New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan

June 7, 2021

Monday, June 07, 2021

Unsteady Start: MLG’s Re-elect Rally Implodes; Guv Image Cast In New Light As She Rips Protesters As “Lizard People”; R’s Try To Take Advantage But Still No Name Candidate 

Messy, unnecessary and amateurish. Those were some of the takes from political pros weighing in after the worst PR debacle of Governor Lujan Grisham’s tenure. Her Thursday evening re-election announcement at the ABQ Museum turned into such a fiasco that for the first time some doubt was cast over the conventional wisdom that her second term is as likely as the summer monsoons. 

The mishap has roots before the event when MLG and her team ordered up a public announcement of her intention to run for another four year term in 2022. 

Why do one at all when she had already said she was seeking re-election? Is there someone challenging her in the Dem primary? No. Is it too early to politicize the image of a sitting Governor and turn her into a candidate? Yes.

And why do it in a public venue like the museum amphitheater where protesters easily drowned out the entire event with indignant shouts powered with megaphones and who dominated the news coverage? 

And why make the event exclusive to the Democratic elite (e.g. House Speaker Egolf and Senate Leader Wirth), reinforcing the notion that the pandemic put her above the fray ordinary citizens faced?

And if you’re going to announce your re-election, can you inform the state what your plans are for the next four years instead of a program of speakers who conducted a pep rally?

Of course the protesters made sure that MLG had little chance of saying much of anything and what she did say only made matters worse. Frustrated by the overwhelming cacophony and the knowledge that the event was crashing and burning before her eyes she went after the protesters, calling them “” target=”_blank”>QAnon lizard people.” Say what? 

She should have been kicking herself and her staff for the political folly not those who took advantage of the misadventure. Remember Hillary and the “deplorables?” Well, MLG just empowered the “lizard people.”

The protesters are also constituents who happen to disagree with MLG’s strict lockdown measures. That’s not a position that puts them on the far fringes of conspiratorial politics. Casting them as such again furthered the narrative that the Governor, already busted for high living ways during the pandemic, is out of touch. 

The chaos at the occasion was all the more remarkable because of MLG’s recent legislative successes and her generally well received handling of the virus crisis. The image of that success was drowned out by a small group of protesters who effectively punctured the bubble MLG and her campaign staff have apparently been operating in. 

One mistake leads to another and now that MLG’s fallibility has been showcased, the game is on to stage repeats. Heck, the flying dildo drone may even show up next time. (MLG was forced to cancel a Friday campaign event at Espanola because of security concerns).THE OPPOSITION

Chase and Pence

The Governor is blessed with a weak opposition and we mean weak. The state GOP is at their lowest point since the 1970’s. 

There still is no big name Republican Guv candidate but the Thursday mishap may have someone of note mulling over a run.

Who might that be? Probably a hopeful who can mostly self-finance an expensive campaign because raising money will be a challenge against an incumbent, unless her numbers are deep in the cellar. 

Claire Chase of the wealthy SE NM oil family who ran for the southern GOP congressional nomination in 2020 comes to mind. Besides money there is the need for a fresh R face. But Chase isn’t even 40 and better opportunities may come along.While without a campaign leader, the Rs are codifying their 2022 anti-MLG messaging that will rally their base: 

The Governor’s unfair and illegal decisions during the pandemic killed our economy, lost thousands of jobs and cost our children a school year with no classrooms. Many students and job seekers have had to move out of state. . .The Governor even gave her staff pay raises. . .

Her refusal to reopen has caused irreparable damage and has led to suicide and mental health problems. Lujan Grisham based her COVID decisions on political science, not medical science. . . 

Her character must be questioned. She continues to act like a monarch with absolute rule. . .Lujan Grisham has broken the rules that she decreed . . .She closed shops to the public but enjoyed buying jewelry for herself, closed grocery stores but feasted on steaks and exotic foods at taxpayers’ expense.

