he now stands as not only the House leader but a unifer in a party always in need of one. 


In other Dem House action, progressive lobbyist/consultant Marianna Anaya, who was one of the women who brought the sex harassment charges against Sen. Ivey-Soto, received a good fight from three opponents but took the win with 49 percent of the vote. No R is running so she will take the liberal ABQ SE Heights seat that Rep. Gail Chasey is retiring from.


E Nite Team (Bralley)
The fighting Irishman did not go down without a fight but the new district that Sen. Bill O'Neill was placed in was too much to overcome and he lost to former BernCo Commissioner Debbie O'Malley 52 to 48. She will now take the seat in November since no R is running.

Heather Balas billed herself as a progressive but she was not progressive enough as she failed to keep pace with Cindy Nava, who had worked for the Obama administration. In Senate District 9 in the Placitas/Bernalillo area, Balas lost 55 to 45. Nava is expected to easily beat the Republican there in November.  

There will be no comeback for former Dem Sen. Clemente Sanchez. He lost the District 30 primary to Angel Charley, a Navajo and former director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. She has no Republican opponent in November in the Cibola county area seat. 

It was a big night for Native Americans as Michelle Abeyta will add to their ranks in the House with that win over Rep. Garcia and the Charley win gives them another Senate seat. Native Americans make up 10 percent of the state's population.

His progressive opponents never really had their hearts in the race so appointed ABQ Dem westside Senator Moe Maestas in District 26 easily passed his Dem rival to win 59 to 41. No R is running for the seat.


Jay Block
Hey, what about the Republicans? Glad you asked. They get their own special section. 

Internecine warfare was at a peak and very personal in several GOP primaries Tuesday. The Senate Republican leadership led by outgoing Sen. Greg Baca ended up backing all the wrong horses. 

Rancher Steve McCutcheon in Eddy county was whipped by state Rep. Larry Scott of Lea County who was scorched by Baca's boys who are part of the ex-Gov. Martinez/McCleskey faction that quarrels with the GOP Chairman Steve Pearce faction. McCutcheon was appointed to the Senate by Dem MLG to fill a vacancy. Scott will soon be there now.

The Baca brigade was also overwhelmed in the race to replace disgraced GOP Senator Cliff Pirtle. Their PAC, which attacked state Rep. Candy Ezzell with such intensity that one Dem labeled it "political violence," was firmly rebuked. Ezzell withstood the challenge from Pirtle and Baca who backed Chad Hamill. She will now move from the House to the Senate and Pirtle will move back to his farm. 

Nicole Tobiassen may be moving up. She defeated John Morton and former state Sen. Michael Wiener in another race that frothed at the mouth with negativity. The race was for the seat held by retiring Sen. Mark Moores. It is the only ABQ-based GOP Senate seat. Tobiassen should have a good chance of holding it for the R's in November. 

Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, an unabashed Trumper, put away former state Senator Candace Gould and can be expected to prevail over a Dem rival in the GOP leaning seat in November. He trounced Gould 68 to 32. She was consulted by Jay McCleskey who again became an issue in campaign material. 

MLG appointed Republican Greg Nibert to a state Senate vacancy on the eastside but the oil attorney could not stave off rancher Patrick Boone who took the nomination 43 to 41 percent. No R is running so Boone will be going to the Senate to replace veteran Stu Ingle.

In House District 31 in the far ABQ NE Heights, Nicole Chavez took the GOP nomination for the only Bernalillo county Republican House seat. But she is expected to get a strong Dem challenge in November so her campaigning isn't quite over. 

The GOP race for the ABQ-based 1st congressional district was tipping toward Steve Jones of Ruidoso and away from the better-known Louie Sanchez early Tuesday morning. Jones would face Dem Rep. Melanie Stansbury in November who is heavily favored to keep the Dem-dominated seat.


In the race for District Attorney in big BernCo, the most expensive contest in the state this primary, MLG-appointed DA Sam Bregman is on his way to becoming an elected one. He easily dispatched challenger and former US Attorney Damon Martinez 54 to 46. No Republican is running so Bregman will get the four year term in November.

The Santa Fe County DA's race also ended early with Mary Carmack-Altwies putting away former DA Marco Serna. 

And in the DA battle in Dona Ana county, veteran politico Fernando Macias, the candidate the blog Alligators said to keep an eye on, was eying victory in the Dem primary with the final vote pending.


The NM presidential primary topped the ballot but the outcome was a foregone conclusion with Biden and Trump having already put way their nominations. Still, Biden supporters could not be happy with the 10 percent of the Dem vote that went to "uncommitted." That was mainly a protest against Biden's policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Biden ended with 84 percent. Withdrawn candidate Marianne Williamson scored 7 percent. 