MLG could have laid back for months, making no political announcements and depriving the R’s of a target. The silver lining for the D’s is that it is still way early and there’s plenty of time to forget. But there’s no denying that with an ill-advised and poorly executed re-election event MLG shot herself in her colorful cowboy boots and instead of charging out of the gate, she comes out limping.     

LIZARD NATION

The only announced GOP gubernatorial candidate, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, didn’t waste any time incorporating lizard people, the state’s newest political meme, into his campaign

I am very much looking forward to going back to Block Country in Artesia. We have tremendous support there and our campaign is moving along very well around the state. I also will have some huge news to share with you shortly. Stay tuned Lizards!

And don’t forget the Alligators. They’re still out there, too. 

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Nothing Happening In ABQ Mayoral Race; Just Another Flying Dildo Drone, Plus: Retribution Over R’s Massive Loss In ABQ Congress Contest 

The embryonic ABQ mayoral race wandered into the theater of the absurd Tuesday night, signaling that perhaps all of us need a bit of a break from the campaign trail. 

How else to react to a flying dildo drone in the skies above candidate Manny Gonzales as he made his pitch to a crowd gathered at the Revel Entertainment Center?Yes, a flying dildo drone. And that was not the end of it. This video (starting around the 4 minute mark) shows the Revel owner grabbing the dildo, inciting a 20 year old mentally challenged man to try to take it back (unsuccessfully). He then goes into a fit of rage, balling his fists and attempting to hit Gonzales. Whether he hit him or not is unclear but Gonzales was not injured. The optics of the event were so ridiculous that it prompted comical conspiracy theories that Manny set the whole thing up to draw attention to his banner issue of runway crime or that the Mayor Keller camp sent the flying dildo as a message to their rival. What that message might be is a mystery.

“To suggest we were behind it is pathetic and the kind of desperation that has marked Manny’s troubled campaign,” Keller campaign manager Neri Holguin said. 

Only five months to go in Mayoral race 2021. So far it’s “flying by,” isn’t it?

RETRIBUTION FOR R’S

The massive defeat suffered by Republican Mark Moores to Dem Melanie Stansbury at the special ABQ congressional election Tuesday brought out the critics of today’s GOP. Here’s reader Armand Huertaz: 

It was just 7 years ago when the GOP garnered control of the state House, had a GOP Guv and a GOP Mayor in ABQ. Now, the party gets its ass kicked all day every day on every race from Prez to Gov to dog catcher. Until (GOP Chairman Steve) Pearce steps down, there is no point. The fact that he did not resign after the Moores defeat shows that he only cares about his own failed race for governor in 2022. BTW, would it kill the GOP to nominate a dynamic latino/a for the ABQ congressional seat?

Pearce has made no announcement regarding any intentions to run for Governor next year.

Reader Steve Crespin writes: 

Regarding Stansbury’s blow out, the Republican Party of NM is a train wreck and Susana Martinez and her inner-circle of jackasses are to blame for running it off the rails. Until the Republican Party can get  folks to forget the disaster of the Martinez administration it will continue to lose like this. Also, the party needs to find a candidate and leaders who will re-unite the party and repair the damage and hard feelings the Martinez administration did. When Martinez left office I said it would take at least two full election cycles (8 years) for the Republican party to begin to recover. 

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Stansbury Blow Out: She takes ABQ Congress Seat by Over 20 Points; Moores Falls Early; Congresswoman-elect Took Career Fast Track  

Stansbury And Mother Election Night
(Pierre-Louis Journal)

Melanie Stansbury crushed Republican Mark Moores to win the ABQ area congressional seat Tuesday night, reaffirming the deep blue nature of the once competitive district and putting to rest rumblings that the contest could be a national bellwether for the Biden presidency. 

Veteran state political analyst and former legislator Greg Payne said of the Stansbury landslide:

This race was not a bellwether. It simply showed that Blue congressional districts here are going to stay blue. 

Late Tuesday Stansbury was getting 60 percent of the vote to Moores’ 36%. Independent Aubrey Dunn received 3% and Libertarian Chris Manning 1 percent.

Moores never got off the mat. He was immediately knocked down when the early vote was reported and which represented about 75 percent of all votes cast. His big loss to the 42 year old probably quashed any hopes he might have had for the 2022 Republican Guv nomination. 

Stansbury didn’t exactly come out of nowhere but she is the least known of any candidate to win the ABQ seat since its founding in 1968. 

It’s been a whirlwind for the ABQ North Valley native with the Ivy League pedigree and the White House resume.  She pulled off a major upset in 2018 when she became a state representative by winning an ABQ NE Heights House district never before won by a Dem. 

Then she came with another eyebrow raiser.  In April She lost the first round of balloting at the Dem Party Central Committee nominating meeting to Antoinette Sedillo Lopez only to win the runoff and become the party’s choice to replace Rep. Deb Haaland who had been appointed Secretary of Interior by President Biden. 

That Sedillo Lopez loss left a bad taste in the mouths of some progressives who derided Stansbury as an Obama/Clinton/corporate Democrat, not a Bernie Sanders Dem like Sedillo Lopez. 

But most Dems turned a deaf ear to that. Her margin of victory was evidence that while she was not a household name she was able to present an appealing message of getting behind Biden’s pandemic programs, pointing to her legislative record and conducting a campaign that unified the party. 

Republicans enduring one of their worst stretches in New Mexico history never had their hearts in the race. The national GOP sat on the sidelines. Moores could not raise money locally. His all crime all the time message was ignored by the mostly liberal voting public and enthusiasm for him suffered among R’s because he was not all in on Trump.

The failure of of the crime message to take hold sent a ripple of optimism through the campaign of Mayor Tim Keller who is seeking re-election in November amid a record setting wave of murders. 

Dem State Rep Moe Maestas, teaming  with Dem consultant Sisto Abeyta on our KANW-FM Election Night airwaves, marveled at how the ABQ district once held by Republicans for a 40 year stretch has become so Democratic. “Democrats like us dreamed of this when we were little kids knocking on doors.” He declared.

Melanie Stansbury is the latest beneficiary of that dream. But to make a dream come true takes grit and determination, qualities that during the campaign she credited New Mexicans with having and which it turns out she has in spades. 

MORE ELECTION 

Over 130,000 voters went to the polls, sending the turnout to about 29 percent of the registered voters, a decent showing for a special election. . .Stansbury gave her victory speech to several hundred invited Dems at Hotel Albuquerque near Old Town. NMGOP Chair Steve Pearce commented for Moores who stayed at home. He said R’s would win the seat back from Stansbury in 2022. . . The punches are already flying in the ABQ mayoral race. BernCo Sheriff Manny Gonzales, challenging Mayor Keller, was threatened by an audience member who jumped on the stage where Gonzales was giving a speech and struck him. Gonzales was not hurt. The alleged assailant was arrested. The bizarre incident involved a drone carrying a dildo. We’re not kidding.

MORE MAYOR

Now that the congressional election is history, it’s just a five month trek to the November 2 ABQ mayoral election. The PAC supporting BernCo Sheriff Manny Gonzales in his challenge of Mayor Tim Keller comes with this: 

Save Our City PAC announced that former Public Regulation Commissioner and Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya, a Democrat, has joined Sam Vigil as Co-Chair to elect Democrat Manny Gonzales as the next Mayor. . . “It is devastating to me to see my hometown of Albuquerque become so decimated by the failed leadership of Tim Keller in the form of an out-of-control crime crisis, record-breaking murders, and worsening economic crisis,” said Montoya.