Trump received 85 percent of the vote with Nikki Haley getting 9 percent and uncommitted 3 percent. As with Biden that showed some discontent with his candidacy in his own party. Haley has endorsed Trump.  New Mexico is rated solid Dem for the presidential election,


It hit 23 percent of eligible voters statewide and the same in big BernCo. That's a bit below normal but not much. In the '22 primary statewide turnout was 25 percent.


(Mark Bralley photo)
It was actually a pretty quick Election Night by our standards. We wrapped up the radio broadcast shortly before 10 p.m. with only a couple of races still on the table.  

Also unusual was the amount of leftover food, including cake and pizza. That came in handy as we munched on that as well as donated chicharrones, red chile and tortillas while blogging into the wee morning hours.

Election Nights play havoc with your diet but they more than make up for it by boosting your adrenaline. Thanks to all who lent a hand or an ear to the effort. As always, it was our pleasure.

Reporting from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

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.  


Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Primary Election Day '24 Arrives: Lower Turnout Expected; Our Election Night Coverage begins at 6:30 On KANW 89.1 FM and KANW.COM  

Our Primary Election Night coverage begins at 6:30 on public radio KANW 89.1 FM and  KANW.COM. Be sure to join us for the evey latest results and expert analysis. 

Bernalillo County results will be available here. Santa Fe county results here and all statewide results from the Secretary of State here.

We're not going to crush it when it comes to voter turnout for today's primary. We could drop below the 20 percent benchmark which is on the historic low side (25.4 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in Primary '22.)

This year there are 1,011,000 Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians eligible to vote. To reach a 20 percent turnout we will have to hit about 202,000.

The SOS says early and absentee voting came in at 117,251 as of Monday morning--72,440 Democrats, 44,483 Republicans and 327 Libertarians.

Statewide registered voters total 1,337,000 when independents and other voters not eligible to vote today are included.

Percentage wise, the Dems have 43.3 percent; the GOP 31.2; independents; 23.5 with the remainder Libertarian or "other" parties. 

While the percentage of Democrats has slowly declined over the years, the propensity of Democrats to vote their own party appears to have grown, explaining their domination in statewide elections, especially in the cities of ABQ, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, 

That does not appear about to change. 

In fact Republicans like former NMGOP Chairman Harvey Yates, Jr. and conservative Democrat Jeff Apodaca find themselves on the same page in trying to tilt the Democrats to a more centrist position rather than trying to build a GOP that has been truly decimated. 

Not one statewide office today is held by the GOP nor either chamber of the legislature, the governorship or the state Supreme Court. 

Today's election will be a test primarily of the progressives who began to dominate state politics following their big wins over conservative Democrats in the June 2020 primary election. Will the pendulum swing back a bit this year? That's one of the key questions for tonight as we monitor the face-offs between progressive and conservative Dems in a number of state House and Senate primaries. 


It has become customary for early and absentee ballots to considerably outnumber those cast on the actual election day. In big BernCo Clerk Linda Stover has voting info for the minority of voters who will trek to the polls today:  

72 election day voting convenience centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters can cast their ballots in person or hand-deliver completed absentee ballots by 7 p.m. "If you're in line by 7 p.m., you will be able to vote," said Stover. Find the nearest voting center and access unofficial results after 7 p.m. here

SOS Maggie Toulouse Oliver says same-day voter registration is available on Election Day at polling locations. Those who wish to change their party affiliation can update their registration at polling locations. 


Monahan anchoring Election Night
President Biden and Republican Donald Trump are expected to score overwhelming majorities at the primary polls today but the Biden campaign will be closely watching their exact percentage of victory. 

How many Dems will choose to vote for Marianne Williamson who is also on the ballot?

And what about the movement to have New Mexico Democrats vote the "uncommitted" line on the presidential ballot to show disagreement with the Biden policy on the Israeli-Palestinian war? 

For the GOP Nikki Haley and others will also be on the ballot. Will she make it to the 15 percent mark that election pros say could signal a bit of weakness for Trump? She has elsewhere. But since then has endorsed the Trump candidacy.

We'll have those answers and more when we gather for our traditional wall-to-wall KANW Election Night coverage. Our guests include Dem State Reps. Joy Garratt and Day Hochman-Vigil, GOP consultant Bob Cornelius and Dem consultant Sisto Abeyta. We]ll also have candidate interviews and even more analysis throughout the night.

We look forward to having you with us once again for the state's most comprehensive broadcast election coverage.

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.  