An outside PAC has also been formed to support Keller. Gonzales and Keller are both expected to qualify for over $600,000 in public financing that is separate from their PAC’s

RACIAL JUSTICE THEN

Former Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris, a longtime New Mexico resident, is 90 years old, but still making news. CNN recently interviewed the populist Democrat about his service on the 1960’s racial justice committee known as the Kerner Commission.He is the last surviving member of the panel that investigated civil unrest of that era. Why did the results of the commission’s report fade into history? Harris answers.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Dems Positioned To Extend Reign In ABQ Congressional District; Our Live Election Night Coverage Begins at 6:45 On KANW 89.1 FM And KANW.COM, Plus: History Says Tonight’s Winner Could Be On Launch Pad For Even Bigger Things 

Join us tonight for live, continuous coverage of the special election for the ABQ area congressional seat beginning at 6:45 P.M. on KANW 89.1 FM ABQ /Santa Fe and at KANW.COM

Democrats Moe Maestas and Sisto Abeyta and R experts Janice Arnold-Jones and Nina Martinez will provide analysis with your blogger anchoring the coverage. The first votes are expected to be released shortly after 7 p.m.

Absent a historic turnout anomaly Democrats appear poised to continue their reign in the ABQ congressional district when votes are counted tonight in the special election featuring Dem Melanie Stansbury, Republican Mark Moores, Independent Aubrey Dunn and Libertarian Chris Manning. 

The sole public poll of the contest conducted two weeks ago had Stansbury nurturing a 16 point lead. She was the only candidate to come with new final days TV. 

At weekend rallies she was pushed toward the finish line by name Democrats, including MLG and Sen. Ben Ray Lujan. And in early voting Democrats out voted Republicans two to one, 54,111 Dems to  27,934 R’s. Indy’s cast 10,700 early votes.   

Republican Moores hit a financial wall and his TV dried up. He could not rely on big name R’s in the final hours because of serious branding trouble his party faces here. Also, the national GOP committees refused to feed the kitty and the state senator was left to his own devices.

DC media handicappers, hungry for a race that amounts to a referendum on President Biden’s first months in office, never did get their way and now at the end they are fading their initial enthusiasm. That keeper of the Potomac’s conventional wisdom, NBC’s Chuck Todd, puts it this way:

The race has not taken on the importance as I thought it would six weeks ago, to be honest. . .While the Democrats are favored, I am very curious about margin. I am very curious about turnout. . .about intensity–Democratic base intensity, Republican base intensity.

In other words if Stansbury fails to post a double-digit win, the media hounds will be on the trail looking for any signs of blood that such a scratch might leave on President Biden. Otherwise, memories of this one will stay confined to the banks of the Rio Grande.

LAUNCHING PADS

Rep. Lujan 

The district up for grabs tonight has a reputation for launching winners onto higher rungs of the political ladder. 

Republican Manuel Lujan, Jr. was the first occupant of the seat from 1969 until 1989 when Rep. Lujan was named Secretary of Interior in the administration of President George H. W. Bush.

Republican Heather Wilson served the district from 1998 to 2008 when she ran for and lost the GOP US Senate nomination. But in 2017 Wilson was appointed Secretary of the Air Force by President Trump, in part because of her congressional service. 

Democrat Martin Heinrich succeeded Wilson in 2009. In 2012, while serving in the US House, he beat GOP nominee Wilson to become a US Senator.

Dem Michelle Lujan Grisham claimed the seat after Heinrich. In 2018 she ran for Governor as a congresswoman and won. 

Democrat Deb Haaland took over in 2018. She left the seat early this year to become Secretary of Interior under President Biden.

That’s quite the track record for promotions. But look at this. The state’s northern congressional district has also become a launching pad for ambitious politicos. 

Democrat Bill Richardson was the first to represent the seat, winning in 1982. In 1997 Rep. Richardson was named President Clinton’s UN Ambassador. A special election put Republican Bill Redmond in the seat for a short stint but Dem Tom Udall took over the seat in ’98. Rep. Udall ran for the US Senate in 2008 and won. 

Fast forward to 2020 when Udall retired. His Senate seat was won by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan who had succeeded Udall in the northern US House seat in 2008. 

Who will be next to get on the launch pad? We’ll know in a matter of hours. 