Monday, June 03, 2024

Election Eve '24: Primary Flies Low Over Much Of State But Then There's The War Zones, Plus: Analysts Disappointed in First Domenici US Senate TV Ad; "Not Compelling", And: Previewing Our Election Night Coverage On KANW  

With much of the media taking a vacation from coverage, no competitive statewide races and most New Mexicans not living in a contested legislative district, Primary '24 has flown so far under the radar that it's scraping the tree tops in the Rio Grande bosque.

But for those living in the handful of targeted state Senate or House seats featuring seriously contested primaries, it's been a war zone filled with the equivalent of F-15 fighters on bombing runs. None more so than ABQ NE Heights Senate District 15 where progressives are on the march against conservative Dem Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto as they try to oust him with Heather Berghmans. Voters there must wince each time they open their mailboxes. 

Courtesy of one of our intrepid blog readers in the district, we bring the scope of that battle right to your doorstep:

Joe, the Ivey-Soto-Berghmans race in the last days has brought the following mailers. 

There have been six hit pieces against Ivey-Soto, including:

--“I don’t know why you won’t kiss me.” – Planned Parenthood. 

--"Daniel Ivy Soto banking on corporate special interests – follow the money." Voters New Mexico.

--"No Longer Welcome – Rejected by NM Democrats." NM Working Families Party PAC.

There have been two hit pieces against Ivey-Soto’s opponent Heather Berghmans:

Berghmans & Ivey-Soto
"Most politicians take years to learn how to lie about their records. Berghmans figured it out right away." New Mexico Justice Project.

"More Crime, More Violence, More Problems. She is just wrong for us. " New Mexico Justice Project.

There have been three positive pieces about Ivey-Soto:

 --"On our side." Ivey-Soto Committee.

--"Fighting for Democratic and progressive values."Ivey-Soto Committee.

--"Always looked out for us." Ivey-Soto Committee.

 There have been six positive pieces about Berghmans, including:

"Advocate for our kids." NMVC Action Fund

"Full of bright ideas." CVNM Verde Voters Fund

So what's your favorite mailer? "I don't know why you won't kiss me?" 


After hearing the feedback on Nella Domenici's first TV ad the title of the spot could be "the lady doth protest too much."  

That's because this 30 second homage to her father, the late GOP Senator Pete Domenici, is so strenuously determined to portray her as a homegrown product and not the New York City multi-millionaire hedge fund manager she grew up to be. 

The ad is heavy on nostalgia and sentimentality with the Senator the centerpiece of his daughter's introductory foray into La Politica. But for our observers the ad tries too hard and speaks of a far away time that may have appeal to longtime Republicans voting in Tuesday's primary in which Domenici has no opponent but does little to get Democrats and independents out of their seats. 

The transcript:

Nella Domenici grew up here, one of eight kids. With Nella’s dad serving our state, her mom had her hands full. Nella saw first-hand, those values are timeless. So, she stepped up, juggling part time jobs and plenty of chores. Trying to balance it all, like she did as a mom, working her way up to CFO. 

I’m Nella Domenici and I approve this ad. Because New Mexico is Home. Demand More. Nella Domenici for Senate.

Domenici, 63, left her native ABQ when she was a mere 12 years old. Her ties here are tenuous but that is not deadly. Her Dem opponent, Sen. Martin Heinrich, has carried the carpetbagger label and look where it got him. Ditto for Bill Richardson and scores of other politicos. 

While her ad may unduly labor to shirk the carpetbagger tag, it commits a more concerning sin--it becomes boring, according to a number of consultants and longtime observers.

Former GOP ABQ city councilor, state legislator and now independent Santa Fe attorney Greg Payne, who has consulted numerous campaigns, came with this reaction:

This is a weak ad.  She assumes everyone remembers her dad the way she does, or did--almost two decades ago. There is no real message. The ad should be about how she will fight for New Mexico, the economy, crime and secure the border. She and her brother Pete Jr. (who ran for Governor in 2010) seem to assume that they deserve to be elected--simply because of who their dad used to be. One other thing... the ad asserts she worked "her way up to CFO."  Her dad was chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, something that is not lost on the locals who Nella is so eager to be identified with. 

Mike Santullo, an independent, a pioneer of ABQ talk radio programming and a several time political candidate, had a similar reaction: 

I fully understand that the campaign wants to tie her in with her father and that's acceptable, but we are living in trying times with issues that demand immediate attention, The ad is too general and not compelling enough to grab the viewer's attention. It is the first spot and they are trying to establish who she is in but she doesn't have the luxury of time when trying to unseat an entrenched incumbent like Heinrich.  Finally, in the ad's last sequence, I don't think it catches her at her best from a photogenic standpoint. There's work to be done. 