THE BOTTOM LINES

The Stansbury campaign will have an Election Night watch event on Facebook. She will be at the Hotel ABQ near Old Town to deliver an Election Night speech. The event is not public. Moores will monitor the returns with his family. . . Here’s a TV news 22 minute Q and A round-up with the four congressional contenders. . .A list of polling locations for today’s election can be found by clicking on the advertisement to the left. . .

Word arrives of the passing of former ABQ GOP State Rep. Don Silva. The Bronx, NY native served eight years in the House in the eighties and 90’s and served as House Minority Whip. Silva died last month in Arizona. He was 85.

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. 

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

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.

GETTING SPECIAL

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.

ELECTION NIGHT COVERAGE

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. 

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

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

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.  

FINAL PUSH

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. 

HOME BUYING FRENZY

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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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

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. 

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.

TRAIL CHATTER

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.

WHERE’S SANDIA?

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.

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. 

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

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. 

MAYORAL WATCH

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. 

THAT McCAMLEY THING

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.

VIRGIN FLIGHT

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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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

Thursday, May 20, 2021

What R’s Are Looking At ’22 Guv race? We’ve Got The Names, Plus: Another Reason For State Labor Boss Leaving? And: More Heat On Herrell Over Capitol Riot  

There’s about a year before the June 2022 primary election, the time when names begin circulating for the R and D gubernatorial nominations. MLG says she’s running for a second term and there’s been no whispers of any Dem primary challengers so that leads to the Republicans. Who’s weighing a run? With the help of radio’s Eddy Aragon and other R’s, here’s the list of names making the rounds.

Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block is certain to run. We know that beacuse last month he became the first candidate to get in the race.

Greg Zanetti, a financial consultant and a Guv hopeful from long ago, is thinking about a bid.

State Rep. Rebecca Dow of T or C has publicly said she is studying the possibility.

ABQ businessman Louis Sanchez, who sought the GOP US senate nomination in ’20, is another who may make the leap. 

David Chavez, a well-known trial attorney and former state rep from Valencia County, is getting mentioned in some circles but nothing from him yet. 

GOP Chairman Steve Pearce and former Lt. Gov. John Sanchez also hear their names circulating for the 2022 nomination run, but neither is expected to make a bid. 

Mark Moores, if he gets a strong showing in the ABQ congressional race June 1, could be a Guv contender next year. Of course, if he wins the election, he won’t be around to run.

It’s no easy matter beating an incumbent Governor and that could be keeping the well-known R’s on the  bench. That and the need to raise millions of campaign loot. 

No incumbent Governor–Dem or R–has been defeated since 1994. That year Democrat Bruce King was defeated by Republican Gary Johnson to become the only Governor to lose reelection since the state allowed two, consecutive four year terms. But ambition will trump the odds for one of the R’s who will be the nominee. Just who that will be at this starting stage is far from clear. 

ANOTHER REASON 

One supposes this is a big reason that Bill McCamley, former cabinet secretary for the state Workforce Solutions Department, abruptly vacated the post and moved to Austin, Texas. It’s a damaging Legislative Finance Committee report:

Due to a mix of fraud and human error, New Mexico may have overpaid unemployment benefits by $250 million amid an unprecedented spike in jobless claims during the pandemic, according to a new legislative report. The report found the reasons for the estimated overpayments included insufficient staffing and training levels at the Department of Workforce Solutions, along with a backlog of investigations into potentially fraudulent claims. Of the estimated $250 million in overpayments, LFC estimated $133 million was the result of fraud.

McCamley took the heat because he was the guy in the kitchen at the time of the explosion but MLG is the head chef and also takes a hit. McCamley’s self-banishment to Texas seems fair punishment. The full LFC report is here.  

HERRELL HEAT

We said to expect the heat to continue on southern NM GOP Congresswoman Yvette Herrell as an anticipated December legislative redistricting session nears. The latest is a digital hit ad from CHC Bold, the campaign arm of the congressional Hispanic Caucus, called “Spreading Lies”:

The 30-second ad will run in both Spanish and English and will highlight Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell (NM-02) voting against certifying the 2020 election results and spreading lies that led to the January 6th insurrection that killed a police officer and injured many others. 