Tough reviews but candid and offered without bias. 

The highlight of her first media effort isn't the ad but the ad buy. Domenici, who according to Senate financial statements is worth upwards of $90 million, is spending $500,000 for the ad buy. That will bolster her name ID--and if voters are more forgiving than our critics--her standing in the polls. 

As far as posting an existential threat to Heinrich, that day has yet to come. 

(The Cook Political Report ranks the NM Senate race "Solid Democratic."


Besides her media campaign, Domenici is dealing with the yoke of Donald Trump around her neck in a Democratic state. She has already said she will not endorse his candidacy or ask for his endorsement of hers. But state Dems keep asking whether she will vote for him--a question that awaits her answer. Meanwhile, she released this statement in reaction to Trump's conviction at his New York trial:

It is a sad day in our country when Americans see our justice system weaponized. Thankfully there is an appeals process that can correct miscarriages of justice. We stand at an unprecedented time, with our country growing more and more divided each day. This must end. We must come together. We must have leaders who restore trust in our institutions, trust in the rule of law, and trust in one another. 

Demonstrating the fine line Domenici faces in dealing with Trump, conservative radio host and Trump supporter Eddy Aragon pounced on her statement, saying he can't support her because:

She can't even mention Trump's name. 


Kristin Davison
The Domenici campaign has parted ways with local consulting firm Rival Strategy Group and hired national firm Axiom. Rival's Michael Horanberg says: 

We resigned in April to focus on other projects but. . . are 100 percent supportive of her campaign to defeat Martin Heinrich. Republicans are united to win in November.

Rival will continue to consult NM GOP US Rep. candidate Yvette Herrell.

Axiom's Kristin Davison is now the lead consultant on the Domenici campaign, says a spokesman. She was the senior strategist for Glenn Youngkin's successful '22 Virginia gubernatorial campaign. Davison is a former chief of staff to consultant Karl Rove, ex-chief of staff to President George W. Bush. 

She was also the lead consultant for Nella Domenici's half brother, Adam Laxalt of Nevada, when he made an unsuccessful bid for Governor in 2018.


Rep. Hochman-Vigil
We're looking forward to being back on the radio tomorrow night at 6:30 for our live, continuous Election Night coverage on public radio KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com.

Despite this being a low-key election, much about the future of the state legislature will actually be decided Tuesday. The winners of many of the primary contests will face little or no opposition at the November election, making the primary the be-all, end-all.

Our panel of guest experts will be able to get a handle on the future consequences and also what caused the winners to win and the losers to lose. 

ABQ Dem westside state Rep. Joy Garratt (not "Jay" as a misspelling here had it) will be back with her in-depth knowledge of state Democratic politics. Joy is a retired teacher serving her third term in the House. So heads up class and no throwing erasers at your anchorman. 

ABQ NE Heights Dem Rep. Day Hochman-Vigil, another third term House member, is an attorney and aviation expert. She's back with us and will help our coverage fly high with insights on the campaigns, candidates and the issues to come at the storied Roundhouse. Just don't ask her if Virgin Galactic will fly again.

Rep. Joy Garratt
Attorney David Buchholtz of ABQ's Rodey Law Firm is the state's foremost expert on municipal bonds. But there's no bonds on the ballot tomorrow. Don't worry. He knows about everything else, too.

Dem consultant Sisto Abeyta, an ally of the conservative wing of his party, again joins the KANW roundtable, bringing a bunch of computer models and math formulas that only he can make sense of, but so will you by the time he's done for the night.  

Republican consultant Bob Cornelius has been spending time in SE NM where Republican candidates have been tearing each other limb to limb in several legislative races. Bob calls that fun, so who better to describe the action?

Election Night usually has a surprise or two--or three. So join us tomorrow night on KANW to find out what they are this time around and also for some solid laughs. We promise. 


Our first Election Night on KANW was way back in 1988 and we haven't missed a primary or general election there since then. (Hold your applause.) 

Our very first Election Night on air was at ABQ's KUNM-FM, covering the June 1974 mayoral election between Harry Kinney and Herb Smith (Harry won) so Primary 2024 will be our 50th anniversary of election night broadcasts. 

That's either an Alligator strike on us for being around so long or cause for a mini-celebration with cold pizza that Bob or Sisto (the monied wing of the panel) usually order. 

In any event, we deeply appreciate those of you who have been tuning in over these many decades as well as those new to our efforts. We are thankful for the privilege of sharing so many exciting and eventful Election Nights with New Mexico. Tomorrow night will be yet another. See you then.

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.  


website design by limwebdesign