CONGRESS WATCH

 

Candidates for the Albuquerque congressional special election are filing their latest money reports today. Democrat Melanie Stansbury was quick to publicize her report and with good reason. She’s expected to far surpass the fundraising of  Republican rival Mark Moores. Her campaign says:

Stansbury announced a total of $1,189,122 raised from April 1 to May 12, 2021 with $524,714 cash on hand at close of the reporting period . . .Over 11,000 donors. . . made 15,232 contributions. The average grassroots donation during this period was $26.59.

THE BOTTOM LINES

We erred when we blogged in a first draft Tuesday that the ABQ area special Congressional election falls on the Monday after the Memorial Day weekend. The election is Tuesday, June 1. Memorial Day will be observed Monday, May 31. . . And last week we referenced the space exploration company Blue Orion. The name is Blue Origin.

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. 

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Special Election ’21: Moores Anti-Crime Narrative Could Help Other R’s Or Hurt Them, Plus: Dem Dominance In Early Vote; Here To Stay?  

There’s more riding on Republican Mark Moores’ anti-crime pitch than his own candidacy for the ABQ area congressional seat. If the Moores all crime all the time approach pays dividends Election Night, it could generate a strong Republican candidate for attorney general for next year’s election and also provide some solace for conservative Dem Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who is challenging Mayor Tim Keller in this November’s election.

But if Moores’ crime pitch goes kaput it could also mean the door will remain closed to the R’s who are currently shut out of all statewide offices. Ditto for Manny G. If Moores can’t at least knick Dem nominee Melanie Stansbury with his crime narrative it could signal that the Sheriff could face the same fate. 

Right now Moores does not appear anywhere close to knicking Stansbury. In fact, the early vote has the Alligators and insiders pondering whether this race will just be another routine Dem blowout, just as all but one of the elections for the ABQ congressional seat has been since 2008. (There was close one in the 2010 Tea Party year.)

The latest early voting numbers through Tuesday morning do not bode well for the R’s. 

Nearly 67 percent of the total early vote (26,226)–including absentees–has been cast by Democrats and only 21 percent by R’s. It’s unlikely that huge gap will hold all the way to June 1 and not every Dem is going for the D candidate, but the vast majority surely are. (Dems make up 47 percent of the district voters and R’s 28 percent). 

Then there is the money and air game so crucial in the final 13 days. Insider Dems predict that in these final days Moores will be “buried” under a mountain of digital, mail and TV advertising. With national R’s not riding to the rescue, Moores is on his own. That’s why the first murmurs of “blowout” are being uttered. 

HER LATEST

Stansbury’s latest media certainly doesn’t reflect any panic or even deep concern. Her new TV ad keeps to the positive. The piece touts the state rep’s sponsorship of a bill that eliminated the copayment required of low income school kids getting reduced-price breakfast and lunch. In it she takes a ride on the popular coattails of the Prez:

I’m running for Congress to work with President Biden to support our families and grow more jobs right here in New Mexico. I approve this message for them.

Stansbury’s coattail ride will have the national media abuzz with how the race is a test of Biden’s popularity and if Stansbury falters, it will also be a fall for him. Well, right now that test looks pretty good for Scranton Joe. With those very favorable Dem early voting numbers, he probably had Jill ring up Melanie and tell her to get him in on the action.

NOT PHASED

An officer was dispatched to Highway 304 in reference to a suspicious vehicle and upon arrival observed a male on the shoulder of the and when the male saw the patrol vehicle he began to run northbound. The subject, who was joined by a female subject was stopped by the officer. The male was very irate, telling the officer he and the female had been fighting, but it was only verbal, not physical. The male was getting more irate and began to leave the scene on foot, ignoring commands to stop. The suspect repeatedly refused to follow commands and was tased. As the officer was handcuffing him, the suspect broke away with one cuff on, saying, “you can’t even phase me,” and was brought to the ground by the officer. 

And so it goes.

his 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. 

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2021

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